OPPO ‘Lens of Inspiration’ Winner Rosie Southerden on following her passion!!


Following the launch of OPPO brand-new fashion and design competition, ‘Lens of Inspiration’, where 10 selected designers go on a journey to uncover Britain’s next iconic fashion print. We sat down with their latest winner Rosie Southerden from Falmouth University to get an exclusive insight into one of the stars to watch for the new and upcoming generation of fashion designers.

Following her Passion

Rosie always loved dressing up as a child, she points out. Often putting on her own fashion shows for her family to watch. Going on to remember where at the age of 6, she found herself surrounded by a great wealth of books which she took to drawing sketches and fashion designs. “I vividly remember designing a penguin theme outfit, so I’m not sure how fashionable they were, but the imagination was definitely there!” Growing up in the Wiltshire countryside, she often found herself outside exploring the rural backdrop, engrossed in her imagination and conjouring up magnificant visions of building fairy houses, making natural perfumes and creating rubbings from anything she could get hers hands on from her garden. In addition to growing up with 4 siblings, the young designer found herself strongly impacted by their strength and creative endevours, ranging from woodwork; black-smithing; music and cooking. Allowing Rosie to see creativity from a much wider perspective, delivering concepts which she found to be more well rounded in their execution.

The Creative Process

She explains that whilst her creative process is never the same from project to project, one of the most crucial parts that she always tries to stick to is getting her inspiration from outside of the print design realm. “When starting my projects, I try not to look on social media at what contemporary print designers are doing, but instead go out into the real world, and get inspiration from nature, culture, music and current events”. In doing so, this has allowed Rosie to ensure her creative vision is truly authentic and unique.

Part of the “Lens of Inspiration” competition (finalists) involved having the incredibly opportunity to be mentoed by fashion designer Karen Mabon. For Rosie, she found this experience incredibly valuable in being able to talk to someone so experienced in the field of design. Going onto to explain how Mabon not only gave her loads of great pointers about navigating the challenging industry of design. The fashion designer was very encouraging about Rosie’s concepts. Challenging Rosie to push herself and really go for something that was outside of the box and would really showcase her skills as a designer. In addition to making Rosie think about the practicality and wear-ability of the garment, which led her to create something that was comfortable to wear but also interesting to look at.

Rosie explains how being a part of the OPPO project has been invaluable in helping her transition from university into the real world of design.It is so encouraging to know that my work is appreciated and understood by people other than my peers. I was honoured to be chosen as a finalist, so winning the competition has really boosted my confidence as a designer”

Choosing a Career in the Creative Industry

For Rosie, having a career in the creative industry was always an absolute must for her. However, she openly admits that she was never one hundred percent sure which route she wanted to take until she got to secondary school. Falling in love with fashion and textiles due the awe of seeing something on a real life garment that essentially came from your imagination for the fashion designer is incredibly rewarding.

She goes onto highlight how part of being a creative person is losing drive at some point in the process and going through the motions of thinking of new concepts. “For me, when I’m finding it hard to create, it’s crucial not to get frustrated or angry at myself, but instead have faith in my abilities as a designer and know that it is a phase that will undoubtedly pass. I try to stay off social media for a while and I find getting out in nature massively helps me, I often have my ‘Aha!’ moments when I’m outside walking or running”. She highlights the importance of making the most of any resources you have to your disposal. 

Referencing a wealth of design platforms and organisations now available to support aspiring student designers. She goes onto highlight how not being precious with your work all the time has really helped her to remain focused. Explaining that whilst having a finished and polished design is definitely important, allowing yourself to be experimental and messy along the way is when you learn the most and develop your own individual style.

Rosie’s short term goals are to carry on creating and designing for the love of it and to carry on developing her style and skill sets. In addition to building her brand Bubba Roso in the hopes that she can one day be self-sufficient with her brand alone. #watchthisspace