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Graduate Interviews

Since graduating Solent these creatives have gone on to do some incredible and interesting things! read all about them and what they've been up to.

Kristian Braband - Graduate Fashion Week publication award


Kristian Braband graduated from Solent University in 2023 on the fashion photography course. He went on to win the fashion publication award for his final major project - 'fashioning minds', a newspaper about fashion psychology. 
We interviewed him to get all the inside details on the inner workings of his FMP, how he felt winning the award, any advice for future photographers and a few images from his award winning FMP!

What were your emotions when you heard that you’d won the fashion publication award?

I was very surprised! I really was not expecting it, but I was very happy that the judges were impressed by my work. It was also nice that I went to GFW with a few of my friends to share the moment with them.


What sparked your interest in photography?

I have always been interested in the creative arts and was introduced to photography in sixth form. I loved all the experimental aspects of it, from darkroom techniques to editing in Photoshop.


What was your inspiration behind your FMP?

I really liked the idea of combining theory and practice, and I had already explored the research area of fashion psychology in previous modules. So, I thought a fashion psychology publication would be perfect and not something that had been done much before.


What was your creative process behind your FMP?

The first decision I made was choosing the physicality of the project. I looked at lots of existing publications that weren’t just the standard glossy magazine, and eventually decided on a newspaper output as I thought this would complement the amount of text I was planning to incorporate with my visuals. I then completed lots of fashion psychology research which determined the topics that my project was going to discuss. From this, I then developed the photographic element of the project through researching photographers who had also produced imagery in response to theory, such as Hal Fischer’s ‘Gay Semiotics’.


Were there any major challenges in the process of your FMP creation?

The workload of producing a significant amount of written work alongside my visuals was a challenge. Also, with my outcome being a newspaper, I had to be conscious of how my images would look when printed on this medium and the design choices to try to make it look professional.


If so, how did you face and overcome them?

Time management was very important, I wrote out a schedule to ensure all the elements were completed on time, e.g. one day of the week was dedicated to research, one day for doing a test shoot, and another day for drafting some written content. For the physical outcome, I got lots of test versions printed so I could ensure my photos looked the way I wanted.


Any advice for future / budding photographers who want to create something similar?

It is definitely a good idea to try to stand out with your idea, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Think about how you are going to use your physical outcome to show off your images in the best way - I think a newspaper was perfect for my image style as I work in a grainy and muted aesthetic, and I really can’t imagine those same images printed on bright, glossy paper.


What was your favourite part of the process or project?

Having the freedom to pursue something I am really passionate in and being able to collaborate with so many people. Having your finished project in your hand and being able to say ‘I made this’ is a very satisfying and rewarding feeling! Everyone’s FMPs will turn out so differently from one another and it’s so great to see.


Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?

Started my research file earlier! My biggest advice is to keep on top of your research file throughout the project, so you don’t end up rushing it at the end.


How has winning this award impacted you in regards to photography / opportunities?

It’s helped me connect with lots of people in the industry. One of the judges for the award works for Vogue and they asked for some copies of my FMP to be sent to their office in Vogue House which was exciting!


What are your plans after this?

I am now working as a Photography & Marketing Assistant for a jewellery brand, whilst also completing my master’s degree. Next year I am hoping to explore the idea of continuing my FMP idea as a working publication, so I am very much looking forward to working in this!


Tamara Hèjja - Kornit Vip event, Düsseldorf.



Tamara Hèjja graduated Solent University in 2023 on the fashion design course. She has gone on to showcase her designs in Düsseldorf at a Vip event for Kornit. 
We interviewed her to get all the inside details on the inner workings of her designs, how she felt sharing her collection at such a big event, any advice for future designers and a few images from her collection and the event!

Can you describe your message behind your "Strong Vulnerability" collection?

Young people today are often denigrated for being overly sensitive.

The term ‘snowflake’ is used to describe an overly sensitive person, highly susceptible to offence, who is perceived as believing the world revolves around them and their feelings. It has associations with a special fragile delicacy. However, psychologists and sociologists argue that vulnerability and sensitivity are valuable strengths in an individual. 

For healthy relationships and meaningful life, it is important that we are open to new experiences and people, that we are sensitive to others, that we allow ourselves to get hurt, and to take risks.

This collection reflects the necessity of both vulnerability and resilience and explores the beauty of this balance; the need to be strong, to have a ‘thick skin’, but also the benefits intrinsic to being sensitive and open.

What was your inspiration for your collection?

Design is inspired by the beautiful, intricately layered structures found in nature such as tree bark, stalactites, and skin. Delicate fabrics, including chiffons, meshes and silks, as well as more structured fabrics, such as leatherette and wools, are laser cut with organic-shaped holes and layered on top of each other. Where the holes intersect, the skin and underlayers are made visible giving a sense of vulnerability; where the fabric overlaps, there is a sense of protection, of having thick skin. 

The silhouette has been developed by contrasting areas of thick layers including padded and folded parts, with disappearing layers that expose the human form underneath. As in nature, garments are asymmetrical and imperfectly perfect. A rich and diverse colour story has emerged from research into natural forms, including teal, rust orange, mushroom, dulled green, beige, bright turquoise and black. Prints are chaotic and brave with organic layered motifs. 

