Two graduates from De Montfort University Leicester’s (DMU) prestigious Contour Fashion course have talked about the leading roles they play at Gossard, one of the world’s great lingerie brands.
Laura and Stacey backstage at the DMU Contour Fashion Show last month
Stacey Lindsay, who graduated from DMU in 2002, is Gossard Design Manager, while Laura Tomlinson, who graduated from DMU in 2011, was taken on by Stacey as a designer.
Stacey and Laura still have involvement with DMU thanks to a prestigious partnership between the world-renowned Contour Fashion course and their brand which sparked a global phenomenon with the creation of the Wonderbra.
Gossard runs an in-house “Glamourzonian” competition each year with DMU Contour Fashion students and the prestigious company was a lead sponsor of this year’s DMU Contour Fashion Show held in Covent Garden. It included an exclusive peek on the catwalk of Gossard’s next collection.
Both Stacey and Laura say they would have no hesitation recommending the notoriously challenging DMU Contour Fashion course for any potential students because of the way it prepares you to enter the fashion industry – but students must be prepared to work hard to succeed.
Laura said: “I would always recommend the course, however I think you have to be realistic about the amount of discipline that is required to do well and show your true potential. There are times when it really demands a lot from you but the sense of achievement you get is incredible.
“I think the contour course gives you a real insight of what's to come in industry, the work load is just as heavy and time is never on your side. But because the industry is so small you meet the most brilliant people to help you through, all sharing the same passion, drive and determination.”
Stacey added: “I would and have recommended the course, but I would make sure that potential students understand that the industry and course has changed since I graduated.
“The lingerie industry is very small and to find the right career path I believe new graduates will have to be prepared to travel. They also need to be prepared to work very hard.
“Contour gave me a thorough grounding for the detail and knowledge needed in Design and Technical. I absolutely loved the course. It was very intense at times and the workload is more than lots of my friends doing a purely academic degree, but I found the practical side so rewarding and without that, my first job in the industry would have been difficult, as you do have to hit the ground running when joining an existing team.”
Both Stacey and Laura fondly remember their time at DMU and their achievements while studying there.
Laura said: “My favourite memories from the course would have to be, firstly, making it onto the annual catwalk show with my final graduate collection. All the hard work, blood, sweat and tears really did pay off in the end.
“Secondly it would have to be the girls I shared my three years with. You spend so much of your time and energy together so it is impossible not to become close and, although we are now based all over the world, we still keep in touch like nothing has changed.”
Stacey said: “A highlight for me was winning an industry competition in my 3rd year, especially as it was set by Gossard! I presented to the directors, designers and Zandra Rhodes at the London head office which I found utterly terrifying and exciting. I now present our new Gossard collections in the same room to our key buyers, and I still have the same excitement as I did then, but luckily with fewer nerves.”
So what advice do they have for the Contour Fashion cohort who graduated last week and about to start their new jobs.
Stacey said: “Contour gives you a fantastic grounding, but be prepared to keep learning fast and to be flexible.”
Laura said: “Don't be scared to challenge yourself, you can learn something valuable from every experience.”
DMU’s Contour Fashion course was established in 1947 by Fred Berlei, founder of Gossard Berlei, to support the local corset industry. It is the oldest and most successful degree-level course in intimate apparel - lingerie, swimwear and sportswear - and is widely regarded by industry experts as one of the best in the world.
Posted on Thursday 28th July 2016