Featuring Final Year Fashion Design Student Sofi Lever

Tell us about your collection

My Graduate Collection titled “The New Primitive” is a contemporary womenswear collection, focusing on innovative textile techniques and intricate detailing. I drew my initial inspiration from George Orwell’s dystopian novel ‘1984’, I was influenced by the concept of higher authorities watching and tracking movement of others, and how aspects of Orwell’s vision can be seen in modern society. I wanted to question the idea of whether we are becoming a complete surveilled state; and whether the result of the new digital age will cause our identities to be tracked and coded by binary codes instead of the qualities that make us human.

I was influenced by a variety of contemporary artists such as Nam June Paik, Stan Vanderbeek and Addie Wagenknecht who use themes of surveillance and digital technology in their work. I was particularly influenced by sociological artist Hervé Fischer’s exhibition in Paris, whereby he responded to a variety of digital and binary codes through his paintings. The quote “a return to painting is needed to withstand the dissolving flow of bytes by freeze framing. Like primitive man, I paint icons of the emerging digital age” was my initial inspiration behind my wish to reflect and develop the idea of having to respond to digital codes in an almost primitive nature.  I wanted to react to digital sources in a more organic way, by the use of traditional techniques such as, hand weaving and hand stitching. I tried to combine these traditional methods with innovative and digitally enhanced techniques to create a juxtaposition and give my collection a contemporary edge.

What were the highs and lows through creating your collection?

Initially I found the thought of starting my Final Major Project quite overwhelming, as everything I had learnt over the last 3 years of University had always led to this point. I was nervous at the possibility of not being proud of the work I produced, and worried about whether I would be able to deal with the pressure of creating a final collection.  Therefore, the first few weeks of FMP were probably the hardest in terms of feeling confident in the theme I had chosen. I struggled with finding a colour story that was interesting and reflected in my research imagery. However, once I was happy with this I was able to generate my ideas and textile samples quickly and started to see the beginnings of my collection take shape. As with any project there were things that went wrong at times during my FMP, often in terms of construction as I was determined to try to finish my garments as professionally as possible. I therefore had to problem solve and trial many finishing techniques which proved challenging along with having to deal with various time pressures and deadlines. However, the high points were definitely catching sight of my collection coming together and ultimately noticing how each outfit worked with the next. Some of the techniques I had chosen took me many days to produce, so seeing these slowly taking shape into a garment was really exciting. The main high point was definitely seeing my collection on the catwalk at the London show.

What have you learnt from creating it?

I think the main thing that I’ve learnt is that if you push yourself and work as hard as you possibly can you may well be successful in producing garments that would have seemed too overwhelming or challenging at first. I eventually succeeded in creating a collection with a variety of textile techniques such as hand weaving, pleating, hand stitching, digital printing and laser cutting all of which were a challenge and seemed daunting at first. However when you step back and just focus on each task individually it’s surprising what you can manage to produce within the time frame.

Any advice for students filling in your footsteps?

Push yourself and stay true to your brand identity! Your final collection is the last thing you will create at University so it’s important to be proud of what you have produced and be excited and confident about showcasing it to industry post graduation. Going that extra mile is most definitely worth it in terms of standing out among the hundreds of design graduates! For me, that meant dedicating time to create innovative techniques and textiles and spending time organising a photoshoot and fashion film that best showcased my collection and related to my overall concept and theme. I feel that the little extra touches such as a strong portfolio and a fashion film will really help when it comes to being noticed when applying for jobs as it shows that I have put thought into every aspect of the design process. Choosing a concept that you feel hugely passionate about and excited to research is very important, as, it makes the design process so much more enjoyable. Lastly, try to manage your time well and stick to the various deadlines and time pressures as this will help you keep on top of the large work load. Final Collection is the biggest challenge but also the most exciting one, enjoy it as it’s all over far too quickly!

The London Graduate Future Feast Fashion Show live on Vogue.co.uk

Another year of celebrating our talented Fashion Design and Knitwear graduates live on Vogue.co.uk See link below to the London Graduate Fashion Show at the Vinyl Factory on 23 May

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A selection of WSA graduate portfolio’s and garments are currently showcased at Graduate Fashion Week in London.

WSA at Graduate Fashion Week this weekend

Thanks to all that came to the Fashion Show in London last night, it was fantastic.

Behind the scenes shot of Odella Yue’s collection, who won the fashion award. The textile prize went to Knitwear Designer Suzanna James.


Make sure you visit our stand at GFW to see selected portfolio’s from our Fashion and Textile Design students.

