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Motivational Monday: Fashion Designer

For our latest Motivational Monday, we caught up with fashion and textile designer alumna Olivia Rubin.

Olivia (class of 2000) runs her own fashion label; her signature rainbow designs and bold prints are available in many UK department stores, including Selfridges, Harrods and Fenwick, as well as in the United States, Germany and Ireland.

“I always wanted to have a design-led career and it was at South Hampstead where my love of fashion developed. As a teenager, I avidly watched The Clothes Show and regularly subscribed to Vogue. My art teacher Miss Corbett introduced me to textiles, and together we worked on a fashion show for an assembly. I vividly remember creating a pink organza patchwork dress with a matching cape that I made by hand with matching elastic! It was that buzz that made me sure that fashion design was my destiny and encouraged me to apply for Central Saint Martins College.”

After graduating, Olivia launched her first womenswear line. She also worked with Alexander McQueen, Dior and John Galliano in Paris, designing prints and assisting designers with their collections. “The work ethic that was instilled in me at South Hampstead definitely helped me establish my career, especially when I became a business owner and a design creative. My experimental time in the school art studios also helped me hone my signature style and pave the way for me to relate back to my love of drawing and colour.” 

Over the last five years, Olivia has grown her business from packing orders on her dining room table and selling on Instagram to working with 50 worldwide stockists, 10 employees, three warehouses, a brand new website and three studio moves. “My responsibilities have grown hugely. I’m involved in a large amount of financial analysis, but it’s coming up with new ideas and the creative side of the business that I enjoy the most.” 

Her advice to students today is: “Stay true to yourself and your future vision. I feel like I had (and still have) a lot of self-doubt, even after five years… but, as clichéd as it sounds, ambition and hard work combined with lots of ideas and a ‘healthy’ amount of pressure should pave the way for success, whatever your chosen career path.” 

Olivia returns to South Hampstead this week to speak to our Year 10 GCSE Fashion & Textiles students.

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