Introducing GFF Talent, University for the Creative Arts Fashion student Sara Hegyi! Continue reading to learn more…

What is the most valuable thing you have learnt at university?

The most valuable thing I have learned in my university is to stay authentic to yourself and to your ideas. Don't try to rush or force the creative process; instead, stay true to yourself, your ideas, and what you stand for. They thought me to learn and to appreciate the differences we all have and to look for the interesting and beautiful things in each other and in our work. Since every culture and background is unique, they focused on everyone’s uniqueness and original ideas. As an immigrant from Hungary, I felt appreciated that they paid attention to my background and creative viewpoints that I involved in my designs. My university and my tutors also encouraged me to strive to be the greatest version of myself and to keep going with my design ideas even when they proved to be challenging. I feel like my tutors were though, so they could push me to my limitations and help me improve every year. I had no sewing or pattern-making skills when I first started at the university, but over the years they taught me how to feel at ease, to have a foundation, and from this foundation to develop my ideas. Additionally, sessions with no topics or restrictions were extremely helpful for letting go and just letting yourself be creative without overthinking, even if the artwork did not turn out great. Being a perfectionist was my major restriction, and I frequently set limitations on myself. I can still see myself tearing pages out of my sketchbook because I didn't think it was perfect or good enough. My teachers also greatly helped me in coming to terms with the fact that not all of our designs and garments would be perfect or will be well received by the public. This strong criticism primarily helped me in growing and becoming more accepting of both myself and my work.

What was the starting point of inspiration for your final project?

The inspiration for my final project is based on the book called Once Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. I wanted to draw attention to the people who lived in mental asylums and show how they mistreated people in the past who were different with old-fashioned, cruel methods, a problem that still exists in today's society. I thought this was a significant subject that could be expressed through art, through fashion, particularly for those who might not have the same possibilities to speak up for themselves, express themselves, or communicate how they feel. As a result of my prior studies in speech therapy and special needs of education, I believed I could draw connections between the two professions and represent those who experience difficulties to articulate themselves. Another source of inspiration for me was the Rorschach inkblot test which is a psychology test. In my pre-collection, I incorporated a few prints from the actual Rorschach test, but I wanted to add melting plastic, feathers, and various materials and textiles to my final collection to make it more 3D and to make it more exciting and unique. The Rorschach test served as an inspiration to me because everyone's perspective and the images they perceive are distinct and different. These psychological tests have no right or wrong answers since they challenge one's thinking, creativity, and emotions based on what they allow one to perceive or feel at the time. This is my goal with my final collection as well to let people get lost in my design and garments and to caught themselves getting inspiration from it and to gain feelings from it even if it’s positive or negative. With my final collection, I also want to encourage people to embrace themselves and to discover their own inspiration and feelings—whether positive or negative—from the designs and garments that I’m making.

What form will your project take (e.g. garments, editorial images, magazine, event, etc)?

When I start a project, my primary goal is to create garments that may potentially be used in an editorial photoshoot regardless of the factors and what the project is about, so that I can promote both myself and the team that worked on an editorial photoshoot. I believe it is quite tough to put together an entire team for an editorial shoot, but when the chance arises, it can be significant and it can help to gain experience in the field. I was able to participate in an editorial photo shoot for my pre-collection with other creatives from the same university, including skilled and talented stylists, photographers, make-up artists, hair stylists, and models. To understand how to promote your work for following opportunities, collaborations, and for a chance to be featured, it is crucial to get experience from photoshoots and it is crucial to submit them to magazines. Especially in the fashion industry team work or collaborations are very important and to be able to learn from other creatives in order to become a better designer and in order to have a better result of a photoshoots and runway shows. I have not had the opportunity yet to showcase my designs on the runway but I am really looking forward to it this summer on the Graduate Fashion Show. The entire experience is exciting and tense during any runway presentations because there are no opportunities for previous editing and fixing. The movement, the fitting, the flow of the garment on the model enters the picture as important aspects that we are unable to fully experience during a magazine shoot. Fortunately, I gained experience from both professional editorial photoshoots and runway shows throughout my internship at Miss Sohee and Richard Quinn. It is important to understand and experience how different areas of the fashion industry operate as well as the particular field in which we would like to work.

