Highlighting the contrast between Wealth and Poverty through fashion
Fashion designer Courtney Plumb's graduate collection (pictured throughout the article) instantly grabbed the attention of the Ocotur team due to its somber but also extravagant style and we were eager to find out more about her. In our conversation with Courtney, she describes how her collection was inspired by the stark contrast between wealth and poverty that she witnessed while she was travelling in New York City. Having graduated last year, she has been recognised as One of the top UK Graduates to look out for by Dazed Magazine and we are excited to share her story about what got her interested in fashion and her tips on how to succeed in the cut-throat industry.
What inspired you to go into fashion?
Early studies of textiles design lead me to take an interest in fashion designers. I went on to study an Art & Design diploma specialising fashion.
How was the experience of studying Fashion Design at Birmingham City University?
Birmingham City University was a great creative study environment. I really flourished under the guidance from great lecturers and mentors who have been so supportive even after graduating.
Were your parents supportive of you studying fashion?
Yes my parents are both from creative backgrounds so they have always been supportive of me going for what I want.
How was it being nominated by Dazed magazine as one of the top UK fashion grads to look out for?
Pretty amazing. I was so surprised to have been selected out of so much talent in the UK but very grateful to be recognised.
Why did you decide for your Graduate Collection to create a collection exploring the disparity and elevant between the rich and poor? What inspired this collection?
The collection was inspired by my time living in New York City, whilst there I witnessed the vast contrast between wealth and poverty within the city.
This was something I felt passionately towards and wanted to highlight through my collection. The pleating came into play to represent the idea of elevation; the name of the collection. The idea that society allows us to be elevated from others and unfortunately this causes a divide between the rich and poor.
The majority of the embroidery was designed around religious symbolism and the use of luxurious fabrics highlighted a darker theme behind the clothes.
What was the public response to this collection?
The public response was good and there was a lot of interest for shoots and loaning of the pieces for events.
Did you have a favorite piece from this collection?
The embroidered pieces are my fave, particularly the gold embroidered jacket.
Do you have a favorite designer that you admire?
Of course, I have so many design houses I admire. I love what Maria Grazia Chiuri is doing at Dior.
What was one of the toughest parts of pursuing a career in fashion?
Money. Always. You can be the hardest worker but without financial backing it is difficult to pursue your dream career.
What is one of the most important lessons you learned about the fashion industry from having studied it and worked at several fashion houses?
Work hard! And the fashion industry is very small. Make a good impression and you can go far, people are willing to share knowledge and contacts but you have to make that good impression and be willing to put in the hours.
What do you see yourself doing professionally in the next five to ten years? Would you want to start your own brand? If so, would it be similar to your graduate collection?
I'd love to set up a business or head up a fashion company. I'd love to have my own brand that reflected the work of my graduate collection, high-end, quality cloths, craftmanship all the qualities I believe in.
Want to find out more about Courtney Plumb? Check out her Ocotur.