Hackney Youngsters meet fashion icons - Exclusive access to Jean Paul Gaultier couture catwalk show

Creativity Works: Fashion and JPG Show

A group of young people from Hackney with a passion from the creative industries were given exclusive access to the Jean Paul Gaultier catwalk show as part of Paris Fashion Week.

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience an exclusive Paris Fashion Week couture show celebrates the conclusion of a 10 week fashion programme called Creativity Works: Fashion. This pilot project has given a group of young people a range of opportunities to gain experience and skills with mentoring and work placements at companies such as the DAZED Group and the London College of Fashion.

Taking place in the surroundings of the Paris headquarters of Jean Paul Gaultier, the Creativity Works: Fashion group with personalised gold coloured invitations in-hand were spellbound by the opportunity to witness a Paris Fashion Week catwalk show, joining an exclusive audience of only 100 invitees. After the show, the group were able to meet the fashion icon to ask a range of questions about his career, inspirations and success. They also had the opportunity to be photographed with the designer.

Their visit to Paris echoes a journey taken by Gaultier himself, who was drawn into a design career by the youth fashion he encountered on a school-trip to London.

The climatic end of the afternoon followed a visit to the design studios of internationally recognised fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac (also known as JC/DC). The group were given a free reign to explore his studio, including the clothing, furniture, prints and the archive collection. Jean-Charles de Castelbajac also gave an inspirational talk about how he was influenced by London East End culture and how colour, stitching and shape need to be a focus when designing clothing. A question and answer session followed with a group ‘selfie’ photo that was taken by the designer and tweeted using his official Twitter page.

Creativity Works: Fashion is funded by the Mayor’s Fund for London and is delivered by A New Direction through Create Jobs. The programme is supported by Hackney Council. Creativity Works aims to give a group of young people aged 18 to 24, currently not in education or employment, the opportunity to break into the fashion industry. Throughout the 10 week programme, the group have gained vital communication, networking and creative industry expertise from a range of work placements, workshops and mentoring from top designers, artists and photographers to make them ready for work.

The programme is running in conjunction with Ram Place Fashion Market which is open to the public from 12 to 20 July in the heart of Hackney, a location gaining a global reputation as the fashion heart of London. The market will see designers, artists, traders and performers come together to celebrate youth fashion. It also contributes to the development of Hackney's Fashion Hub, which will provide the borough with an environment where new young designers can work and offer employment opportunities locally.

When asked what his message is for young people who want to work in the creative industry, Jean Paul Gaultier said: “From my own experience, if you love what you want to do and if it is truly the profession you want, I think it is about working all of the time. Everything is possible but you have to love it.”

Byron Morris, 23, who is completing the Creativity Works: Fashion 10 week programme, said: “The programme has given me the freedom to believe in myself, giving us opportunities and self-belief - it’s changed my mindset. It's now up to us to face the real world, I really want to open my own business following the 10 week programme, it’s confirmation of my dream and I can now go out and grab it.

"I want to work in Hackney, it’s the biggest success story of the whole city, we can get anything and do anything in the borough now, it’s come so far.”Mayor of Hackney,

Hackney is establishing itself as the fashion centre for London with an abundance of creativity typical of the borough which is one of the most diverse, exciting and celebrated locations in the capital. The Creativity Works programme is helping to harness the opportunities for local young people, equipping them with the skills, experience and inspiration to go out in a competitive creative field of work and succeed. We are working to ensure that Hackney’s growing success as a centre for creative and tech industries provides real opportunities for the people of Hackney.
Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney