Richard McCoy

What got you interested in Fashion Design as a career?

All of the females in my family have been very into clothes, both my mother and her sister, my aunt were models when I was young. And they loved to get dressed up. They were always wearing beautiful furs, exquisite jewellery, leathers and amazing shoes and perfumes. Then as I got older Mum would sometimes go to NYC to do serious shopping. Such a mad-hen! 

What does it mean to you to be a part of the industry?

I don't really consider myself in any industry so to speak. I sit between fashion and art at the moment, and that's fine. Fashion can be a great industry, but very hard.

What is your typical day like?

Right now my life is balancing my full-time gig with all the other projects I'm working on. So long days and little sleep!

Tell me about your best/proudest moment so far.

A few, having my master's work exhibited at Tate Britain in London, back in 2014 was out of this world. My past design role entailed me going to Paris Fashion week regularly, as part of the design team for a big luxury women's wear brand.

That was stressful and fabulous, mostly stressful. More recently some of my print work has just been exhibited in the USA for the first time, and in Seoul. Both brill moments I guess.

I think actually being asked to speak at Auckland Art Gallery about their California Design exhibition was amazing too, as I was in a group of students that were the first ever to be asked to speak at a national museum at that time.

I felt really humbled, as I was a Masters student at the time, and was flabbergasted that they wanted my take on the works. I've been very very lucky. 

What are some of the key challenges you have come up against in the industry? And the key successes?

So many challenges. Mainly too much to do, not enough time. In terms of successes, my masters research was the world's first academic study of 3D printing on top of fabric. So successfully creating something new, that adds to the ongoing dialogue of fashion, art, or technology, even in a small way is wonderful. 

What are your future ambitions?

Keep going, with humility and a conscious. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

At the moment I'm writing art and culture reviews for a luxury magazine, here in Seoul, South Korea - which is on the side of my main teaching and consultation/art practice. Naturally I see a lot of art, in my spare time, and of course shop far too much!

What is your best piece of advice for students considering studying at Design & Arts College?

Don't be afraid to make mistakes, it's how you learn. Make as much clothing as you can, it's how you learn about fabrics/fit/construction. Make simple things well. Listen to your tutors. Strive to do more than is expected. Help others if you can, you'll learn loads that way too.

What advice would you give someone else looking at Fashion Design as a career?

Work very hard. Learn as much as you can. Treat all teachers with massive respect. Keep a balance between long-term goals and short term rewards. Find a balance between experimentation and the commercial, you'll need to be good at both. Take all opportunities, because they build on each other.