Financially supported with a grant from the CapitB Trust, John joined the course in September 2018, as a recent fashion design graduate from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. During his admission interview, he explained he was looking for solid traditional tailoring skills, as well as training in pattern construction – both areas the more conceptual BA design courses do not generally deliver.

His admiration for meticulous hand craft was immediately evident and he knew that adding this specialist expertise to his existing skill set would enable him to follow a more ambitious career path than progression routes the fashion degree alone would have afforded him.

I could see he was determined to work hard given the chance to acquire these skills. He was particularly appreciative of the fact that the academy delivers both pathways of the qualification – the cutting and the tailoring route – to all students. John’s previous experience in design and garment construction, as well as his skills inn portfolio organisation greatly helped him hitting the ground running. His diligence and inquisitive mind played a significant role in maximising the learning opportunities the course has on offer. Being accustomed to doing his own research worked greatly in his favour, too; he worked independently on assignments in his own time, allowing him to fully focus on the practice of his cutting and tailoring skills during training hours.

The Tailoring Academy strives to educate fully rounded craftspeople who know how to successfully implement both skill sets, but also an understanding of the business aspects of our

sector: part of our curriculum, ‘Community Tailoring’ is a voluntary scheme that brings Level 5 students and members of the community together.Becoming commissioned to create bespoke garments for customers, students have opportunity to practice all of these aspects, and to earn while they learn.One term into the year-long course, John embraced this opportunity and began to work independently on his own projects, whilst falling back on the training support at hand whenever he needed it. Working on commissions for a number of his own customers, he engaged in bespoke selling, advised customers on style options, material choices and technical detail concerning individual figure and posture. He carried out cost calculations, provided quotations and placed orders for materials with suppliers. He then moved on to tailor, fit and supply the bespoke garments.

In short, John trained himself to fulfil the entire brief of both cutter and tailor, achieving extremely positive outcomes on each occasion, which was evidenced in the feedback he received from customers. These involvements not only forged valuable relationships, but will also serve him as experience to build on in the future.

John passed the final internal and external assessments with flying colours in July. His practical work is of professional standard and his exemplary portfolio work received particular praise: meticulous and beautifully accomplished, it will serve him as reference throughout his future career.

The Level 5 curriculum is an intensive programme, hands-on and within the real environment of a working bespoke house, with all the challenges this entails. It is designed to equip graduates for a career role with considerable responsibility, including setting up their own bespoke business, if they so wish.John has made full use of the opportunity and I am delighted to learn that – following his first job interview after graduating – he was encouraged to apply for a role within the costume department at the prestigious Glyndebourne Festival Opera.