London// Scottish Designer Showroom.

Some of my readers will remember this post where I discussed three Scottish labels having their first showroom during London Fashion Week.

Well, since we were in London anyway, Aymee and I decided to see if we could find it and have a look up close of some real design talent!

The showroom was lovely and cosy and one of the designers, Iona Crawford, had a chat with us as we admired the collections.

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IONA CRAWFORD

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Iona Crawford had gorgeous prints, they were very geometric and contemporary. Obviously check patterns are a huge trend at the moment, but she’s made the trend her own by disjointing the check pattern and marbling it. I think this makes the print a lot more flattering and wearable, as well as making something new and unique to her label. Kaleidoscope patterns also featured, as well as this too darn gorgeous scarf which was my favourite piece – it’s my favourite owl and it looks so grumpy and cute! You guys must know by now how much I love owls. Paired with quality finishing and a really flattering cut, the collection as a whole was really desirable.

 

BEBAROQUE
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Sparkles! Who doesn’t love Bebaroque? There were a lot of floral and baroque styles, which really complimented the materials. The collection was really girly and exciting. My friend Aymee, who is the biggest fan of Bebaroque (and gorgeous tights generally) I know, was so happy to see these designs, we both love what these girls are making.

BELINDA ROBERTSON CASHMERE

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Super soft, totally luxurious, the materials in this collection are of the highest quality and you can tell this is of the utmost importance to the designer. Beautiful black jersey pieces were perfect wardrobe staples. There were some lovely geometric shapes and quirky techniques there too to keep things interesting, but the real selling point was just how gorgeous everything felt!

The showroom is open until the 25th February. Special thanks to Iona Crawford for showing us around and letting us take photos.

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RGU Grays Fashion + Textiles Pre-Degree Show.

Congrats to the Fashion and Textiles departments at RGU Grays! The talented bunch put together a really intriguing pre-degree exhibition ‘Fabricated’, demonstrating what their final project outcomes for their BA Hons will be. The exhibition was really inspiring and I wish the best of luck to them for their collections. I can’t wait to see the final degree and fashion shows when everything is completed!

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Jessie White, Fashion Design, ‘Rebecca’.

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Kim Norrie, Textiles and Surface Design, ‘Underground’.

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Kaye Bonnar, Fashion Design, ‘Floral Facets’.

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Samantha Hair, Fashion Design, ‘Siren’.

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Stephanie Davidson, Textiles and Surface Design, ‘The Wanderer’.

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Jennifer Rowand, Fashion Design, ‘A Second Skin’.

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Suilven Hotson, Fashion Design, ‘Cut – Carat’

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Kathryn Fuller, Textiles and Surface Design, ‘Point, Line, Surface, Solid’.

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Laura Sherriffs, Fashion Design, ‘Neo-Apokalupsis’.

Celia Birtwell & Uniqlo Collaboration.

Celia Birtwell is nothing short of a printed textiles idol, which is why you should be as excited as I am at her new collection for Uniqlo!

Out on March 21st, the collection features archive prints that have been reworked for a contemporary look.

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Birtwell rose to fame in the 60s when she collaborated with her fashion designer husband, Ossie Clark. Known for crepe and jersey dresses, fans in the 60s-70s include Marianne Faithful, Bianca and Mick Jagger, Twiggy and Goldie Hawn. She has also previously collaborated with Topshop in 2006 with an 11 piece collection that quickly sold out.

Some favourite vintage pieces that really reflect the Ossie Clark-Celia Birtwell aesthetic:

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Celia Birtwell and her husband, Ossie Clark, by artist David Hockney.

New Designers Favourites// Sarah Rivett

Sarah Rivett produces beautiful pieces of embroidery by hand. Delicate and romantic, the pieces are very tactile and intricate. Time is a factor in her collection for so many reasons – not only do the pieces reflect a time of long ago, whilst remaining totally modern, they also take so much time to make. When you see all the stitch techniques she has used, such as satin stitch, french knots and bullion knots, you know it is not just an aesthetic you are looking at. You are viewing a beautifully, carefully crafted piece of work. Her collection and her methods are like works of art.

Early inspiration stemmed from embroidery pieces from the Victorian era. Rivett says “As I researched deeper into [embroideries] history it gave me a lot of insight into the significance and meaning of embroidery which compelled me to start my own embroidery work”. Challenging herself to learn the different stitches and techniques, Rivett’s work takes traditional methods and aesthetics and develops them into contemporary pieces. Researching 16-18th century jewellery pieces, woven textiles, Victorian era embroidery and the Haute Couture embroidery of Francois Lesage all influenced her final designs.