Saturday 30th May – Tuesday 2nd June

Truman Brewery, 1 Hanbury Street, London E1 6QR

WSA student Eloise Lancaster featured in Vogue in the run up to Graduate Fashion Week

Final year Fashion Design student Eloise Lancaster is featured in Vogue as part of their preview article on Graduate Fashion Week. You can see the full coverage here – http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2015/05/15/graduate-fashion-week-preview/gallery/1399807 Make sure you visit the WSA stand at Graduate Fashion Week 30th May – 2nd June.


Round up of day four @ Graduate Fashion Week 2014

AWards GFW_stand




 #wsaliveproject_gfw #wsafashion,

Day three of Graduate Fashion Week

Another great day on the #wsa stand at #GFW. Press have taken a keen interest and Judges have been in the stand today.


@makefuture @sarahelwick @louisak_ @reesgeorgie


To see the latest Tweets: https://twitter.com/_MakeFuture

To see the latest pic’s inInstagram http://instagram.com/_makefuture


Update on Graduate Fashion Week 2014

Our #wsa stand has been buzzing today! As well as over the week-end! Lots of exciting work about, stand F25 (upstairs @ The Truman Brewery) #wsaliveproject_gfw #GFW Pop by and say hello.

@carmenlever @makefuture @cecilinternational @daniellelewis @makefuture_JW

INTERVIEW: JH Zane, Winchester School of Art Graduate and Fashion Designer

JH Zane Cover

GFW: How would you describe your aesthetic and what are the inspirations behind it?

JHZ: The core ideal on which I base my label, JH Zane, is on that of feminism. The typical JH Zane woman is honest, direct and contemporary yet still possesses a seductive nature. My design aesthetic is very androgynous, it is chic and quirky but with elements of practicality. I like my designs to mirror my ideal customer, straightforward and edgy.

I have three main sources of inspiration. In terms of the style of my designs I am inspired by culture, fine art inspires the fabrication and shapes within my designs and photography inspires the mood of my collections.

GFW: How was your experience studying at Winchester School of Art?

JHZ: Studying at Winchester School of Art provided me with the greatest experience. WSA does not have a very big campus, however, the facilities which it provides are phenomenal. During my degree, with the help of all of the university technicians, I was able to explore all potential avenues of fashion and textile design.

Although you cannot compare Winchester with London, it is one of the most beautiful, historical cities that the UK has to offer. Feeling isolated, away from the big crowded city definitely allowed me to be more creative.

GFW: How did your experience at university prepare you and help you to enter the fashion industry? 

JHZ: Whilst at university we had visits from guest lecturers who would share their industry experience with us as students and give us tips on how to face the real world of fashion. This contact with industry professionals helped me to gain in confidence as a designer.

I gained practical skills and had the time to experiment and use new techniques. Being able to utilise the universities facilities most definitely put me in a fantastic position to enter the fashion industry.

During my studies, I also completed a number of professional work placements, this gave me invaluable first hand experience of the fashion industry before I had even graduated, I would recommend work placements to all design students as it is these experiences that are so important when embarking on your own career.

GFW: Since graduating, how do you feel you have developed as a designer?

JHZ: I have realised that I wasn’t paying enough attention to the business of fashion. Once you become a real designer you immediately have your own business and you need to ensure that you get the balance right, both creatively and logistically. As I am a young designer I am still trying to find that perfect balance for my label, however I am confident that through my own life experience I will learn to get it just right for me, I am a strong believer in patience and persistence.

GFW: What advice would you give to anyone else looking to enter the fashion industry? 

JHZ: Confidence is the key to success. Do not easily compromise and never stop pushing yourself to the limit. Most importantly, be patient and never give up on what you believe in.

GFW: What does the future hold for JH Zane?

JHZ: At the moment I am concentrating on my womenswear collection and in a couple of years time as my brand develops I am hoping to launch a menswear line.

Interview by Charlotte Muscat, Contributor.
Images, courtesy of JH Zane.

Article from: http://www.gfw.org.uk/ 16 / 04 / 2014


Sharon Williams is the founder of UK FASHION INTERN


Sharon Williams is the founder of UK FASHION INTERN, a platform which provides current and free information on new internships and entry-level roles in Fashion. She interned through her BA and MA fashion degrees and hired interns during her years as a deputy editor at the world-leading trend forecasting service wgsn.com. In addition to running ukfashionintern.com and the Twitter feed @ukfashionintern, Williams is a senior teaching fellow at Winchester School of Art helping students to build a portfolio for their future career. Here, she imparts her knowledge on how best to make your email and online applications stand out.

to read more: http://www.gfw.org.uk/blog/student-success-making-your-online-applications-stand-out-with-ukfi/

WSA @Graduate Fashion Week

Fashion and Textile students at Winchester School of Art have been attracting the industry with their collections at Graduate Fashion Week 2013.