Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
My name is Mark Atkinson. For a number of years now I have been a fashion designer. I also work as a Fashion lecturer and in this role I have been commissioned by Laurence King Publishing to write a book, now published and entitled ‘How to create your final collection’.
Tell us a bit about the book?
I proposed the idea for the book to LKP after having taught the final collection for 8 years at different universities in the UK and realising that no book really covered what I was teaching.
What was the inspiration behind it?
The degree or final collection is a major project that all Fashion Design students have to carry out to graduate. The process of this project is very similar to that carried out by fashion designers in the industry. It is quite complex.
The book tries to give a simple step by step approach. It aims to be informative and thorough but also inspirational and offers tools for the students to think about what needs to be done. The book is illustrated with 26 ‘cases studies’, the work of students from 21 different universities in 18 countries.
I am very happy that fashion educators around the world think the book is fulfilling its promises and have added it to their reading lists.
Which is your favourite project?
I am slightly embarrassed to answers this question! LOL
The book is really about a process and each stage is really important. I hope I have properly covered all of them.
I think the highlight of the book is the excellent school contributions and the beautiful work their students have entrusted me with. I could not thank them enough. You only need to look at their degree collection to realize how gifted they are. Many have now started very successive careers launching their own labels or working for brands such as Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton.
What is your craft space like?
In fashion you are often on the move and I live between London and Paris. I’m constantly lap-topping wherever I go.
Have you always been creative?
Yes as far as I can remember; even as child, I would be building or constructing something most of the time. It was however only when I joined Chesterfield College of Art in Derbyshire, my first Art college, that I realised I was not alone in my way of thinking and overflow of creativity.
When did you first start crafting?
Your question implicitly raises another: what is the difference between being creative and designing? If you are asking me when I started designing Fashion, it was at Chesterfield College of Art and professionally when I joined the studio of Katharine Hammett. Since I have never looked back, I was lucky enough to live and work in London, Paris and NYC collaborating with high fashion designers well as creating my own label “Jean Torry”.
Who are your crafty heroes?
I am afraid I’m going to sound old school; I really do love the original Schiaparelli, Balenciaga and Chanel and of course Madame Grey. I believe things are different today; we are experiencing a creative revolution. This is a new and exciting environment in which so many people are empowered to create and design. I think the notion of trend and ‘fashion’ in this sense has changed. Sometimes it seems anything goes, with the internet anyone can easily set-up their business and exist as a designer. Of course this creates more competition but it is so exciting and when you are good the sky is the limit! Just look at Rodarte!
Where do find inspiration?
I search every day for the next thing that will inspire me. Today’s communication networks continually churns out something I have yet to see or appreciate… It all comes to me, I just have to look – this is more difficult to do that people usually think though!
What's next for you?
In May this year we launched Modeconnect, a website aimed at building a worldwide platform for creativity in fashion. We hope it will offer useful resources for people interested in creating fashion. In a way it is a spin off from the book, hopefully the Modeconnect community will help foster individual creativity, projects and collaborations. With this project, I am blessed to be able to carry on working with schools, institutions, educators and young designers who are truly inspirational.
Designing a final degree collection is a fashion student's first chance to approach the reality of the industry. This handbook provides a step-by-step guide to creating this collection, with each chapter exploring a different stage of the project: from understanding the brief and identifying the market to research, development, and sampling, through to garment design, range planning, and styling and presentation. The book will be accompanied by a CD containing 15 additional student case studies.