FAD catches up with Leadership Academy members Clara,19, and Karmen, 20, who along with Natalya, 20, were the team behind a recent project at Coram’s Fields Youth Group in Camden.
Clara is currently studying a BA in Textiles Design at Chelsea School of Art, while Karmen is in her first year of a Pattern Cutting degree at the London College of Fashion. They are both teen participants of FAD’s Fashion Futures project.
Clara, this project was very personal to you. Tell us why did you wanted to work with Coram’s Fields?
Clara: “I chose to run a project at Coram’s Fields because I wanted to give back to other young people. I used to go to the youth centre when I was younger and I know how important it is. When I was growing up we never had anything like FAD projects at the centre, so I wanted to use my creative skills to give back to the young people.”
Tell us a little bit about your project?
Clara: “The project was called ‘Creative Textiles’; the aim was to make an item that had a surface manipulation pattern on it. The young people drew and made collages, which were later developed into repeat patterns on Photoshop. They had to choose one of three final outcomes to make – a shopper bag, an envelope clutch or a cushion cover.”
Were there any challenges you had to overcome in the workshops?
Clara: “The main challenge we had to overcome was keeping everyone’s attention. Also getting people motivated to make truly wonderful prices of work. I found this especially hard with the younger members of the group, but we got there in the end.”
Karmen: “It was a challenge, but we found out it works to be really specific with the tasks we give the young people as well as splitting the sessions in half – with two different activities to help them maintain focus and interest in what they are doing. We also had to work on gaining their respect, which made it easier to get their attention and to make them listen to what we had to say.”
What do you think doing the project has taught you personally and about leadership?
Clara: “I learnt a lot about myself, when it comes to planning and thinking ahead and being organised. These are the aspects that I know I need to work on when managing future projects.”
Karmen: “As a team we have learnt to evaluate after each session and prior to the next workshop – to discuss all the events of that day and work on what we can improve next time, any concerns we had and ideas we may have for future projects.”
The FAD Leadership Academy is very much about uniting communities – bringing together people from different backgrounds. Do you think your project achieved this?
Karmen: “This project is definitely about bridging communities. As project leaders we get the chance to meet and talk with a generation younger than ourselves, who we would never really mix with. It is very insightful to discover their likes/dislikes, and speak to them about what we do, to help inspire them for their own futures.”
Clara: “I would agree. I think our project worked well in bringing together a diverse ethnic group of young people.”
Why do you think it’s important for young people to learn to be good leaders?
Clara: “I think it’s very important because we all need leaders to look up to. Sometimes young people don’t listen to their parents but will listen to other young people, from backgrounds they can relate to. That’s why it is good to set an example and show that you’re willing to help other people in your community.”