Zoë Leach

Design Assistant, Visage Ltd & Threadbare

“I am so thankful to have attended a university that has tutors who have such a high level of care for their students.”

The Course

Studying the BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Technology Womenswear degree at Manchester Fashion Institute was fantastic. I have gained so many skills from the course that I know will be of use to me going forward in my career. I have taken my portfolios to all of my interviews and employers have always been impressed with the wide range of knowledge I have gained beyond my designs.

I most enjoyed learning about design identity and innovation, I feel that these areas helped me to find out who I am as a designer and helped me to envision where I see myself in the future.

My lecturers always encouraged me to get involved in competitions. During my final year, I was a selected as a finalist in the F.A.D x Missoni Competition at London Fashion Week. It was an incredible experience to have my collection shown at such a prestigious event. I was awarded a Special Mention Award by request of Angela Missoni herself. I later received the ultimate recognition as Angela Missoni went on to buy my collection, which was such an amazing privilege.

Industry Placement

I did my placement at a fashion suppliers called Visage Ltd, who supply to the UK high street. I learnt so many skills during my placement, I used Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator on a daily bases, which I felt benefited me a lot in my final year. I also had the amazing opportunity to undergo two trips to Shanghai, China where I participated in fabric and trims sourcing trips, working with fabric suppliers and the Far East team. My placement year was such a valuable experience to me and it has helped me massively even after finishing university.

I think doing a placement year is one of the best ways to progress in your career, your meeting people who are already in the industry so you are creating amazing contacts as well building on your CV.

Student Support

I am so thankful to have attended a university that has tutors who have such a high level of care for their students. I owe a big thank you to my tutor John Earnshaw for his constant support throughout my final year. John supported me a lot during the F.A.D x Missoni Competition and always encouraged me to push my design work to the best of my ability. I am so grateful to have had him as a tutor; I don’t think my final year would have been as successful without his help.

I am also very thankful to my other tutor Zoë Hitchen, whose level of support and willingness to help was amazing. We worked closely together on building my CV and working on my professional design social media platforms. All of the lecturers went above and beyond to support me.

After Graduation

Since graduating from university, I have been offered two roles. One being for Visage Ltd and the other for a menswear brand called Threadbare. I was offered both of these job roles from connections I made during my placement year.

At both companies, I have the title of Design Assistant and my responsibilities include liaising with the overseas offices on a daily basis as well as undergoing Far East trips to work with the overseas team. I am also responsible for conducting trend research and designing collections for upcoming seasons.