by Atena Ameri
BA (Hons) Costume Design and Practice
An industry placement provides the perfect opportunity to gain work experience and test your knowledge in the fashion environment.
We spoke with BA (Hons) Fashion Design with Design for Performance student Atena Ameri to learn more about her placement year at Birmingham Royal Ballet.
How did you find and secure your placement?
Birmingham Royal Ballet were looking for a student designer from the university and I replied to an email they sent to Claudia, who is a Lecturer at the School of Fashion and Textiles. I went for an interview and brought along my portfolio to showcase a variety of design work and garments.
Why did you choose to do a placement with Birmingham Royal Ballet?
The opportunity was too big pass up! I have an interest in theatre and always hoped to start my career here. Initially I thought the role was a little out of my comfort zone, I didn’t believe I had enough experience to be a designer for such a renowned company but I certainly didn’t want to miss out.
What were your responsibilities/ day-to-day tasks during your placement?
My role was to design the set and costumes for the new ballet ‘Arcadia’ by Ruth Brill who is a dancer and choreographer. I worked closely with her during the year, I sketched designs and built set models to show to the production team.
What did you learn from your placement?
I learnt so much, in particular about dance costumes and the technical side of them. I attended most of the costume fittings and tried to soak up as much as I could about designing for movement. I worked a lot with Elaine Garlick the head of costume who was able to offer me a lot of advice. I was also introduced to the world of set design, it was my first venture into this area and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process.
Did your placement give you a better idea of what you want to do when you graduate?
Yes, I definitely want to pursue more design roles but not jst in theatre I would love the opportunity to design for film and television.
What was the highlight of your placement?
Working together with all the creatives in the company and bringing the designs to life on stage!
What tips would you give to a student who is thinking about a placement?
Take any opportunity you can find even if it’s out of your comfort zone because that opportunity may never arise again! When going for an interview make sure that you show you have an interest in that company or in a particular project. I personally included extra pages in my portfolio related to ballet as I didn’t have anything that showed I wanted to work specifically in that industry. I really wanted to prove to Birmingham Royal Ballet that the role was perfect for me and they approved.