Technical perfection in core skills and workplace adaptability are the key lessons that Julie Kinsey brings to Fashion students at Harrogate School of Art and Design.
Julie entered the trade as a machinist in 1975 and has since taken the best of British manufacturing expertise and used it to educate students and professionals all over the world. There are opportunities, she says, there for the taking once her students have fully grasped the basics of fashion production.
“The basics don’t change,” she says. “To be able to design and make clothing, you need to know how to put garments together. But you also have to adapt to survive.”
Starting out working in Leeds factories that employed thousands of highly skilled machinists, Julie soon witnessed the migration of work to manufacturers abroad and the loss of skilled British workers.
So, she moved into training roles very early on in her career, and trained machinists to work in production lines, as well as for bespoke items, such as Burberry suits and coats.
She has been lecturing since the 1980s, most recently at Harrogate School of Art and Design (HSAD), on our Fashion Design and Production course.
“When I began teaching in education in 1986, I was running a youth training scheme to get skilled machinists back into the British manufacturing industry.”
She has trained teachers on an international level and has written a world-leading, garment construction design package for teachers in China and other parts of the Far East. Julie’s teaching model is still in use to this day in the Hong Kong fashion manufacturing industry.
She now makes sure her HSAD degree students get a good grounding in all aspects of fashion pattern and garment construction. Their work is shown regularly at HSAD and at other exhibitions such as the Knitting and Stitching Show, in Harrogate.
Julie continues to develop her own practice and research. She takes commissions for bespoke wedding dresses and is currently refreshing her knowledge of corsetry on a practical course. She builds and maintains connections to the fashion industry.
“I love to do new courses,” she says. “If I haven’t studied a subject for a while, I take a course to make sure I know what the latest practice is. Once I complete my courses, I take them further and expand on them for the benefit of my students.”