I mentioned a couple of days ago on twitter that I was thinking of interviewing one of my tutors on her experience in the fashion industry and now I have! I would like to introduce you to Orla Moore my Design Skills and Communications teacher from GTI who will be talking about her experiences from the fashion industry and answering my questions! Orla Moore is a fashion teacher at Galway Technical Institute, Ireland, where I am studying, and has been a part of their fashion department since it began in 2002.
So Orla, You have mentioned to us that you studied fashion in St. Martins, what made you choose St. Martins in London for your career? I studied English Literature and French at National University Ireland Galway and graduated with an honours BA. I then studied Fashion Design in Central St Martins graduating with a BA Honours degree. I had always had a huge interest in both writing and fashion and was keen to study both. I never thought I would get offered a place in St Martins as its such a prestigious college and a world leader in the field of design education. I applied there after completing my portfolio at night classes for a City & Guilds fashion course. I was in total shock when I received the letter to tell me I had been successful!
Who would have been your style icons when you were younger? My style icons back then were Debbie Harry and early Madonna. Now I admire Carine Roitfeld and Daphne Guinness.
You mentioned that you used to own a shop during our classes a couple of times, What sort of styles did you sell? My shop was called “Idol Angel” and was based in Galway. I ran the shop for 8 years in total. It was like my baby – I adored going to work! Every aspect of the shop was co ordinated by myself – from the design of the layout of the store through labelling and promotion as well as stock of course. I specialized in 60s and 70s vintage but also had a collection of labels from London. I would go on buying trips to London every 6 weeks to source new and exciting stock.
What sort of people have you worked with over the years? In addition to owning my shop I have worked in Styling for TV and magazines. In London I worked for a Design Company in the area of Marketing and Promotion. I have also worked in PR with clients including Architects and Beauty Companies. I have written many articles for magazines and was Style Editor for Upstairs Downstairs Magazine for 4 years before I began working at GTI.
What would be your best bit of advice for someone going into this job?
Work till you drop – take every opportunity to learn and contribute whether in local business or your own blog. Say “yes” to all offers of work in the area you are interested in – you will probably have to work unpaid for a while but that’s all part of getting experience. Follow your passion – you will never feel as if you are working if you are doing something you love.
What has been your most memorable moment in your career in the fashion industry?
I loved Katherine Hamnetts show in Paris when my class at St Martins went together to see the collections - her work has always interested me on many levels and the venue for her show was fantastic – a beautifully ornate Belle Epoque theatre. I was given a pair of her Cuban heeled boots by John Flett, who was going out with John Galliano at the time. Flett was an amazingly talented up and coming designer but sadly died tragically young.
Do you feel that the way fashion is promoted and presented to the public has changed greatly since you started working in fashion?
Things have definitely changed. The biggest change that I see is in the promotion of Fashion which has radically altered with technology and social media. The Fashion Industry is faster and more intense than ever before. The evolution of Branding and Brand Embassadors is interesting too as is the rise of Styling and blogging.
What made you want to go into teaching?
I had been thinking that my shop was losing market share to the new arrivals in Galway such as Top Shop, Miss Selfridge and River Island. I felt ready for a change and was keen to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for the industry so I approached GTI with my CV and a proposal for The New Fashion Course and the rest as they say, is history!
What subjects do you teach at GTI?
I am really fortunate in that I teach my favourite subjects in the world! Design, Styling, History of Fashion. I also teach Work Experience and Communications. I write Press Releases for GTI also as part of my job which I really enjoy.
Lastly, If you could have a dinner party with 5 guests from the fashion industry, dead or alive, who would you invite and why?
Oh that’s one I never thought about! Lets see… I would invite Carmel Snow, Diana Vreeland, Isabella Blow, CoCo Chanel and Schiaparelli – the latter two apparently didn’t see eye to eye so that might be interesting!!
I hope you enjoyed my interview with Orla and thank you for reading. Special thanks to Orla Moore for answering my questions!