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Metaphorically speaking, I seem to have hit that “wall” that runners get.

After all the excitement and adrenaline that was anticipating the photo shoot, I had every intention of keeping up the fierce momentum I’d sustained for the last few months.

Then, when you pause to have a breather, the sheer amount of work you’ve done, compared to what you still have left to do, hits you like a ton of bricks.

There’s four weeks to go until the catwalk show and industry presentation of our final collections. Fending off the urge to spend the week curled in a ball of denial, I take my time instead on the presentation boards. This allows me to paint in the sun in my garden, focusing on illustrations, range plans and mood boards, and apologizing in advance to my Future Self for not doing the trickier stuff.

Back at home for the week, my parents have been offering me tons of TLC and moral support in the form of enough home-made refined carbs to put an Oxfam care package to shame.

I even enlist my mother and my sister in a competitive internship scheme that in return sets them up with a lifetime of lace appliqué skill …  

Bryony unpicking and sewing at home.

Now just three weeks to go, and I am back in the sewing rooms for 13 hours every day, with an absolute determination to complete all the sewing by the end of the week.

Everyone is at different levels of their collections; whilst some are doing extra pieces “just for the fun of it”, others are still struggling to toile.

I listen as people get their collections chopped, changed and completely rearranged in tutorials, and in my own I am told again (with a worried tone) about the sheer volume of work the next the weeks will include for me.

I watch as faces fall and bottom lips crumble as students eye up others’ mannequins. The trick to surviving Contour: don’t compare yourself to anyone but yourself. Every single girl is talented, hard-working and successful to have made it this far, and if you get caught up in what someone else is doing, you will trip.

Getting home most nights this week at 10 or 11, only to stay up and cut out everything I’d forgotten, re-dye strips of elastic and relentlessly unpick everything that’s not perfect till about 3 or 4 a.m., only to get back up and do it all over again at 7.30. When it comes to 5 in the morning and the feral twitch in your right eye is getting the better of you, just ask yourself: What’s more important, one last strip of boning, or the ability to hold a conversation the next day?

In Contour, we are all in the same boat. Although everyone’s hours are different depending on the person, it’s fair to say we’re all fairly worn down emotionally and physically. Despite the collective lack of sleep, though, I get really, truly sad at the thought that our sewing conversations and Starbucks trips are coming to their end, too.

Final illustrations for Bryony’s grad collection.

NEXT: Deadline Week

[Editor’s Note: The Contour Fashion program at De Montfort University wraps up with the annual student catwalk show in London on June 7.]

One Response to “All In The Same Boat: The Secret To Surviving Lingerie Design School”

  1. Chris says:

    As an online designer lingerie store it’s always great to see new talent changing the industry with innovative designs and fresh fashion.

    From all the team at Simply Beach.

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