This collection expresses both strength and power as well as sensitivity and fragility, in the most natural and effective way.

Were there any major changes you made during the design process?  

When I started to design my collection I tried a lot of different techniques I made more than 20 samples and also different types of laser cut symbols but at the end I didn’t even use half of them. When we had the first hand-in in December and that was the time when we had to present our final collection line-up as well. I wasn’t satisfied with my work I didn’t like the final result so I redesigned everything at the second semester. It was a lot of hard work but I think it paid off.

Are there any fashion designers that inspired your collection?

Yes, my main inspiration was Rick Owens, Comme des Garcons and Marc Jacobs.

Can you explain the process of the Kornit X GFF competition?

The Graduation Fashion Week had a competition about print designs and I applied with my Final Major Project. I had to make a couple of inspirational boards, describing where is the print comes from and also presenting my final lineup with a little bit of explaining my concept.This was the first stage of the competition, they selected 8 students to go forward. Then after we made our collection we had to send photos about the final outcomes and this was the time when they decided  the top 3, whose can present their collection at the Best Of Show. 

Did you get to see your designs being printed? How did it feel? 

Honestly, it was an unbelievable experience, when you see your print comes to live and it was better than I expected. The colours were so bright and perfect, just how I imagined. I never experienced something like that before.

Can you explain what you did during your time in Germany and during the showcase of your work?

First, when I went to Düsseldorf they printed our fabrics and got an inside look how the machines are working what kind of technology they are using. Also, they showed us that their printing process  is sustainable and not harmful for people’s health.

The second time we got invited for the Kornit Vip Event. The event was a showcase of how Kornit’s groundbreaking solutions pave the way for a greener, more agile, and responsive business landscape.

I had the pleasure to see my work at the exhibition and my collection at the Kornit Empowerment Catwalk show, alongside with the other 7 winners of the competition. Moreover, I participated in a panel discussion and I was lucky enough to hear amazing industry panel talks.

What sparked your interest in fashion?

When I was in the fifth grade, I became close to the world of design, sewing and fashion, by joining the team of KreaKids Studio. 

KreaKids studio is like a private school where children between the age of 4-18 can learn design, fashion design, animation, graphics and drawing.

This studio taught me the basics of sewing and designing and with the whole group we created many collections and organized fashion shows presented in Romania and Hungary.

How did studying BA (Hons) Fashion at Solent prepare you for work in the industry? 

I feel like this was the right choice for me and I am really grateful that I picked this university. This course taught me everything I have to know to start my journey in the industry. We weren’t a big class, but this was beneficial. The teachers could focus on us separately and thought us precisely everything.

What is your design process like?

Usually, I start to look around and gather some informational pictures this can be primary or secondary images. Or I found a really interesting topic and I start to dig deeper into it. Then I start collaging with the silhouettes and from that I started designing outfits. Based on my research, I developed a unique print design.  

It always takes a lot of time to reduce my sketch ideas and create the final outfits with the appropriate colour and print scheme.

How did you balance staying true to your artistic vision while meeting market demands?

Balancing artistic vision and market demands often involves understanding your audience, adapting without compromising core values, and finding a harmonious middle ground to appeal to both creativity and market viability.

Flexibility and a deep understanding of your unique voice can help navigate this balance successfully.

Can you share a bit about your creative process when developing a new collection?

Creating a new collection involves different stages. For example, the first thing I do is to seek inspiration from various sources such as art, nature, architecture, or cultural trends. Create mood boards and gather visuals that resonate with your vision. After that concept development, then researching into trends. Also, incorporate elements that align with both your creative vision and market demands. Translate your concept into sketches. Experiment with shapes, silhouettes, and details. Consider how each piece contributes to the overall narrative of the collection. Choose fabrics and materials that complement your designs. Create patterns based on your designs and produce toiles or samples. 

What materials or fabrics do you enjoy working with the most and why? 

I enjoy working with versatile fabrics like cotton or silk, these are really easy to work with. I also prefer innovative materials for a futuristic touch, but at the same time I often choose sustainable options to align with environmental values. The choice often depends on the design's purpose, aesthetics, and the desired impact on the wearer.

Experimenting with textures and mixing materials can also add a unique dimension to designs. The tactile experience and visual interest created by combining different fabrics contribute to the overall appeal and individuality of the pieces.

What role does innovation play in your designs , and how you stay current with fashion trends? 

Staying current involves regular trend research, attending fashion events, and engaging with fashion communities. Embracing new technologies and materials can also inject a fresh, innovative perspective into designs. Moreover, I often check the new fashion news and the WGSN website for new trend.

How do you see your brand evolving in the future, and what goals do you have for your fashion label? 

My goal in the future is to create a brand, with my twin sister, which is focused on producing unique rebellious feminine clothes to empower women who want to dress in bold fashion free of any prejudice and desire to unleash the chain of everyday monotony and become more expressive.

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