Claudia Aliffe has an advantage over the rest of the students in her class – a clear idea of what she wants to do after graduating.
However, her concerns about finding employment still resonate: “I worry about leaving university because of the job market,” she said. “I’ve heard that people in the fashion industry are paying for work experience because they’re that desperate, which I think is horrendous”.
After graduating, Claudia, 33, plans to have her own business: “I hope to have my own little individual fashion empire. I want to make things personally to fit people. People already come to me to make their clothes, so that they fit perfectly,” she said. See some of designs Claudia has already made below:
For the photoshoot, Claudia brought with her a 50’s sundress, a 40’s day dress, and a 60’s inspired caftan dress, amongst other designs. She says that her degree has already changed the way she goes about making her clothes, and has quashed bad habits that she had developed whilst making clothes before embarking on her course.
“The hardest thing is being disciplined – I’m naturally an impatient person, but you have to pay so much attention to detail when you’re making clothes,” she said. One of her main inspirations, she says, is history. “My background is in costume design; I’m obsessed with history. But now the clothes I make are more fashionable and, therefore, wearable.”
Claudia was 13 when she was first developed an interest in clothes making. “My mum would leave the house and come back to me having cut up a curtain to make a dress. As a child I loved history,” she said.
Claudia says that there’s a gap in the market that she wants to fill. “I’m different clothes sizes on different parts of my body. Clothes shops don’t really cater for the fact that women have their own individual shapes. That’s why I want to tailor clothes to fit each woman individually. There’s nothing better than wearing clothes that were specially made to fit you.”
– All photos by Anneka James