Graduate = Survivor [ENG] & [RO]


I am going to start this blog post by bragging with the fact that I can (finally) call myself a Fashion Design Graduate!

It was a long and rocky way. In the last four years, I experienced from tears of sadness to tears of happiness and all the other feelings in between.

I want to structure this post in a way that the future students, parents and tutors can understand what being away from home in a completely different country really is like.

I will start with my own experience at Coventry University – I want it to be clear that this was my own experience and it does not have to be yours.

Four years ago, when I decided to move here, it all seemed like a joke but I can blame it on my age. New city, new people, fresher’s week, everything you get as info in the induction pack. When it all calmed down and I realised that I was in the point where I had to put myself together and go to the dull workshops from 9 AM to 5-6 PM, four days a week. In my first year, I only recapped the technical things I already knew and I did in high school.

It was a good experience.

The calm before the storm to be more specific.

The 2nd and 3rd year was more about the marketing, advertising and the insides of the industry. And the 4th year nearly killed me – literally.

The last year of university I can only describe it as an organised mess. It was so easy to get lost under the pressure of the deadlines every week while having to deal with some personal issues, a social life, being creative and technical in the same time just so I can finish my Final Collection.

I will not complain or act as a victim but sometimes you do feel overwhelmed, you just want to give up everything and get a job in a warehouse that will pay your monthly bills – that was my thought every morning when my alarm went off. But you always need to remember why did you started in the first place. That was what kept me going. I did have some support from the tutors, but no compassion and I cannot blame anyone for it, but myself, just because getting a degree was my choice and I have found out later that university is not for everyone – we started as 58 students and we made it to the graduation only 23.

This four years shaped me as the person I am today and everyone is the sum of experience, joy and pain that we have been through.

Being able to think out your spending money, time and energy just enough to survive comes as a bonus when you see your mother’s smile and you find yourself shaking the hand of the dean while he hands you the piece of paper that has written the last four years of your life in sweat, blood and tears.

And yes, it was all worth it! I don’t regret anything, but if you decide to study away from home you do need to be expecting all kind of attitudes – discrimination, indifference and appreciation – sometimes all of them in only one hour of workshop.

I am thankful for… to be honest myself in the first place – cheesy, right?! – my family and friends. I made it and now I am ready for the next step.



O sa incep aceasta postare prin a ma lauda cu faptul ca (in sfarsit) ma pot numi  absolventa a cursului de Fashion Design!

A fost un drum lung. In ultimii patru ani, am experimentat de la lacrimi de tristete pana la cele de fericire , impreuna cu toate sentimentele cuprinse intre ele.

Vreau sa structurez aceasta postare intr-un mod prin care viitorii studenti, parinti si profesori pot intelege ceea ce implica  si ce inseamna sa studiezi departe de casa, intr-o tara complet diferita.

O sa incep prin a impartasi experienta mea ca student la Universitatea din Coventry – Intregul continut se refera strict la propria experienta care nu trebuie interpretata ca o experienta standard si nu inseamna ca  altcineva o sa aiba parte de o experienta similara.

Acum patru ani cand am decis sa vin in Coventry, am inceput prin a lua totul in gluma, insa prefer sa dau vina pe varsta respectiva. Un oras nou, oameni noi, fresher’s week – saptamana dedicata studentilor nou veniti, exact cum iti este descris in brosura de prezentare a universitatii. Cand totul s-a calmat, am realizat ca trebuie sa ma motivez si sa prind ambitie ca sa merg la cursurile plictisitoare de la 9 AM – 5-6PM, patru zile pe saptamana. Primul an de facultate a fost doar o recapitulare a aspectelor tehnice pe care le stiam din timpul liceului.

Calmul dinaintea furtunii ca sa fiu sincera.

In urmatorii doi ani, cursul s-a bazat pe publicitate, studiul pietii si studiul industriei. Ultimul an de facultate m-a ucis – literalmente.

