“It’s great to be able to give something back,” fashion designer Claire Barrow

FASHION designer Claire Barrow has inspired the next generation of talent by returning to her former college to give students her top tips for carving out a career in couture.

Specialising in high-end ready-to-wear, the 26-year-old has had successful commissions for Vogue, Joseph and iD Magazine, has shown as part of London Fashion Week and now designs her own collections for sale at outlets around the world.

She studied Fashion and Clothing at Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD) in 2008 and returned to the campus for a special guest lecture. Speaking at length to a group of first, second and third year fashion students, she revealed what it’s really like to work in the fashion industry and run a successful business.

One of the student privileged to receive personal advice from Claire on their final major project was Hannah Johnston, 21, from Acklam in Middlesbrough is studying for a BA (Hons) Fashion at CCAD’s university-level campus in Hartlepool.

As part of her degree coursework, Hannah (main picture above, right, with Claire, left) has produced a collection based on ‘tradition and modernisation working together in harmony’. Influenced from a visit to a traditional and a modernised leather tannery, the garments are made up of natural and manmade fibres, with a chemical against natural colour palette

Hannah said: “I really enjoyed listening to Claire’s presentation, in which she took us through her design collections and career, getting to see her creative clothing and understanding her design process.

“I showed the designs for my final coursework to Claire and as I explained the concept behind my collection, she helped to me think outside the box about how I could use my concept to create innovative garments.”

Hannah will be showing her final major project as part of the 2016 Vision Graduate Show at the specialist art college, which starts on Friday, June 3, from 10am at the campus on Church Square, and also will be part of a team representing the college at this year Graduate Fashion Week in London’s East End Truman Brewery from June 5 to June 8.

Hannah Johnston - Final Major Project 2016 at CCAD

Hannah Johnston – Final Major Project 2016 at CCAD

She added: “The build up to the show has been very intense, working constantly every day from getting up to going to sleep at night. It has been very hard work but I wanted to push myself to achieve the best possible outcome. I can’t wait for the show night for all my family and friends to come see what I have been working so hard on for the past few months.”

After graduation Hannah plans to move to London to develop a career as a fashion buyer, and hopes to work for a high-end department store.

Claire Barrow enjoyed her visit with students, including meeting her former lecturer, Vicky Wake, and was delighted to be able to give the young designers the benefit of her experience.

“During my time at CCAD I grew a lot in confidence, as I thought that I wouldn’t be able to make it in fashion,” said Claire. “Vicky and her team motivated me to push further and helped me to develop and grow, which enabled me to progress to achieve a degree in fashion and now my own collections.

“It is great to be able to give something back to the college which helped me on my way, and meet students like Hannah, who are just starting out, as I know how hard it can be.”

Vicky Wake, Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) Fashion degree, added: “It is always satisfying to see our alumni making it in the hugely competitive world of fashion. Claire has developed a unique and sort after brand through sheer hard work and determination, the key desirable qualities essential to succeed.

“I know the students have been inspired by her journey, especially Hannah who has been a committed student throughout her three years with us.”


Claire Barrow  – www.clairebarrow.com and email studio@clairebarrow.co.uk

Cleveland College of Art and Design www.ccad.co.uk