& Kelly Joseph
Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
‘I wear what I want to wear’: Youth, style and identity at the Fashion and Business Saturday Club
In 2016 the authors set up a Fashion and Business Saturday club at Manchester Metropolitan University, England, with support from the British Fashion Council and the National Saturday Club. The club continues to provide opportunity for 13-16 year olds to learn about diverse aspects of the fashion industry over a period of twenty weeks, in a university setting, on a Saturday morning. The sessions include creative workshops using drawing, collage and three-dimensional experimentation, alongside masterclasses from industry professionals and academics covering all aspects of the industry from design, through to product development, sourcing, costing and marketing. The club tutors quickly recognised the impact the club had on the members’ understanding of fashion, but also, more importantly, the impact it was having on their confidence and developing sense of self. The young people were using the club as a safe place to experiment with their personal views on fashion, their identity and their individual style. This paper analyses video interviews undertaken with the participants at the end of the first Saturday club series and compares the responses to more recent interviews with these original club members. The research evaluates the impact of early exposure to the university experience and the study of fashion, documenting the developing aspirations of potential fashion students in this age range. The findings also support the hypothesis that these creative fashion workshops have a far more valuable purpose, as evidenced in the positive impact they have on the club members ability to explore and define their identity and personal style.