Ultimul an de facultate il pot descrie  cel mai bine ca o dezordine organizata. Ar fi fost atat de usor sa ma pierd datorita presiunii si termenelor de predare a proiectelor saptamanale. In timp ce treceam si prin anumite probleme personale, incercam sa pastrez o viata sociala, trebuia sa fiu creativa, sa ma ocup si de partea tehnica a colectiei de final in acelasi timp.

Nu o sa ma plang si nu o sa ma victimizez, desi uneori eram atat de aproape de a renunta la tot si a-mi gasi un loc de munca intr-un deposit care sa-mi plateasca cheltuielile lunare – lucru la care ma gandeam deseori dimineata cand imi suna alarma sa ma trezesc.

Trebuie sa-ti amintesti mereu motivul pentru care ai inceput.

Am primit suport din partea tutorilor dar niciun fel de compasiune si nu pot sa dau vina pe nimeni altcineva in afara de mine pentru acest lucru, deoarece a fost alegerea mea sa obtin o diploma; am aflat totusi destul de tarziu ca nu toata lumea trebuie sa aiba o diploma universitara – iar faptul ca am inceput 58 de studenti in primul an si am ajuns sa absolvim doar 23 demonstreaza exact situatia.

Acesti patru ani m-au format in persoana ce sunt astazi, iar orice persoana este suma experientelor, bucuriilor si durerilor prin care a trecut.

Ajungand in stare sa imi impart banii, timpul si energia intr-un anumit fel in care sa reusesc sa supravietuiesc a venit ca un bonus in momentul in care am vazut zambetul mamei mele si am strans mana decanului care mi-a inmanat diploma de absolvire pe care erau scrisi ultimii patru ani din viata mea cu sudoare, sange si lacrimi.

Si da! A meritat! Nu regret nimic, dar daca vrei sa iei decizia de a studia in strainatate, departe de casa trebuie sa te astepti la cele mai diferite atitudini – discriminare, indiferenta si apreciere – cateodata toate intr-o singura ora de curs.

Sunt recunoscatoare…  sa fiu sincera, mie in primul rand –( destul de siropos, right?) – familiei si prietenilor. Am reusit si sunt pregatita pentru urmatorul pas.



Ioana A. Cimpean

Fashion Design Graduate


Project Proposal – Final Major Project

Good morning!

After a sleepless night writing I have finally finished my project proposal for my collection. It’s been a long night, really hard to resist watching my cat cuddling between my pillows in my bed, but with the right amount of coffee I managed to finish it.

Time to take a shower, have another coffee and I am off to uni!


“A man who is not a communist at the age of 20 is a fool”

Yair Lapid

My target for my final major project is to create a number of garments inspired by the communism in Eastern Europe and the impact that this regime had on people, combining it with the Sacred Geometry, a concept that was prohibited at that time.

Communism was about restraining the freedom, creating and keeping everyone under the same pattern, the working class was under a strict surveillance that was neutralising any attempt of individualisation.

Apart from the appearance and any personal style, another thing being prohibited was religion or any other personal beliefs regarding divinity.

In the Eastern countries the communist regime had a great impact and even after more than 20 years the influence of it remains present.

Growing in a post communist country had a big impact on me as an individual and from my experience I know that sometimes this concept is misunderstood this is the reason I want to renew it and bring it back under an updated structure.

My concept revolves around the idea of combining the cold and dark illustration of communist buildings with the magical and divine interpretation of the Sacred Geometry.

Since the communist buildings instil a monumental, oppressive and cold feeling, the warmth and glow of the sacred symbols associated to the Sacred Geometry are enhancing the monochrome idea but softens it in the same time; combining it with certain geometric shapes that have a sacred meaning will be my way of presenting it and bringing it back to attention for the young audience today under an updated and enhanced form.

The type of individual and my targeted audience I am aiming to design my collection for are men and young men that adopt a minimalist, sober and dark but clean look.

