Tag Archives: art direction for fashion

Meet Our Tutors Series: Schelay McCarter

Schelay McCarter is an Associate Lecturer at the University of the Arts London, a freelance designer/Art Director and has been teaching Art Direction for Fashion at CSM Short Courses since 1997.  Her expertise lies in commercial fashion branding and this includes fashion forecasting, journalism and creative project management. We spoke to Schelay about how she got into Art Direction, her advice for inspiring creatives and her passion for teaching.

What inspired you become an Art Director in fashion?

When I think about what inspired me to become an art director my early childhood comes to mind. I had a fashion savvy mother who would think nothing of running up copious amounts of summer dresses in pretty patterned cotton prints for us each season as we grew up. I have memories of my sisters and I being photographed by my father wearing fake sheep skin fur coats, made by my mother, beautifully lined, we looked like cute little lambs in them! My mother’s sewing machine was always out – she taught me to sew, I made Barbie doll clothes, tacked them onto card and photographed them ready to sell. I sold them in a local shop in Blackheath village. This opened my eyes to the potential and immediacy of style and fashion, creating an image and selling an idea. Vogue magazine was an influence, the fashion photography in particular fascinated me, the model, lighting, pose, hair and make-up, styling and location that transported me to a bewitching world of seemingly effortless glamour. It became a world that I wanted in some way to be part of.

Schelay who learned to sew at a tender age!
Schelay who learned to sew at a tender age!

Tell us about your work

My work is about creating a tailor made brand image formula that reflects my client’s product market position and the aspiration of the target customer for all media applications be a website or for in store visual merchandising or both.

My work is varied.  My previous experience as senior art director and graphic designer for M&S allowed me the freedom to set my fashion narratives in a variety of large country houses, studios or cityscapes.  My vision is to make the viewer feel both voyeur as well as part of the scene depicted. I have used some exceptional locations and photographers; two photo shoots that stand out amongst many are Cliveden House with Simon Bottomly shooting a luxury lingerie collection in the Lady Astor suite and Antebellum House in South Carolina with Jean Pierre Masclet shooting all store M&S season’s ranges.  At a recent fashion brand production shoot for a Chilean client called Saville Row. I had a 19 strong team with photographer Sam Robinson on location at Wrotham Park in Hertfordshire. This location has been used for Downton Abbey as well as the film Gosford park.  It was a surreal moment when my team and I had lunch in the Downton Abbey Kitchen!  It is my creative team I have to thank for my fashion production successes.

shooting at Wrotham Park
shooting at Wrotham Park

What are you most passionate about?

My professional practice is very important to me, however it is my teaching that I am most passionate about. I encourage innovation and proactive practices, thinking outside the box is fostered on my art direction and production work as well as from my students on my art direction for fashion courses.

We are living in one of the most exciting periods of modern history where through advances in internet application there has been an opening up of opportunity.  Utilising the past and present with the new exiting technologies available through new media, photography and post-production there has never been a better time for being an image maker.

student work in progress - bringing ideas together
student work in progress – bringing ideas together

Which piece of creative work in any discipline do you most love?

I love the alchemy of photography. Capturing a moment. Whether created on an old box Brownie using film like Jacques Henri Lartigue or Cartier Bresson’s work, I particularly like David Bailey’s brilliant Roliflex film work from the 1960s and 70s. James Meakin and Miles Aldrige’s digital camera work is vibrant and beautiful. I find the process of viewing new images and editing the selection creates the same feeling I get opening up a box of chocolates to choose the best one!

Where is your favourite London Discovery?

My favourite London discovery currently is the myriad of riverside cycle routes by the side of the London canal waterways, there is one next to the Granary road CSM Campus that leads to Little Venice and Paddington.  I often take my fold up bike along this route.

The canal path outside Central Saint Martins, Granary Square
The canal path outside Central Saint Martins, Granary Square

What is your Guilty pleasure?

It has to be dark chocolate ……

Name a favourite book, song or film

‘The Bolter’ by Frances Osbourne.

Dear Prudence by the Beatles

Dear Prudence
Dear Prudence

What advice would you give to aspiring creatives?

Use your initiative; be proactive and positive, a team player doing unto others as you would be done to yourself!

What’s the best bit of advice you have ever been given?

Carpe diem!

The next Art Direction for Fashion course starts on the 19th April 2016 with further dates throughout the year

This course is also taught online with the next course starting on the 28th April 2016

Read a student review of Art Direction for Fashion in a previous blog post here!

Thinking about summer already?

Thinking about summer already?  Thinking about studying a Central Saint Martins Short Course?  Check out some of the students we met in summer in 2015 for some insight and inspiration!

Fashion Drawing for Absolute Beginners
Céline Leconte – Fashion Drawing for Absolute Beginners

What’s your name and where do you come from?

My name is Celine and I’m French but I live in London, working as a General Practitioner.

You are studying Fashion Drawing for Beginners this week, what made you choose this course?

