As a child, Jasmine Gilhooly always loved making things and exploring her creative side. Today she is a leading fashion designer whose CV includes working with Jimmy Choo and a Clothes Show young designer accolade.
Jasmine Gilhooly has always enjoyed exploring her creative side. “When I was younger I enjoyed making and selling cards to family and friends. One of my aunties was a design teacher, so I guess you could say it runs in the family.”
Jasmine initially enrolled on different courses and even worked in retail, but none of these felt right for her. In the end she returned to the idea of pursuing her passion for art.
But the path to finding the right course wasn’t a smooth one for Jasmine. She visited Banbury and Bicester College during an open event and she was excited about studying here: “I loved the different environment, longer days at college, being more independent, it was just like having a job.”
Jasmine enrolled on the BTEC National Diploma in Art and Design at Banbury and Bicester College. On her second year she chose to specialise in textiles, driven by her interest in mixing media. She particularly enjoyed exploring printing on top of fabric and then cutting it, adding wire and more to create imaginative and striking designs. This was part of a shift in her learning that had taken place at college, as she opened her eyes to other exciting possibilities: “I am particularly grateful to Frances, the textiles technician. She helped me learn different textiles techniques and encouraged me to try different things such as layering items.”
After finishing her BTEC, Jasmine discussed her career options with course staff, who encouraged her to go on to university. “I wasn’t sure at first, but I applied and ended up going. It was a great experience.” Once she graduated from a Degree in Printed Textiles, Jasmine worked as an intern at Jimmy Choo, before starting her own company as a designer under the brand D’Cruz.
Jasmine specialises in designing an eclectic range of bespoke handmade leather handbags, available for sale from her studio in Banbury as well as on her website. Her latest collection is a project inspired by architectural landmarks in London and Amsterdam.
She is keen to encourage current students to pursue their chosen career and regularly visits Banbury and Bicester College to take part in workshops to help inspire the next generation: “Studying at college opened doors for me. It is nice to have that connection back to where I come from. It’s good to embrace new talent and to bounce ideas off with creative young people.”
“I would encourage anyone thinking of studying at college to give it a go – you’ve got nothing to lose, and if you don’t try, you’ll never know.”