How has it evolved from your initial ideas and what have you learnt along the way?

During the three years I spent studying at UCA, I believe that my views and ideas significantly evolved. At the beginning, the initial focus was more on discovering who I am as an artist and concentrating on my heritage and learning the base of fashion and the base of sewing techniques rather than choosing and exploring a topic deeply. I believe that as my sewing, designing, and pattern cutting skills improved, I felt more comfortable choosing the topics that I wanted to research and start new projects. Deep research is crucial when trying to accurately reflect a subject or reflect on society throughout the design process. A design idea is easier to develop and easier to create if there is a significant quantity of research behind it. There are no bad themes or concepts, I've come to understand along the way. More importantly, it is about how we approach them, how we wish to represent the topics, or what we want to gain from doing so. Additionally, it's essential to avoid being fixated on a certain design because it will undoubtedly change and improve along the process. I have grown more confident in my ability to change design ideas halfway through a project and to find an alternative solution if something isn't working. Improvisation became an important aspect for me when I start a project. Improvising and starting a project by working on the mannequin while just having fun actually helps the process because you don't limit yourself with ideas that you've drawn. You give yourself freedom to be creative, to make an error, and to see what happens. While it may not always be successful, at least you can allow yourself to create freely. It's also necessary to pay attention to suggestions from your tutors and other experts to evolve. Instead of focusing on perfecting something, accidents may sometimes make designs outstanding and one-of-a-kind.

What are the messages and themes behind your project that you want people to take away? Do explore any topics like diversity, sustainability or politics in your work?

When I look back on my work and the collection that I am working on at the moment, the themes are always dark and revolved on mortality, or revolved around serious subjects such as global warming, natural disasters, discrimination, abuse and so on. I like to highlight issues that are uncomfortable and draw attention to topics that are oppressive. It is never a cheerful or happy theme; rather, it is always a disturbing and alarming one. When I try to describe what I want people to take away from my collection, from my design ideas and topics, and when I talk about my project, acceptance is the first word that comes to mind. Just taking a look at the historical context of mental asylums and Ken Kesey's book, which portrays people and showcases horrific treatments in the past and which I have chosen as the basis for my final collection, brings up the topic of treating people poorly simply because they are different from us. Diversity is what makes us special. These aspects are the most important in my final collection to remind people of how humans behaved in the past with one another and learn from it to be able to improve as human beings and for humanity to improve as well. Sadly, people continue to be unkind to one another because they are too resistant to see things differently and embrace them. Even if we disagree with one another or are different, we should learn to embrace individuals for who they are. I believe the main messages are about bringing those who have been overlooked, the outcast into the spotlight and providing them a voice through art, trough fashion, through garments. Sustainability is another factor I'd want to focus on. I also aim to use dead-stock fabrics in my designs and try to make them as sustainable as possible.

What’s an aspect of the fashion industry that you’re passionate about fixing or having a positive impact on?

Whether it is fashion, theatre, dance, contemporary art or music, I believe my main idea of passion is working with and being among creative individuals in a creative environment. I have a strong interest in how they operate, what they are thinking about, how they begin a collection or an idea, what subjects they research, what process they go through, and what inspires them to create art. I am passionate about people who make their careers out of art and devote their lives to it. I believe artists are incredibly brave, and I think it is admirable that they display their own work to the public and let others decide whether or not they like it. Many people dismiss artist or being an artist as a career choice. Being an artist or choosing to be one as a profession can be difficult, but it can be beautiful as well. There is always something that motivates or inspires the creator that people can react to. Art is really accurate and interactive with life. In addition, old-fashioned rules are what I would like to change in the fashion industry. There are numerous approaches to a design or method of making garments, and there are often more effective approaches. What I have observed is that in certain businesses, and in certain companies they were concentrated on production processes and methodologies without enabling other creatives to express themselves or display their abilities. It is primarily a supressing environment with minimal chances to express yourself through your work. Additionally, it can be quite difficult to trust your instincts and refuse to allow others change your ideas just because they think that it could be better presented in a different way. It might be challenging for beginning designers to get respect at design companies, but I think collaboration and teamwork can help both the individual and the business grow.

What are you planing to do following your BA?

I have gotten into RCA for masters in fashion and I would like to continue to study.

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