David Jones's advice was to concentrate on doing what you do best and run the business. He also told me that I didn't have to go and do a degree. I was having a crisis of confidence and thought I had to do a degree in Fashion. It would have taken me years! However, even though I may pay a pattern cutter eventually I absolutely had to have enough skills in order to design and oversee the process. Fortunately I had done a couple of years of pattern cutting in higher educations outfits around London. First at (Hammersmith FE and later Morley College). He told me that Martin Shoben is the best in the business. After much deliberation I booked myself one day a week at Martin's school, the London Centre for Fashion Studies..
This was the best thing I could have done. I joined the diploma group for the day that they study pattern cutting with Martin. The autumn term they were doing jackets. It was ideal. I learned Martin's way (having to unlearn what I'd done with other teachers) and knew right away that I was learning from the master. I've been spending a day a week there since October. I use it to develop my designs, learn and get feedback on what I'm doing. It's like having a consultant there to ask for advice. I have also seen a number of LCF graduates come through and realise that my knowledge of pattern cutting far exceeds what I'd dhave got after 4 years + getting a degree.
Martin is an exceptional person. Just the right balance of knowledge and humanity. He used to be a consultant for the UN and British Council, as well as teaching at the London College of Fashion for over 20 years. He's full of fun and has been a real source of both encouragement and insight for every step of the way in my process. He also has another college in Hanoi, Vietnam. As I used to work for the British Council myself and have been to Hanoi (and love it) we have lots to talk about. They've just got their British Council accreditation for their EFL school so good for them.
At the moment I'm also doing some hours with Sid, who runs the sample studio side of the college. He's going to guide me through the making up process. I do make up pretty well and have studied Tailoring but I'll do one coat with him using the fabrics I plan to use. It will be very useful. I have decided not to make my coats but to send them to the sample studio at London Apparel