graduates

As shown by being one of the founders of Graduate Fashion Week in 1988, Vanessa Denza has always taken the nurturing of Graduate talent very seriously. At Denza we value our connections to universities around the world being involved in juries and Mentoring Panels wherever we can and getting to know new talent from graduation.

  • We take on Graduates as soon as they have graduated  as we will be able to help them later on in their career
  • We do get graduate positions but not many – perhaps 1 or 2 a month. These can be in the UK or overseas
  • We only select a few graduates from each University
  • We select graduates by visiting Graduate Fashion Week annually and University exhibitions
  • We only select strong graduates to be on our books who we think we can help find a job
  • If you are not selected by us don’t worry!  It just means we have filled our graduate intake for that year but do apply to us in a year or two once you have found your first job and it will be easier for us to help you
  • We advise that you are very open in terms of the type of company you would like to work for as a graduate
  • Don’t turn down opportunities such as working for a supplier – it is all experience
  • Also be as open as possible with re-location
  • Expect to earn around £15-£19k for your first job in London (obviously there are exceptions)

Once you graduate we recommend you do the following:

  • Apply to as many agencies as possible – on-line ones are also available
  • Don’t be frightened to send off your information directly to companies (your CV and work copies)
  • Buy Drapers weekly (you can subscribe) – lots of information on companies and also job section at the back

The following information is what we advise at Denza – other agencies, companies and Universities may differ – there is no right or wrong way to do your portfolio. Your portfolio is very important and says a lot about you and the way you work so it is vital to get it looking just right. We will happily give you advice on your portfolio to tailor it for our clients.

  • Have 1 portfolio – not loads
  • A3 or A4 in size (textiles may differ)
  • All pages the same layout – either landscape or portrait
  • 3/4 projects in your portfolio – be selective
  • Inspiration page + 4 pages of design work per project
  • Order your portfolio – most recent and strongest work at the front

Constantly re-evaluate your portfolio:

  • How do you feel about it?
  • Are you confident enough to talk someone through it?
  • Does it show variety and speak clearly about your strengths?
  • Does it relate specifically to the interview?
  • Think about which area you would ideally like to work in i.e. womenswear, menswear etc.
  • Aim your portfolio towards this market
  • Think outside the box!  Most people tend to stick to womenswear but don’t be scared to try other areas such as childrenswear or menswear. We have a lack of good childrenswear or teenage wear designers which someone trained in womens or menswear could turn their hand to.

At Denza we advise our candidates to think commercially as well as creatively due to the variety of our clients. Other agencies may differ to us – this is just guidance we give to our graduate candidates:

  • Keep working on your portfolio!!  This is very important
  • If you would ideally like to work for a Designer Brand, do projects for this level but also keep your options open by doing a project aimed at High Street level
  • You can edit your portfolio – consider the company interviewing you
At Denza we send hand drawn work to Clients – not catwalk shots or look-books.
  • Work on your illustrations and flats and make them your own – keep developing them
  • Make your flat drawings as clear and detailed as possible
  • Develop your own style – this may take years to do as you are constantly changing and evolving
  • Make sure your printouts are clear as bad quality images can look very unprofessional
  • Digital work is not excluded all together. You may want to combine computer generated illustrations with hand rendered work and mixed media – find what works best for you.
  • Textiles students: It is important to combine textile design with fashion drawing – there should be a link.  Practice drawing and applying your prints to actual garments

Our tips for your CV

  • Keep your CV to 1 page
  • Print on good quality paper – don’t use bright colours
  • No background
  • Bullet point your key responsibilities
  • Fashion related experience only
  • Include fashion related work experience or internships
  • Don’t include your A levels or GCSE’s – they are irrelevant
  • Don’t include salary expectations
  • Double check spelling and grammar and that your details are correct
The two main points to remember are:
  • Keep working on your portfolio even after you graduate – this is essential
  • Send off your CV and work copies to as many agencies and companies as possible
Please see our dedicated page on creating your CV.

And finally don’t worry – fashion is a competitive industry but with determination you will make it!  Be confident and take any opportunities that come your way. You never know where it may take you.