We caught up with the Midlands Young Designer of the Year and found out why a future in fashion was unavoidable. It’s in her DNA!
Georgia Richardson was not keen to follow in the footsteps of her nan, mum and sister and pursue a career in fashion design, but in the end it won her over too. She explained: “It was an obvious choice given the family background. I tried to steer away from it and do something different, but in the end it was unavoidable.” Hence the name of Georgia’s new business, Fourth Generation. Georgia was always into textiles at school and says she had a great teacher at RGS Worcester who prepared her brilliantly for her university interviews. Her portfolio was so impressive that the lecturers at the Manchester School of Art accepted Georgia straight onto their fashion design degree course rather than asking her to complete the year-long art foundation course which is customary for any budding designer or artist. The foundation year allows students to study many forms of art and design, different materials and techniques before deciding which to specialise in. Georgia said: “I think they realised that I already had a specialism and my A-Level portfolio was on a par with the work I’d have been doing on the course. In some ways I’d have liked to have done the foundation to get another year of practice, but it was very flattering.”
She was the only student on her course to have been given this fast track. Obviously the family was very supportive of Georgia’s decision to go into the fashion industry and it was useful to have a sister that had recently gone through the same thing at Nottingham. In 2015, at the end of her third year, Georgia was invited to show her work at graduate fashion week which was a “great experience” as was her involvement and ultimate win at the Midlands Fashion Awards. Georgia’s collection for the MFA catwalk show was futuristic and bold with lots of metallic and black, plenty of structure and a distinct warrior vibe that won the judges over. “Winning Midlands Young Designer of the Year has been great. I’ve had so much interest and exposure from radio and press.”
The way Georgia works is slightly unusual. “I’m not the best drawer, so I tend to work in 3D straight away rather than making sketches. I start by cutting fabric and making shapes by draping it.” Inspiration is taken from everywhere including prints and even car engines! Georgia generally sources fabric from Birmingham and Manchester. “Although the rag market in Birmingham looks like a bit of a jumble sale it’s fantastic,” she said. She’s built up good relationships with her suppliers, the favourite being Barry’s Fabric in Brum. Georgia’s confident the Midlands has everything she needs and has no desire to head for the capital. She explained: “I can’t see what I’d be gaining by moving to London. I have my studio here. I’m trading online and if I need to be in London for a show I can get there easily anyway.” The Fourth Generation designs are very different to the catwalk collection for MFA. The drama has been replaced with soft, feminine dresses that are handmade and made-to-measure by Georgia. At the moment she is the business, but Georgia’s achievable ambitions suggest she has her head screwed on. “I’d like to expand, grow and learn more. I’d like to employ people and start manufacturing. At the moment I can only sell what I can make in a week. Currently we’re UK-based, but eventually I’d like to sell worldwide.” I wonder who Georgia would love to see wearing her clothes. She revealed: “I know she likes to wear her own designs but Victoria Beckham would be really great.”
Georgia’s Fourth Generation website launches on 1 February www.fourthgeneration.uk.com