Hey, Mum, here’s me from Hackney with Gaultier

Hackney jobless at Paris fashion week with Jean Paul Gaultier (supplied pic)

GROW UP IN Hackney and get a free trip to Paris and the chance to chat with the great fashionista Jean Paul Gaultier. Sounds like a dream career plan but for a group of young Hackneyites it has come true.

They were taken to an exclusive – 100-guest – Paris Fashion Week show at the master’s headquarters. Then they took part in a question-and-answer session with him and were photographed with the veteran designer (picture above – his HQ’s hospitality did not seem to run to a quality photographer).

Their visit to Paris was a kind of mirror image of a journey by Gaultier himself, who was drawn [ho-ho] into a design career by the fashion he saw in London during a school trip.

He has often talked about the inspiration of Kings Road youth style on his work, which has featured kilts and safety pins and later pointy bras for Madonna, a 1980s popsinger-actress.

Rag-trade folk at Ram Place, top,  and Hackney Fashion Hub in Morning Lane
Rag-trade folk at Ram Place and, below, Hackney Fashion Hub in Morning Lane

Gaultier told the youngsters: “From my own experience, if you love what you want to do and if it is truly the profession you want, it is about working all the time. Everything is possible but you have to love it.”

The Hackney group also visited  the studios of  fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. He revealed how he was influenced by East End culture and he emphasised the importance of colour, stitching and shape in designing clothing.

The visit,  funded by the Mayor’s Fund for London and supported by Hackney council, is part of a scheme to give 18 to 24 year-olds who are not studying or working a chance to break into fashion.

It is part of a ten-week programme that includes communication, networking and creative-industry expertise from work placements, workshops and mentoring from top designers, artists and photographers. The aim is to make the wannabes employable.

Byron Morris, 23, of Hackney, said: “The programme has given me the freedom to believe in myself.

“It’s now up to us to face the real world. I want to open my own business… I can now go out and grab it.”

The scheme is run in conjunction with Ram Place Fashion Market, which opens in Hackney tomorrow 12 July 2014 and ends on Sunday 20 July 2014.

The market, off Morning Lane E9 6LT, encourages designers, artists, traders and performers to take part in the development of Hackney’s Fashion Hub.Hackney Fashion Hub in Morning Lane © David Altheer

Mayor of Hackney Jules Pipe press-released: “Hackney is establishing itself as the fashion centre for London.”

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