Patrick McDowell’s Advice for Young Designers

This week, on the Clothes & The Rest podcast, I chatted to Patrick McDowell about up-cycling, sustainability, and creative education. Just one year after graduating, his creations have been worn by singers like Rita Ora, and have been featured on the cover of Elle’s sustainability issue, so here, he shares what’s he has learnt from his first year as an independent designer…

“Take time to experience things. You don’t have to rush through everything. It’s something we learn in education that I don’t think is true; you don’t have to rush just to get to the end. You can take time off to do something other than work.

“Enriching your environment by doing different things will make your brain better. If you’re only sitting at your desk working all the time, you’re going to do bad work. It’s a fact. So get out and do stuff! Don’t be a martyr to your work; people don’t like that anymore. Go out and see things.

“New experiences are always enriching, so when you do go out, don’t go the place you went last time, and order the thing on the menu that you’ve never tried before. If you don’t like it, you eat three meals a day so it’s fine, you can have another one tomorrow morning!

“Sometimes it can feel like money is the biggest obstacle, but it will only make you stronger if you have financial struggles and produce great work. All you’re doing is working harder. If you’ve got less money and you’re still doing good work, you’re already miles ahead of other people.

“In my experience, it pushed me to be more creative. It builds everything, actually. If I had bought everything from a shop, I would never have spoken to anyone, or made the contacts I now have. I wouldn’t have applied to a scholarship with the British Fashion Council if I didn’t need the money, but it completely made me as a designer.”

For more from Patrick, please follow him on Instagram or visit his website.

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