Our talented 2017 BA (Hons) Fashion Communication graduate, Alannah Cooper, has been featured in Vogue and Elle magazine. Alannah won the Best Fashion Photography Award at Graduate Fashion Week 2017 and has been creating a bit of a stir within the industry since.
There were a number of Scotland based winners from Graduate Fashion Week which has got the industry talking about Scotland have a ‘moment‘.
“The time has maybe come for prominent colleges to stop resting on their laurels, but fashion publications will also have to start looking at other institutions, analysing the works of their graduates. It is worth noting that, while Edinburgh College of Arts scooped all these prizes, the Fashion Photography Award went to Alannah Cooper from another Edinburgh-based institution, Heriott Watt University, which may mean that students considering a career in fashion should maybe head up North, or at least consider less hyped up institutions where they can focus on their work and be nurtured by lecturers who may not be constantly featured on prominent fashion magazines, but who are definitely knowledgeable and talented enough to help them developing their own signature styles” Irenebrination June 2017.
Alannah takes inspiration from Orkney where she’s from:
‘We leave but we are always drawn back. The moon phase changes and our bones are pulled northwards. We grow up on this secluded island that we want to escape and do so with the sound of rocks being carried into the ocean. We cross the choppy waters
to new territories. We find careers, adventures and people but sometimes we lose sight of ourselves. The current changes swiftly and we find ourselves washed up back on that same island. When we return, the sharp air rushes through our lungs like a howling gale. We trace our steps along well-worn paths, feeling that familiar entrapment but as we watch an oyster catcher swoop across the bay, we wonder –
what is it that made us so desperate to leave after all?’
“This is the introduction to my publication, which I feel summarises the feeling of the project. I grew up on the Orkney Islands and felt conflict between whether I wanted to remain in the islands or leave in pursuit of an ambitious career. My great grandfather’s first cousin, Robert Rendall, was a poet, and I could see parallels from the stories told within his poems to my own life. For this reason, I decided to create my own editorials based on the vision I had in my head for many of his poems. I hope that in creation of my publication, young people in Orkney will look to their home with fresh eyes and see how there are so many opportunities and possibilities that have not yet been taken advantage of that all come from living remotely.”
Alannah speaks warmly of her time here at the School
“The thing I miss most about Heriot-Watt is seeing all the people that I’ve made such good friends with. There was a studio space dedicated for the 4th year Fashion Communication students and we spent so much time there bouncing ideas off each other, listening to the ‘Independent Ladies’ Spotify playlist and laughing at each other getting increasingly delirious as the year went on. Sitting at your desk dressed in curtains/plastic bags/soya milk cartons was not unusual and going to the canteen with a purple face after having volunteered to trial a makeup look for someone was nothing out of the ordinary in our studio. I made friends with some really talented, hilarious and kind-hearted people at Heriot-Watt and I will miss being with them every day.”