Designer Holly Fulton appointed head of fashion at CSVPA

Holly Fulton
Holly Fulton

Fashion designer Holly Fulton has been appointed as head of fashion at the Cambridge School of Visual & Performing Arts (CSVPA); she will take on the role while continuing with her own fashion label.

“We wanted to find an active fashion designer to be our head of fashion, to offer our students unparalleled industry insights as part of their education. Holly brings both a global understanding of the industry, with the success of her brand in Asia and the US, as well as an incredibly strong UK reputation through her significant position in Graduate Fashion Week. We are very proud to have her on our team,” says Karin Askham, Head of College, CSVPA.

Fulton has been involved in fashion education for the past 15 years but this is the first permanent role she has taken in the sector. “Education is something I am passionate about and this position feels very natural for me. I have had some great mentors in my career and now I am in the right place to share what I’ve learned with students, while helping them to develop their own style and practice. I intend to give them an experience they would not be able to get at any other university,” she said.

Students from 42 nationalities attend the CSVPA and the college says it is committed to developing British and global talent. “Fashion is a global industry, and our intention is to enable our students to flourish through the incredible teaching and contacts we can offer. This provides them with the platform to progress into jobs in New York or Milan, or in the fast-growing fashion markets in Brazil, the Far East, or China. It is important to give them that international perspective,” Askham added.

Q&A Holly Fulton

What made you decide to take the position as Head of Fashion?

I have been involved with the education sector for over 15 years. I have been global ambassador for Graduate Fashion Week for two years, and have been working with them for over five years now. I have always kept a strong connection with education, serving as a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art, Kingston University, and Ravensbourne, among others, and serving as an external examiner for the last 3 years. This is my first permanent role, which is very exciting. Education is something I am passionate about and this role feels very natural for me. I have had some great mentors, and now I am in a position to give something back. Plus teaching informs my own practice. It inspires me and keeps me on my toes!

Why The Cambridge School of Visual & Performing Arts?

CSVPA appealed to me because the college is small and intimate, and I can really make a difference. Having visited CSVPA before as a guest lecturer I have seen how the students benefit from a strong teaching resource, and it allows me greater scope to shape the course and work closely with the student body.

CSVPA
CSVPA fashion students: Jia Lin Tan (left) and Priscilla Andrews

What are the benefits of studying at CSVPA?

What is unique and great about CSVPA is the small class sizes and the incredible facilities. I have witnessed, in large education institutions, huge class numbers, sometimes spanning ninety students in two days. There is often a lack of continuity, and it can be an unsatisfactory student experience. In my experience, the amount of time the students have with the teaching staff at CSVPA is unparalleled in the UK. We have a very strong technical team who bring industry expertise from the high-street experience to designers such as Vivienne Westwood. There are around 10 students in the class and we want to keep it small, as it is very important to maintain that close contact. Everyone has a personal tutor, and I oversee all the students and am the main point of contact. There is a roster of technical staff to assist the students, including three pattern cutters, high level technicians, designers and a broad cross section of visiting industry professionals.

What is unique about this fashion design course?

I am a practicing designer with my own design studio, and have a wide range of high-level connections in the fashion industry. I work with many brands as a designer and bring a fresh perspective to the course with a 360-degree view of the industry. I am currently organising a series of student fashion designer workshops for next year, where my students will get one-on-one access to leading designers to showcase their work and get feedback from leaders in the industry. We’ve already had lectures and workshops from the world-renowned embroidery and embellishment house Hand & Lock as well as London based milliner Noel Stewart.