“I graduated in 2011 with a BA (Hons) Textiles, 2.1. After leaving university, I had no clue what I was doing, where I was going or what I actually wanted to do with myself.
“I started uni wanting to teach GCSE and A Level product design, art and textiles. After graduating I volunteered at three different secondary schools to gain experience for a PGCE and it was upon gaining this experience that I decided it wasn’t for me after all. Add to that that the government had cut places for creative PGCE courses.
“It was at this point that I started to think about what aspects of my course I found interesting and I realised that my calling was towards technical textiles not textile design. I found the chemistry behind the dyeing interesting, how different fabrics performed differently, how certain things went wrong to clothing items. I was lucky enough to be offered a job by a company called SGS. They test textiles globally and ensure things like colour running won’t happen, that the fabric wouldn’t be too acidic, that clothes don’t shrink etc.
“From here I was exposed to major clothing and product retailers and I was lucky enough to work at numerous head offices across the UK.
“I have travelled throughout Asia visiting fabric mills, dye houses, garment factories…. I have been to shipment warehouses, seen clothing designs be transformed from CAD to physical garment, taken part in social audit board discussions. I have worked as a garment and product technologist, being responsible for the fit and fabric of clothing items, pattern cutting, print types and ensuring the safety of children’s clothing to name a few things. I am now working for a different testing company as the global manager for all the UK retailers for any clothing/ textile product for the UK. I have to pinch myself at times when I reflect on how far I’ve come any how quickly I have achieved this. I get to travel the world and experience many different cultures and wonderful people. I am constantly expanding my technical expertise and growing as an individual every single day.
“I have not looked back from leaving university and have fully immersed myself into a world and culture that I absolutely love. Knowing that my knowledge is being used to influence key decision makers, create safer products and safer working conditions for suppliers is so rewarding.
“I left university feeling I needed to conform to an expectation that I had forced upon myself. I have never been so grateful to a Conservative government cutting education funding as it allowed me to push myself out into a scary world that had so much potential waiting for me.
“I had an email just last week where a colleague of mine had met someone in Shanghai who knew my name. It is humbling to know I have gotten my name out there and made an impression on the world. If I had not studied textiles and been encouraged to explore the technical aspects alongside the designing, I would not be where I am now.
“I do not know if what I am doing is leaving a legacy per say; all I have to go on is that many suppliers, technologists, CEO’s and account managers around the world know my name. I am shy Sadie from Bournemouth that has not looked back since 2011.
“My advice would be to not box yourself into an ideal that you think will please others. And get as much work experience before leaving as you can afford to!”