Featuring Final Year Fashion Design Student Sofi Lever

Tell us about your collection

My Graduate Collection titled ‚ÄúThe New Primitive‚ÄĚ is a contemporary womenswear collection, focusing on innovative textile techniques and intricate detailing. I drew my initial inspiration from George Orwell‚Äôs dystopian novel ‚Äė1984‚Äô, I was influenced by the concept of higher authorities watching and tracking movement of others, and how aspects of Orwell‚Äôs 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 Herv√© Fischer‚Äôs exhibition in Paris, whereby he responded to a variety of digital and binary codes through his paintings. The quote ‚Äúa 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‚ÄĚ 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!

Hannah Franks – Work in Progress

A snapshot of the latest illustrations by final year Fashion Design student Hannah Franks.

Fashion in Motion: John Alexander Skelton

The Victoria & Albert Museum’s next Fashion in Motion will feature the work of British menswear designer John Alexander Skelton on Friday 23 March in the V&A’s Raphael Gallery at 15.00, 17.00 and 20.00.

Skelton has been celebrated by I-D magazine as ‚Äėone of the brightest, boldest, and most strikingly original talents to come out of London’s fashion scene in recent years‚Äô. Skelton has a sustainable design ethos, he utilises recycled fabrics such as antique bed sheets and old grain sacks, often found in markets. He customises these materials through hand-dying, over-washing, painting and patching to create garments inspired by his research into the past, traditional craft, heritage and politics.

Unable to attend Fashion in Motion? Don’t worry, you can view his pieces at Dover Street Market London.

Year 1 Fashion Design Shirt Project _ Original Copy

Three-week design project introducing basic pattern cutting, construction and deconstruction/reconstruction in order to learn the process of make and the importance of analysing and understanding garment silhouettes, shapes, details, seams and finishes.

All shirts are made from reclaimed or vintage fabrics and garments.

Shirt by Joshua Woods

Shirt by Poppy Cordon

Shirt by Eleanor Swan

Work-In-Progress Fashion Show 2018

A selection of mid-year designs created by Year 3 Fashion Design and Knitwear for Fashion Design students.

   

Hannah Franks                                   Abigail Skrentny

   

Anna Bateman                                      Madi Weight

WSA Fashion Design Students Shortlisted for Diversity Now Competition

Three second year Fashion Design students have been shortlisted for the All Walks Catwalk, Diversity Now competition. Congratulations to Ning Kang, Abigail Skrentny and Holly Baxter!Abigail Skrentny Holly Baxter

Ning Kang

All Walks & Artsthread Diversity NOW Competition

Five Year 2 Fashion Design students have been nominated for the internationally renowned All Walks Beyond the Catwalk competition Diversity NOW in association with i-D magazine.

The competition is a perfect link with the Fashion Design Pathway‚Äôs vision of a fashion future, which, as the All Walks organisation states, “empowers and emboldens the viewer and the wearer, envisioning impactful, emotionally considerate, commercially relevant practice in all areas of the industry.”
The nominated students all¬†answered the brief by using their design to¬†‚Äústep¬†beyond stereotypes, redefine boundaries and celebrate a wider range of beauty and body ideals in age, size, gender, race and physical ability.”

Becky Chandler

The following words by nominee Becky Chandler (left) offer an insightful¬†summary to students¬†thinking behind their design¬†“The current Fashion industry is over saturated with models who emote a similar look and personality. Magazines process the same kind of person in every page. The lack of diversity is noticeable.” Becky continues “The industry is supposedly about role models and personality, but how can we aspire to be someone we have no common threads with?”
Abigail Skrentny
Ning KangNing Kang (image above), Becky Chandler and Abigail Skrentny (line-up above) were nominated in the Design category and Holly Baxter (bottom image) and Chiara Bradfield (image below) were nominated in the Illustration category. GOOD LUCK to them all!

Chiara Bradfield Holly Baxter

Lecture with knitwear designer and consultant Sophie Steller tonight!

Tonight’s C&E Lecture 17.00-18.00 in Westside Lecture Theatre presents Sophie Steller, Knitwear Designer and Consultant, http://www.sophiesteller.com/  talking about her experiences working with the Fashion & Textiles Industry.

Sophie Steller Design Studio
Sophie will talk about preparing a portfolio, professional profiling and what the industry is looking for in students and graduates.

The British Fashion Awards 2016

Last week four Fashion Design students were given the opportunity to attend the British Fashion Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The awards celebrate the best of British and international talent from the global fashion community.

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As part of WSA’s ongoing affiliation with the British Fashion Council, Programme Leader Cecilia Langemar and Senior Teaching Fellow Sophia Malig were invited to attend the awards. The students selected were Rose Appleton, Hannah Price, Sophie Lightowlers and Curtis Wu.

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