My collection is dedicated to a specific type of person that is broad minded and restrained in the same time.

The sobriety is represented by the coldness of the communist buildings and the open minded, self improving side and psychological side being represented by the colourful details of the Sacred Geometry.

There are a number of designers and companies that I use as inspiration for specific parts of their work. One of the designers that I can relate in terms of style, customer profile and marketing campaigns is Alexander Wang. The targeted audience is similar to the one I am aiming to, his Fall 2014 campaign is one of the campaigns that inspired me the most and

this certain campaign represents exactly the type of individual I am targeting in my collection.

Ichiro Suzuki is another designer that inspires me with his way of constructing and manipulating a suits shape in terms of tailoring, patterns and prints.

In terms of tailoring and commercial fashion, Tom Ford’s clean cuts and patterns are an important influence for my designs.

As for the manufacturing and part of my collection I am planning to keep the designs simple, straight and structural. For the details I want to use colorful embroidery, trims and finishes.

The concept itself is a clean and simple one. I will not be using prints, but I will try to find fabrics that replicate certain textures (concrete, metal, glass).

I am working out to design and create very well tailored and perfectly fitted pieces, embellished with embroidered geometric shapes in certain sides of the garment.

Besides the fact that I come from a post communist country, my main idea for this project commenced during my placement where I have worked with pattern cutters with over 20 years of experience in the industry and I want to apply and improve my skills that I have gained during this internship, this collection being a challenge for me as I want to produce some perfectly fitted garments.

The place of my internship had an important role for me into choosing this theme. Over 60% of the buildings in Bucharest were build under the communist regime and living there during my placement inspired me to create something related to this subject.

As primary research I visited many communist buildings around Bucharest and The National Museum of Art and I am planning to continue my research about communism and the Sacred Geometry (books, magazines and blogs). I will toile as many garments as possible because I want to work more on the mannequin, this very challenging for me as I usually design on paper and I want to develop the ability to experiment and design more on the stand.

Regarding the details inspired by the Sacred Geometry I researched trend reports and colour predictions on the WGSN website and I am leaning towards the colour of the year – Pantone Greenery 15-0343, which I have researched further, green being the colour of life symbolizing the renewal, growth and ambition.

What I want to achieve with my collection, concept and by bringing back the communist times under an updated form is to prove that any negative element can have a beautiful side and I want to translate it into the clothes I make, the exact way I see it.



Wish me luck!


Ioana A. Cimpean

Summer Holiday in Romania

As probably everyone knows, I am Romanian and as I said in an earlier post, I will spend the summer in my home country doing an internship. I packed everything, I’ve sent 120 kg of clothes earlier this week to Romania, I left my baby (my cat) at one of my friends place and I am all ready to go. I am overly excited so I probably won’t be able to sleep tonight.

Ioana C.

Puffy Skirt – Summer Outfit Inspiration

Good morning everyone!

I have just finished a summer outfit  that I had on my wishlist for a while but I never had enough time or the right fabric to do it.
I recieved a fabric few weeks ago as a present and I never thought I would use it, but because I was sooo bored while my boyfriend was away for a week, that I’ve decided to get creative.
I used around 4 metres of fabric for the skirt as I wanted it to be a big volume. The matching top is a actually a simple pattern made out a beautiful fury beige fabric with a small detail made out the same fabric as the skirt.
Yestarday I did a photoshoot wearing just the skirt, a denim shirt and some simple black sandals.
It’s an alternative way of wearing a puffy skirt to make the outfit a bit more casual.








Grey denim shirt – H&M
Light blue with gold details skirt – my own design (available on different colours – orders via e-mail)
Black strappy sandals – Giuseppe Zanotti


Label samples

Today I received my sample labels from Beautifully British Labels. I wasn’t sure what design will work the best so I requested this samples 3 days ago. First of all the company is amazing, they sent them over in less than 3 days.
This is the envelope I recieved


I opened them all on and now it’s even harder to decide which one I like the most


I managed to narrow down to top 3 but I still can’t decide…


Some help? Opinions?

