​Joanna Melbourne Unzipped: The Fashion Designer Reveals How To Get Ahead In Fashion

We go behind the scenes of a recent ELLE shoot to meet emerging fashion designer Joanna Melbourne

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Hotly-tipped designer Joanna Melbourne's first taste of the creative – and commercial – realities of fashion came pretty early: as a child she used to make and sell jewellery (along with lemonade) outside her house.

Fast-forward several years and a series of short summer courses – including one in pattern cutting – at London's prestigious Central St Martin's college consolidated her passion. 'I loved it,' she says simply. 'From then on I knew I wanted to study there.'

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It was a good choice. Joanna's final-year collection – inspired initially by 'a beautiful photograph of an African snail' – introduced the strength of her creative and technical skill in its forward-thinking yet flatteringly wearable pairing of moulded foam bonded onto fluid silk.

Nominated as one of the Top Six Central St Martins BA Graduates for 2016 by noted industry bible The Business of Fashion, Joanna's star is undoubtedly in the ascendant.

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So what's next?

'Eventually I would love to create a second collection as the reaction to my first has been so positive,' she says, 'but for now I would really like to work in a team for an exciting brand and stay in the fast pace of the industry.'

The ELLE shoot saw your graduate collection restyled to work within a specific commercial brief – how did you find that experience?

It's great seeing my collection styled in different ways. Pandora's jewellery gave the dresses and suits a different context that worked really well. Pairing my collection with different pieces from Pandora showed an elegant way to style the looks other than how they were presented on the runway.

How did you find working with other emerging talents on the shoot?

One of my favourite parts of working on my graduate collection was collaborating with filmmakers, photographers and graphic designers. The shoot with ELLE and Pandora was similar, and I loved to see the way that all of our work came together and complimented each other. The clothes and set design had a great contrast of bright with neutral, and the make-up tied the whole shoot together.

The Business of Fashion is one of the industry's leading titles – how did it feel to get the thumbs up from them?

When I saw my name on the article I couldn't believe it. I really respect the magazine and I know what an honour it is to be mentioned. It's brought some amazing opportunities with it. I have been contacted by showrooms and have also had my collection featured in publications I really admire.

How would you like to see your career develop?

I would love to be in a senior design role in Paris, London or New York one day but this takes time. As long as I'm doing something creative and stimulating I'll be happy.

What advice would you offer to anyone else wanting to break into the fashion industry? Be persistent, thick-skinned and kind.

For more information about the Pandora jewellery used in the shoot and to see the full collection, click here.

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