I was really excited to get a place to exhibit at One Year On, it was my aim for my first year working solo so I was chuffed that they wanted me to do it. It was a great catalyst for me to start making new work, something that I had been putting off since graduating as I started my first in house design position soon afterwards and found myself with little free time. I worked Monday to Thursday at my day job, then spent Friday to Sunday working on my new collection. I did find it hard, it’s a big challenge to set up your own working systems and I had to find a studio and find suppliers for everything I needed to design and make. It was a huge learning curve, but something I'm really glad that I made the effort to do.
The show came around really quickly. I had been fretting massively about the logistics of getting myself and all my things to the venue as well as setting up, but Rheanna, the curator of One Year On, really had everything in hand so I felt very supported, especially as it was my first show. Going into the exhibition I had some ideas about what to expect as I had been there the year before, but I found exhibiting as a fully-fledged designer completely different to my experience as a graduate. The vibe in One Year On is quite different, you’re not approached by as many people looking to recruit because it’s understood that we already have our own little businesses. The people I spoke to were generally coming to me with project ideas, or simply because they liked my style. At the show I couldn't help but compare my two experiences and worry I had spoken to less people this year, but now that I've secured a few meetings with potential clients I'm really looking forward to seeing what comes of them. It was nice to hear people’s good comments and have some interesting conversations about design too.
It was also lovely to meet a whole bunch of lovely, supportive creatives that I'm sure I will keep in touch with.
I would say to anyone thinking of applying, go for it! I think each professional project you do builds on your career as a whole. It’s so important to increase your platform, and showing new work is a really effective way of doing this.
I would say that you have to be realistic with your expectations though, don't expect loads of companies to come to your stand and offer you your dream projects. With this kind of thing it’s very true that you make your own luck, so being confident and inviting people you want to know about you is key. One Year On is also such a good deadline to force you to create and ensure you have new work to approach potential clients with. This is what I’ve been doing with some promising results! I’d like to thank the team for giving me the opportunity to show, as well as the creative kick up the bum I needed!