Blue Flower

FCE Listening Test 1 Part 4

Part 4

You will hear an interview with Pamela Green, a young fashion designer.

For questions 24-30, choose the best answer (A, B or C).

24 What helped Pamela to decide to become a fashion designer?

A working as an assistant in a fashion shop

B doing research into the fashion industry

C attending a course on fashion design

25 What does Pamela say about having a degree in fashion?

A It's essential for promotion.

B It's evidence of your ability.

C It guarantees you a better income.

26 Pamela says that when starting your own fashion label, it's most important to

A enjoy the creative process.

B contact shops that might sell it.

C have a business plan.

27 Where does Pamela usually find inspiration for her fashion designs?

A in the work of other designers

B in the styles of other countries

C in the clothes her friends wear

28 What aspect of her work does Pamela find most difficult to deal with?

A the pressure to meet deadlines

B the failure of some of her designs

C the need to attend fashion shows

29 According to Pamela, successful designers need to be able to

A predict future fashions.

B recognise all past styles.

C get their designs published.

30 What advice does Pamela have for people who want a career in fashion?

A Be aware of the options available.

B Don't be afraid of sudden fame.

C Learn from your own errors.



Test 1 Part 4

24. B

25. B

26. C

27. C

28. A

29. B

30. A

Interviewer: Hello, Pamela, welcome to the programme. So many young people want to be fashion designers these days, but don't know how to get started.

Pamela Green: Hi. I felt exactly like that myself! You must first discover if this is really what you want to do. I wasn't sure to begin with, so I started off by looking for a store in my neighbourhood that sold its own clothes. The owner invited me into her studio and told me what a typical day was like. She allowed me to ask as many questions as I wanted. Having made up my mind, I then contacted a few colleges to see what courses in fashion were on offer, and I was lucky to find one that seemed ideal.

Interviewer: So a degree in fashion is a must?

Pamela Green: Well, you often meet designers who go to college later in life, after years of working in the industry. The truth is the best students aren't always the best designers, but there's no denying that a degree will show that you've got certain basic skills and get you your first job. Don't be surprised to find colleagues with fewer qualifications on higher pay than yourself though. Making progress from that point will depend entirely on your personal talent.

Interviewer: What basic skills do you need?

Pamela Green: When you ask a fashion student what they want to do, they often reply 'have my own line'. Not an easy task, I must say. You need work experience first, ideally in a successful fashion shop, to understand that this industry is led by commerce. Starting your own line requires capital and a clear overview of how it's going to develop. Without it, clothes design can only be a hobby. Of course, if you've got an eye for colour, style and shape and an ability to draw, you shouldn't let go of the dream.

Interviewer: Where do you get the inspiration for your designs?

Pamela Green: To be a good designer, you have to be aware of the world you live in, you need to go out and look at people's lives and attitudes, you really have to learn how to observe what's happening around you. And I don't mean going abroad necessarily - my social circle is invaluable for me, for example - a constant source of ideas. You have to remember the clothes are not for you, you have to adapt to what other people want. And don't be tempted to imitate the famous designers, however beautiful their collections might look.

Interviewer: Now you're a successful designer, are things easier?

Pamela Green: It took me a while to learn to cope with criticism, though. You think your design drawings look brilliant, but you mustn't get upset if the garment doesn't look as you'd imagined it. What I've never managed to get used to is the sheer amount of work involved in finishing your collection well in advance of the season. Some designers stop attending fashion shows, for example, which involve lots of time-consuming travelling, but I'd be unhappy to give that up.

Interviewer: Do you have to do a lot of reading to keep up with trends?

Pamela Green: You have to read fashion magazines and other media that reflect current trends and tastes. It doesn't matter whether you want to use them in your own designs. Nobody knows what styles will be fashionable in, say, two years' time, but the point is you have to know just about everything that's been done before, so that you can spot it when it becomes popular again.

Interviewer: This is a very competitive industry. Realistically, what are the chances for somebody starting?

Pamela Green: Don't make the mistake of aiming just for designing outfits, which is just one part of a vast industry. You may be perfectly happy as an obscure but competent designer of small pieces for collections - jewellery, hats, shoes - all of which need to be created. And then somebody has to market them, sell them, write about them. Fame and glory is just for the top twenty world designers, and life isn't always wonderful even for them.

Interviewer: Pamela, many thanks.