Success stories

Case studies - Fashion Design Alumni

Our Northbrook College West Durrington Campus is renowned for its creative courses and facilities. In this post, we shine a spotlight on the Fashion Design courses offered at the MET by hearing what some of our successful alumni have to say about their college experiences.

Stefan Cooke 


Stefan started his fashion career studying Fashion and Textiles at Northbrook College. His educational journey took him to the prestigious Central Saint Martins MA in 2017.

"Studying at Northbrook was my first experience of being fully supported as a creative within education. From the range of technical facilities to the genuinely invested staff, my time at Northbrook gave me a solid understanding of craft and experimentation within fashion and gave me a vast technical knowledge that fully prepared me for university. Since leaving Northbrook I went on to complete my Bachelors and Masters at Central St Martins in London, and since 2018 have been showing on schedule at London fashion week with a bi-annual show and worldwide stockists. It was at Northbrook that I had my foundation of confidence and knowledge built for me to enter the fashion industry."

Stefan at Vogue's spring 2020 show

Christopher Luke Watts


Christopher came to Northbrook 15 years ago when he enrolled on the ND Fashion and Textiles course. He went on to study fashion at Kingston University before returning to Northbrook to complete a BA Surface and Textile degree.

"My years at Northbrook have been some of the most informative of my life, helping me grow not only on a professional level but also personally. Supported and encouraged by excellent tutors, guided by their technical expertise and the colleges superb facilities, I came to understand the fundamental aesthetics and guiding personality of my work. Upon graduating from Northbrook I went on to study an MA at Central Saint Martins and spent some time working in London as a textile designer, specialising in bridal wear for Jenny Packham, then moving to Paris to work as embroidery designer with a strong focus on accessory development and haute couture. During my time in Paris I was fortunate enough to work for some of the worlds most prestigious fashion houses such as Dior, Givenchy, Celine, Christian Louboutin and Louis Vuitton.

After some years in Paris I was head hunted and asked to move to Spain, where I currently work as a senior designer for Zara Home, overseeing the concept and design for the bedroom department. Whilst my current role is a departure from my previous fashion-focused roles, Northbrook taught me the importance of being open to the challenges and opportunities that you will encounter on your career path.

Northbrook has a very special place in my heart; the relationships I made with my tutors and fellow students continue to this day, and the knowledge I gained studying at Northbrook has enabled me to travel around the world pursuing a career that I truly love."

Click here to see Christopher's sample portfolio.

Josh Read

"My time at Northbrook allowed me to extensively explore an eclectic range of design processes and techniques, along with ample personal time with tutors and technicians. Northbrook surpasses any other college I have seen when it comes to facilities. I was introduced to fabric dying, print making and industrial knitting as well as pattern cutting, sewing, and cultural studies. The staff at Northbrook come with a wealth of knowledge and an energy which pushed me forward. With the studio space provided, I was trusted to work independently both in and outside of class hours. With hard work, endless support, and encouragement I was successful in securing a place on the BA (Hons) Fashion degree course at Kingston University London, where I continued to develop my skills and push my talents further. At the end of my final year at Kingston I was very fortunate to be awarded the Graduate LVMH prize, securing me a one-year contract with Christian Dior Couture in Paris."


Charlie Borrow

Charlie was a few weeks late starting on the Fashion and Textiles course at Northbrook after deciding (last minute!) to transfer from a music course. It was, he says, the best decision he ever made.

"The fashion course is thorough and doesn’t require any previous experience in pattern making, machine stitching, knitting and print making. I was given close technical advice in all these areas while studying the course, and by the second year I felt comfortable and confident in my abilities. One thing I should point out is not only the great tutors who give you the time you need at this college/university, but also the facilities and equipment available. I went on from this course to a well known London university which didn’t have half the equipment and staff available to students (most the time sharing a machine between 3, and one lesson a week with tutors), which was not the case at Northbrook!


What I learnt and achieved on this course gave me the foundations I needed to move to London and begin a career in the industry. My only real formal training is from Northbrook, as I dropped out of uni after 7 months. After leaving the course, I got a job at Paul Smith in the suit department and quite quickly became the main fitter for VIP clients. This was due to the technical knowledge I had from making and studying.

I began tailoring garments from my bedroom to earn some extra money alongside work. I moved on to making bags quite organically and became fascinated with the traditional craft. Today, 10 years on from leaving Northbrook, I still manufacture my bags in-house at my shop in Shoreditch, east London. I currently wholesale my products to 20 stores across Japan and have sold to many London boutiques and department stores over the years. It’s been a real personal push to get the business to where it is today and was by no means easy, but without the amazing time and introduction to the industry given to me by Northbrook, I wouldn’t be here today. So thank you to everyone at Northbrook!"

Karen Chan


"Northbrook really opened my eyes to endless opportunities and directions you could take in the creative industry, the amount of time and effort the staff would put in I’m grateful for all the support they have given me as it has definitely allowed to be where I am today. I cannot stress enough how encouraging and amazing the tutors, technicians, staff and also facilities were around me, as I know it’s not every day you have access to all of that equipment, so this allowed me to be creative explore different avenues and learn a lot of different skills. The knowledge and confidence I took from the two years I was there I then moved onto graduating with a BA in Fashion at Northumbria University with a year in industry working with the likes of Raimund Berthold (menswear designer) and Markus Lupfer (Luxury Womenswear designer), this really allowed me to progress my skills further also give me an insight into the industry first hand.

After 4 years of pure solid hard work and graduating with my final collection, I am now currently working at Batra group an international business group specialising in sports/apparel wear as a junior designer. They look after various accounts including Fila, Mistral, Tony Hawk, Sergio Tacchini and many more. I have been lucky enough to work on multiple collections from Menswear, womenswear, even down to kids. I can definitely say that from my experiences I have grown as a person, developed skills and knowledge of various areas throughout all my opportunities so far. Having the passion and drive to push myself really stemmed from learning at Northbrook which I will treasure forever. They didn’t just teach us things we needed to know, they supported our journey
through good and bad and pushed us to be the best versions of ourselves in whatever career path we chose."

Instagram: @karenchandesign


For more information about the FE and HE fashion courses at Northbrook College, click here

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