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Emma Karlsson, a BA (Hons) Fashion Design student graduating from Solent University, Southampton, has been praised for designing a stunning collection, inspired by her mother’s journey with cancer.

10th July 2024
FashionHomepage - News - Standard

Emma Karlsson, a BA (Hons) Fashion Design student graduating from Solent University, Southampton with a First, has been praised for designing a stunning collection, inspired by her mother’s journey with cancer.

Created for her Final Major Project (FMP), Emma, who is from Sweden and came to Southampton to study, is graduating in July alongside more than 2,500 students.

Emma has overcome personal challenges to thrive in the final months of her third year at Solent, producing a collection that resulted in the young designer being selected as one of five students to appear in popular fashion magazine, Drapers.

In the magazine’s feature, Emma was spotlighted as one of the country’s brightest new talents in fashion design. Emma caught the magazine’s attention during Graduate Fashion Week’s Talent of Tomorrow photoshoot – an annual celebration of graduating talent in England.

A shot of Emma’s collection was featured as the cover image on the Drapers website, which she calls ‘a dream come true’.

Speaking about her path to creating ‘Co-Dependence’ - a fashion collection for FMP at Solent, Emma says:

“During my final year at university, I went home to Sweden to see my mum, who was going through chemotherapy at the time, and I realised how dependent we can become on the people around us. I started to see that dependency mirrored in nature, often in a co-dependent way – such as the symbiosis between fungi and trees – and I wanted to create a sense of that delicate yet strong connection using lacey knits, felting and connecting ties.”

Emma, who is 22, credits the teachers, services and support staff at Solent who helped her to succeed during a challenging time, saying:

“At the start of my last term, I had a lot going on. My mum was still in treatment and my FMP needed to be done in just a few months. I turned to the mental health team at Solent, and they gave me helpful tools to help manage my anxiety; I was given a social prescription for the University gym, which helped me to disconnect and focus on myself. My teachers at Solent have supported me the most, giving me new ways to think about things.”

Solent is passionate about nurturing students to uncover their talent, giving them the skills they need in the competitive world of creative industries. The value of a Fashion Design degree for Emma?

“A University degree gives you a new depth of knowledge that not only looks good on a resume, but also helps you be more confident in your own skills.”