"If other people have done it, why can’t you?"
Written by: Suzanne Verheul
An emerging fashion designer in her final year at Norwich University of the Arts, Becki Ball has already opened up an online boutique and produced some gorgeous, outspoken items. We spoke to her about the inspiration behind her designs, her plans for the future and the impacts of COVID-19.
“I’m designing for an individual who wants to be noticed in the clothes they’re wearing,” Becki explains when asked whether she has a particular type of customer in mind while producing her designs. “They’re not afraid to make fashion statements to express their personality.” And this sentiment shines through in her latest pieces, which combine vibrant colours with dramatic silhouettes. She draws inspiration from the photographs she takes during her travels, which influence her use of colour, print and shape. Her latest collection, ‘Ikigai’, celebrates Becki’s love for print, the use of detail and for applied layering. Ikigai is a Japanese concept, and refers to the discovery of one’s passion and reason for being. Her final outfit, photographed on the left, may be our favourite.
Adapting to life in times of corona, Becki’s work recently turned digital. With the closing of her university, she hasn’t been able to access the sewing machines and equipment on campus – instead, she’s been photographing samples and toiles to communicate her ideas. One of the biggest setback she’s experienced due to COVID-19 is the cancellation of Graduate Fashion Week. “Accepting this has been difficult,” Becki says, “as I feel that I’ve missed out on a lot of opportunities that could have aided me as an emerging designer, as well as missing valuable teaching on technical making for our garments.”
She is trying to make the best out of a bad situation, though, submitting her work to other platforms, such as Not Just a Label, a leading designer platform that promotes pioneers in contemporary fashion. And she’s got her gaze fixed on the future; she’s already started thinking about new projects, looking into investing in some equipment in order to set up shop from home. She’d like to design some more “commercial formal dresses and possibly work more with tulle”, while also still incorporating print design. And she would like to see her brand progressing further into sustainable fashion, showcasing environmentally and ethically sourced and considered garments.
Some advice she’d give to others who are similarly dreaming of starting their own label is to have confidence and do the research. “I think it is important to carry out a lot of research before starting your own boutique, to see who your competitors are, to consider who your target market is and to determine what will define your brand aesthetic and values,” Becki shares. She says she wishes she’d been more decisive when she just started out, losing track of her own vision due to mixed feedback at school. “Believe in yourself,” she adds. “If other people have done it, why can’t you?”