As part of her course Fashion Buying and Merchandising student Nerea Fernandez recently completed an internship with womenswear fashion designer Caroline Kilkenny.  Learning the ropes from industry experts is invaluable at student level.  Here Nerea speaks about her experience and what she learned from her time spent with Caroline Kilkenny Design.

I really wanted to get as much as possible out of our my internship so I was delighted to get a five week placement working with Caroline Kilkenny.   Working alongside Caroline was a great pleasure and her enthusiasm and industry knowledge was infectious.  I got a real insight in many different areas of the design and the creative process but most importantly I experienced firsthand how the fashion industry works commercially and how Caroline designs for her customer and specifically the womenswear market.

In my first week with Caroline I assisted in the preparation of the Look book for the AW15 collection.  Matching the fabric swatches correctly with the right designs gave me the opportunity to learn about the various textures and finishes and what fabrics work best with certain designs.  I have no design experience at all  so this was a real learning curve for me in terms of designing and how a collection is put together.

The final touches to the collection were key, with Caroline making last minute tweaks to perfect each piece.  Attention to detail was a must as we checked all the designs one by one, carrying out fittings and ensuring they were perfect and ready to wear before sending the final samples to the manufacturing company.  During my time I also learned about the fashion cycle, pipeline and routes to market, whether the designs are sold directly to the high street shops or via an agent.

There is never enough time to learn everything and the five weeks went so fast especially as I was enjoying myself learning so much.  I was given a great opportunity to experience the fashion world and the business of fashion from a different view from the designer and now I am hungry to learn more and more about the industry.

When speaking to Caroline about Nerea she says "I recently had the pleasure of working with Nerea, one of Portobello's Fashion students when she came to work as an intern in our Design Studio. From beginning to end Nerea approached all tasks given to her with enthusiasm & interest. She worked diligently & became part of our design team from the start. She offered interesting ideas & her input was very much valued. I would highly recommend working with a Portobello student as I found the experience both helpful and fun. It was also lovely to see an intern enjoy and have a great experience working in a busy design studio".