Interview: Rebecca Thomson – Graduate Fashion Week Winner

Earlier this week, I headed down to the North West Young Fashion Designer of the Year awards, held in Manchester. Ten fashion graduates showcased their collections to a panel of judges, each with a collection so unique and inspirational. Obviously I love going to Fashion Week in London to see big name designer’s collections, but nothing is more refreshing than viewing the up-and-coming fashion talents of the future. The show reminded me of our most recent Graduate Fashion Week Gold Award winner – Rebecca Thomson who graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University. Being a North West girl myself, it feels even more exciting when a Manchester based designer can win such an award. So I caught up with Rebecca to find out more about her winning collection and her aims for the fashionable future…

How do you feel about winning the Gold Award at Graduate Fashion Week?
It was the most amazing moment of my life. It was a huge unachievable dream of mine to win gold at graduate fashion week I never thought for one moment that my dream would come true. I think every designer struggles with a lack of self belief and moments of re assurance such as this really fill you with confidence, it’s what its all about.

What did you do to celebrate?
I had worked so hard up to the point of winning and had been up since 6am on the day of the show so afterwards I was absolutely exhausted. I had a lot of press to deal with, but after that all died down me, my mum and sister headed back to my hotel, jumped into bed together and ordered cheese and ham toasties on room service. How rock and roll!  

What is the inspiration behind your collection?
I was inspired by the journalistic photographs of Roman Vishniac, who photographed Eastern European Jewish families from before the war. There was such a beauty in the hindsight of the imagery. I also studied the illustrations of Arthur Rackham, they were from the same period but were far more fantastical and dreamlike, really beautiful.


How would you describe your own personal style?
I like to be comfortable and effortless. I believe simplicity is the key to good style, you will never find me over accessorizing, or accessorizing at all for that matter!


Were you interested in fashion when you were growing up?
This is a question I am always asked and I know that most would answer ‘yes I was sewing as soon as I could walk’ but that really isn’t the case for me. I often worry why that is, but I feel I was too busy growing up when I was growing up. I always draw inspiration from children and childhood because I feel there is such a beauty in the naivety and innocence of growing up, a time when all we were supposed to do was learn, play and be.


Did you enjoy studying at Manchester Metropolitan University, and would you say it is a good course for fellow fashionista’s?
Definitely, I learnt all I knew at Manchester Met, I went there unable to sew and ended up sewing my entire collection. It’s a course were you are free to explore who you are while keeping a very strong eye on what’s happening in the industry.

Who is your favorite designer and why?

My favourite designer is Betty Jackson. To me she is everything I want to be in 30 years time. I worked with her a year ago. She has an amazing business that she owns independently, a wonderful family and designs beautiful clothes. She is my biggest inspiration as she has it all, the whole package. You have to respect someone in the industry who values life alongside fashion, its easy to allow fashion to dictate life completely.

Where would you like to see your brand in a few years time?
I would love to be doing something on my own but I think I would be naive to think this is the right thing to do. I want to gain knowledge from the industry and perhaps pursue a lot of freelance work to keep my name and personal work alive. I am currently studying my masters at the Royal College of Art and am excited to see where this takes me. Its been a world-wind year full of amazing opportunities so who knows what could happen from now on, I know I’m definitely happy to be along for the ride.

Rebecca Thomson wins Graduate Fashion Week

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