Fifth Former Maybelle Rainey writes:

On Thursday evening, at the Art Talk, my uncle Gawain Rainey spoke about art in the fashion world. His company Image Partnership has over 20 years of experience producing fashion shoots and films and is also an agency representing some of the hottest artistic talent in fashion. He has worked with a glittering array of  top names in fashion, including Burberry, Vogue, Fendi, Prada  and Stella McCartney to name a few. He and his teams create exciting content for these brands in a number of different media: advertising, flim, editorial shoots and animation as well as the production of fashion shows. In his agency books, he has gathered a broad range of talent to make this possible – directors, photographs, set designers and makeup artists.

During his chat, Gawain went through, layer upon layer, all of the different departments and skill teams he puts together to create this magic. On just one fashion shoot, there can be as many as 35 people on set, aside from the model and photographer, to assemble the final product. Teams of set designers, stylists, make-up artists, lighting crews, catering and assistants are all pulled together by production (ie. Gawain) to create the precise look that the client desires.

Gawain grew up in the Welsh countryside, the second youngest of a bustling and bohemian family, driving tractors and running wild on the hillside, about as far from the world of fashion as you could imagine. However, his father had a seminal clothes shop on London’s Kings Road in the sixties, called “Hung on You”, dressing the Beatles and Rolling Stones, and his mother Jane, now a very successful interior designer, was considered a style icon of that decade. So although he had a fairly wild country upbringing, it is clear that fashion and design run in his blood.

Like me, Gawain is extremely dyslexic, but unlike me, there was little support within schools at this time, and he abandoned formal education at 15 and got a job, determined to get going.

He spoke of how he started as a photographer’s assistant, which mainly involves carrying photographic equipment and running errands, but showed him the ropes of how a set ran. Through working consistently and determinately, he built up a base of contacts within the industry, some his age, starting out, who were soon to be household names.

In his chat, Gawain stressed that although there are many amazing courses now in fashion colleges, it is also possible to climb the ladder in this world by just getting out there and getting work experience. Whichever route you take, though, it requires true hard graft, determination and a belief in one’s own personal ‘look’. The fashion world is famously hard to crack, but again he stressed that consistent hard work carries you forward.

I have a boundless admiration for Gawain’s achievement in having built such a successful business- what an inspiring and interesting talk! If you want to see more about his company follow this link.