I recently accepted a place on the BA Theatre & Screen: Costume Interpretation course at Wimbledon College of Arts. Being a medical doctor, I don’t have any art background, nor have I done a Foundation course, so I chose Fashion Drawing for Absolute Beginners to prepare me for starting my BA, as fashion drawing is my weakest skill. The pace of the course was perfect as we started with the basics, helping us to gain the confidence to move on to more difficult drawing gradually. This way of teaching helped me to improve without realising and the on-going feedback helped us to learn from our mistakes effectively. The diversity of the class further enhanced my experience at Central Saint Martins as the different ages, skills, expectations and backgrounds in our cohort created a very open minded learning environment.

Wan Yuk Ng - Haute Couture Embroidery
Wan Yuk Ng – Haute Couture Embroidery

What’s your name and where do you come from?

Ng Wan Yuk and I’m from Hong Kong

You are studying Haute Couture Embroidery this week, what made you choose this course?

I chose to study this course as I love fashion and therefore wanted to study something fashion related. Also, in Hong Kong where I’m from, it is difficult to find a real, traditional and talented haute couture embroidery teacher. Luckily I found that teacher at Central Saint Martins Short courses. The learning environment at Central Saint Martins was fantastic and I’ve left the course with many haute couture embroidery techniques.

Rita Ceolato - Fashion Styling for 16-18 year olds
Rita Ceolato – Fashion Styling for 16-18 year olds

What’s your name and where do you come from?

Hi, I’m Rita and I’m from Italy.

You are studying Fashion Styling for 16-18 year olds this week, what made you choose this course?

I am studying Fashion already in Italy but I wanted to see the differences in teaching between Italy and London.  London is a very inspiring city to study in as there are such an eclectic mix of styles to see all around you. I’ve learned so much from this course and I want to return next summer to try out a tailoring or design course.

Nur Amani Marzoki - Service Design
Nur Amani Marzoki – Service Design

What’s your name and where do you come from?

Nur and I live between Malaysia and England.

You are studying Service Design this week, what made you choose this course?

I was involved in a project that delivers services to both supplier and clients, so this course was perfect for me. Service Design is a very fun and interactive course with a good balance between group activities and personal presentations. We learned numerous service design tools such as persona profiles and user journeys which will support me in my job. I am so happy to have found this type of course at Central Saint Martins, as I thought they only taught art and fashion. Thankfully I was wrong.

Megg Macedo Thurner - Fashion Design and Marketing
Megg Macedo Thurner – Fashion Design and Marketing

What’s your name and where do you come from?

My name is Megg and I’m from Brazil.

You are studying Fashion Design and Marketing this week, what made you choose this course?

As I am a Freelance Fashion Designer and Consultant, I wanted to learn more about the fashion business to help with the launch of my own brand next year, so this course was the perfect choice for me. I’ve learned so much about how a commercial collection works and all the steps we need to develop it. Most importantly I’ve learned the importance of being creative without forgetting about the consumer who ultimately will lead your brand. Previous to this course I studied Fashion Business Practice and Fashion Styling for Beginners and I wouldn’t hesitate to study another short course in future. I couldn’t be happier studying here at Central Saint Martins.

Julia Klokova – Experimental Fashion Drawing

What’s your name and where do you come from?

Julia and I’m from Kiev, Ukraine.

You’ve been studying Fashion Drawing for Beginners and Experimental Fashion Drawing Short Courses, what made you choose these courses?

I heard about these courses on Facebook and as I’ve been thinking about changing my career, I thought that studying some Short Courses at Central Saint Martins would be a good place to start.  Alexis Panayiotou has been an amazing and inspirational tutor and studying in the Granary Square building has been an inspiration in itself.  I feel like my drawing skills have developed quickly over these past few weeks and I’m happy that I can now draw without looking at the paper! I hope to study more Short Courses at Central Saint Martins next summer.

Caitlin Decker - Fashion Photography
Caitlin Decker – Fashion Photography

What’s your name and where do you come from?

Caitlin Decker from the USA but I’m currently living in Cambodia.

You are studying Fashion Photography this week, what made you choose this course?

I want to be able to photograph the clothing I make in an interesting and beautiful way.   Taking this course has taught me how to use my camera to its full potential and I’ve particularly enjoyed learning how different types of light work on bone structure and faces.  It has been fantastic learning from my tutor Leigh Keily, a true professional in the field and to also share ideas with fellow students who bring different styles and perspectives to the assignments.  London is an amazing city to study in with its wide variety of cultures, art and food, it is easy to take inspiration from everywhere. It feels like the city was built for creativity.

Simian Zhao - Art Direction for Fashion
Simian Zhao – Art Direction for Fashion

What’s your name and where do you come from?

Simian, I’m from China but currently living in London.

You have been studying Art Direction for Fashion, how has your experience been?

We have learned about the business side of the fashion industry and how to plan a fashion shoot from scratch.  This means considering everything from catering, to the weather, to basically everything! Our tutor Schelay McCarter is so well prepared, provides great guidance, and her advice on how to survive in the industry has been invaluable.  The Central Saint Martins building is breath taking and taking Short Courses that support my full time BA study at London College of Fashion has been such a wise choice.  I hope to take more and perhaps take an MA at Central Saint Martins in the future.  In London there is always something new to experience, be it a new bar, new exhibition, new restaurant, new event and I love that the city continues to surprise me.