Ioana A. Cimpean

Black and Grey obsession [Ro & Eng]


Buna dimineata!

Nu cred ca mai este nevoie sa mai mentionez ca eu personal am inspiratie si ma concentrez mult mai bine in timpul noptii. Aparent se numeste: “Nyctophilia”.

In aceasta seara planuiam sa vizionez “Dior and I” (Un documentar din 2014 cu niste reviews foarte bune). M-am decis sa intru pe aplicatia Pinterest pana cand se incarca filmul. Nu a fost cea mai buna decizie, avand in vedere ca am uitat de film si am petrecut 3 ore dezvoltand o noua obsesie.

Negru in combinatie cu gri.

Mereu mi-au placut tinutele “all black” si am mai purtat negru in combinatie cu gri intr-o tinuta, dar simt ca in aceasta seara ceva s-a schimbat.

Combinatia aceasta de culori, in opinia mea, este extraordinara. Alb si negru intr-o tinuta casual de zi este putin plictisitor uneori, iar pentru a purta ceva alb, un top, camasa, pantaloni sau fusta si in special o rochie alba este destul de complicat si greu de intretinut o zi intreaga fara a se murdari. Sunt studenta si in viata mea de zi cu zi, printre intinsul pe jos prin studiourile de la facultate, cafeaua take away din autobuz, caietul de schite A3 si geanta imensa care nu lipseste niciodata, este destul de greu sa strecor si o piesa alba in tinutele mele, fie ea bluza/camasa sau pantaloni albi.

In cele 3 ore petrecute pe Pinterest am salvat si selectat cateva imagini pe care le-am combinat in tinute, care mie imi plac foarte mult. Sper sa va placa iar daca aveti sugestii sau intrebari ma puteti contacta pe e-mail sau in comment box-ul din josul paginii.



Good morning everyone!

There’s no need to say that I have inspiration and  I focus better during the night. Apparently it’s called “Nyctophilia”


I was planning to watch “Dior and I” tonight and I decided to browse some random images on Pinterest while my film was loading. That was a bad move! I spent 3 hours on Pinterest and I developed a new obsession.

Black and grey.

I loved all black outfits for a while now and I did wear black and grey outfits before, but tonight something bigger happened.

I think the colour combination is brilliant. Black and white is quite boring in my opinion right now and wearing something white, a top, trousers or skirt and especially a white dress can be quite hard. I am a student and in my daily routine of crawling on the floor in the studios, having a take away coffee in the bus or walking while I carry my A3 sketchbook and usually a huge handbag, there is no way I could wear a white top or some white trousers. A black and grey outfit can easily replace a black and white outfit.

I gathered some style inspiration images and from tomorrow I might be wearing this colour combination for a week or so.


Milles shoes – Asos
Cluse watch


Zara boots
Mansur Gavriel – Lady Bag


Sole Society – Tote Reversible Campbell Bag
Valerija Kelava – Cerutti
Adidas – City Series – Black Velvet

Hope you guys like the outfits I tried to put together in these pics.
If you have any suggestions or questions please leave them in the comment box or e-mail me.



Final assessment

I have officially finished with my last uni assesnent for this year! One hour ago I had my final assessment and I can actually say that hard work pays off.
After handing in my portfolio and my sketchbook and after quite few sleepless nights I wasn’t able to analyse everything as I wanted to.
I got to uni around 9 o’clock today and by mistake I found out that my live session with my tutors was scheduled for today, not tomorrow. There was a small error in the system but I was lucky enough to be around as I was planning to do some adjustments on some clothes.
I think I have never been so proud about a project I’ve done ( I’m always saying this…)
I didn’t get any negative feedback and my tutors gave me some very useful feedback.

Now let’s just wait for the grades! 😀

This is all for now, but I will come back with a post about an amazing jacket I’m working on right now!

Ioana A. Cimpean