FRA Students assist on The X Factor
Our students have had the amazing opportunity of working backstage on the 2014 series of The X Factor. Yasmin Khraishi, Emily Tickell, Charlotte Young and Jana Ally have all been assisting Gemma Sheppard, Head Stylist with styling the acts before they face the four judges Simon Cowell, Melanie Brown, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Louis Walsh as well as a live studio audience and cameras that broadcast the show live on ITV every Saturday and Sunday night.
To be in with a chance of being selected our students had to go through an application process which started with them writing 400 words on why they wanted to be involved and what they would gain from the experience. The shortlisted 12 were then interviewed by Gemma and they were required to give a presentation on their inspirations. Gemma then chose the final 4 that would be assisting her over the live shows of The X Factor.
Read more about their experiences below:
“My X Factor experience has been amazing. I have gained such an insight into how a show like The X Factor works behind the scenes; so many people are involved in creating the show. My first week on the job was exciting! I was so happy to be going to the live shows and I couldn’t wait to find out what we would be doing at Wembley. It was really exciting having to pass all the paparazzi and fans who were waiting outside of the studio, someone shouted out to me and asked me what I was doing, I replied saying that I was part of the styling team and I heard all the girls go “ooooh!” It was crazy and made me laugh.
Once inside I was amazed at how small the actual live studio was in real life, on TV it looks so much bigger. I loved the costumes for Halloween week because some of the looks were custom made. For example, Fleur East’s dress and Stereo Kicks’ jackets were customised with their initials. I believe I have learnt a lot, I have more of an understanding of how the show works and what it is like to be a Stylist. I love watching what the Stylists put the contestants in each week and looking at an item of clothing and knowing straightaway who it would look good on. After 5 weeks working on The X Factor it has made me even more passionate about fashion and has made me realise how hard I need to work in order to get to where I want to be in my career. I extremely admire Gemma Sheppard and her amazing styling team because they all work incredibly hard and it shows through the clothing, it has inspired me to work even harder to achieve my goals. I have gained so much confidence by having this opportunity and I am so grateful to the FRA and Gemma Sheppard for choosing me and three other girls for this opportunity.”
– Charlotte Young
“When I found out I would be assisting at The X Factor, it completely shocked me but it was also made me very excited because it is not something someone at my age would usually get the opportunity to do. I also don’t know what I was expecting when I first started but it is different every week and I have really enjoyed it! On our first week we organised the hub, sorting out the office and the rails. Our Tuesdays consisted of doing returns and although returns isn't a favourable thing to do, it’s got to be done and it was quite beneficial. In doing so, I’ve learnt where different PR offices are and learnt about PR itself. I’ve also learnt how to get around London and by doing these returns I get to see more of London. I have also been introduced to a lot of new people in the industry!
Saturday and Sundays are the live show days and luckily I have had the opportunity to work both days. This is when we are in the actual X Factor buildings and we help out with wardrobe. We organise and clean the truck, sort out the clothes, steam clothes and make sure every things ready for the show. I’ve had the opportunity to meet all the contestants and most of The X Factor team. It is nice seeing how hard they work for what they want and it is a nice atmosphere to be around. I’ve helped make some mood boards and some hats for the violinists and also been given the opportunity to watch the contestants rehearsal which was exciting. I have also helped out with the suitcases which is taking them back to the hub with all the returns in it!
I do enjoy Saturdays being at the X Factor building and with all the contestants but I enjoy doing the returns the most; I like the fast pace and going to different places. Gemma also gave us a mini project to complete which was to design a dress - swing inspired for the song ‘Bang Bang’ by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj that Fleur East could wear. I did enjoy this, it was more like the work we do at the Fashion Retail Academy but in a real life scenario for The X Factor! I am very grateful for the experience and would definitely consider more internships in the future, it is an amazing thing to be a part of."
- Yasmin Khraishi
“I can happily say I have learnt so much about working with the wardrobe department on a show of such a scale. So far with The X Factor I have had opportunities to design outfits for the show, learnt the importance of returns, helped put outfits and accessories together, talked to contestants and also watched how dress rehearsals work. On Tuesdays we are based in the fashion hub where all the clothes and accessories are kept and on Saturdays we are at Wembley amongst the chaos that is the live shows. Gemma kindly put me with backing dancers because she understood that I enjoy avant garde fashion and this department gets the closest to that style. With them I get opportunities to construct garments and watch how they’re made. During the 5 weeks so far I have met some amazing people that have a real passion for what they do and I hope to be able to sustain my passion like that.”
– Jana Ally