Her graduate collection, ‘In It’s Imperfect Setting’, came from studying the poverty that many female embroiderers live through today and throughout history. Those women struggled to keep the techniques of embroidery alive. An admirer of the work of photographer Tim Walker, she took inspiration from his images which Rivett explains “captures beautiful models in Haute Couture dresses against an ‘imperfect setting'”. These ideas came together and Rivett used these inspirations to create embroidery work “reflecting women of poverty who created beautiful pieces of work with their every stitch”, which are contrastingly intertwined with an imperfect setting to “capture embroidery and have it recognised as an art”.

Rivett used some thoroughly modern techniques of her own to convey a worn, deconstructed look. She used teabags and frayed the edges to make the pieces seem more vintage. This is combined with 1920-30’s era and an art deco aesthetic, adding another element to her work. It compliments her embroidery pieces and really enhances the glamourous, precious side to them. Golds and white were used to “capture richness and purity”.

Of course, hand embroidery is a very long process, especially when you are sewing to this level. Rivett found the pressure and time limit to be the most difficult thing about creating. She worried she may lost her creativity if she was to rush through her pieces. However, hand embroidery is definitely her passion. Rivett says “Since discovering my ability to embroider it has become a very important journey in my life in discovering who I am as a person”.

Rivett intends to continue to make individual, unique pieces to be sold. She wishes to continue designing, embroidering and to make a collection of accessories. She would like to create one off garments, for example bridal wear.

These images are all from the following website: http://deimantemeilune.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/fashion-shoot-in-an-imperfect-setting/

 

New Designers Favourites// Daniel McGeough

Daniel McGeough is a Scottish knitwear designer. Inspired by boats and sailing equipment, his final BA collection is a rich variety of textures that result in a strong collection with a minimal, geometric aesthetic.

Talking of his inspiration, McGeough says “The initial idea came from my love of traditional British Isles knitwear (such as Aran & Fair Isle knits) and how these ‘gansies’ were worn especially by fishermen & sailors around the UK”. This lead McGeough to research the boats these men would work on and to produce some beautiful photographic research. His photograph work took place in the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine (from where the majority of his research was taken), the National Maritime Museum and the Museum of London Docklands. He also visited various canals, riversides and docks in Scotland and London. McGeough says “I took photos of the interior and exterior of boats, sailing equipment and anything else relevant which I felt possessed interesting qualities”.

Using various collage and mixed media techniques, McGeough pieces together designs which are developed into small, experimental swatches. These swatches he then combines or enlarges and displays on the body, whether through illustration or mannequin. It is at this point that he manipulates weights through a trial and error process to see how different samples work together, or whether they are better on their own and unedited, before developing his most successful pieces in large scale. Colour was an important part of what attracted me to McGeough’s work. Colour was translated “from photo to collage, breaking down the proportions and combinations of colour (he) found most appealing”. Contrasting oranges and blues are weaved with pale greys and create a striking knit. McGeough attempted to dye the fabrics himself but, unhappy with the results, he bought the yarns instead, though he is not deterred from dying in the future. He uses a mix or natural and synthetic materials; merino, wool, cotton, silk, linen, mohair, alpaca, rayon, viscose and acrylic.

Primarily a menswear designer, McGeough feels positive about the menswear climate and displays real passion for pushing the boundary of the ‘traditional menswear designer’. “I think that the contemporary menswear market is a very exciting place at the moment with such a large scope of clientele that there is a niche for every designer and it would be a shame to change or adapt someone’s style to suit a male or female garment. I try to create fabrics which are different and unusual for menswear but at the same time are (hopefully) interesting and desirable”. When I ask him how important it is to him that his work is commercial, he responds “I didn’t intentionally set out to create pieces that were commercial with this collection, that just happened of it’s own accord. I wouldn’t say that producing a commercial collection is extremely important to me, I would just hate to think that someone would view my collection as boring and dismissible against someone who has produced work which is highly concept driven and a bit mental but ultimately unwearable”.

McGeough is job hunting at the moment but he is also looking to continue with freelance work. With access to industrial machines (including a domestic at home) and a “now ridiculously sized supply of needles and hooks”, McGeough is far from stopping. McGeough works both by hand and industrial machine (he can’t pick a favourite). He hasn’t ruled out doing an MA in the future, and hopes to produce a new collection soon and he wants to continue creating.

CargoCollective: http://cargocollective.com/danielmcgeough

New Designers Favourites// Dawn McColgan

Specialising in embroidery, Dawn McColgan is a textile graduate with a bold, geometric aesthetic. Her final collection displays a real love of colour, shape and pattern, applied to fabric with a unique tactile approach that really gives her edge. Inspired by the South of France and the distinctive architecture she researched there, McColgan also discovered in Monte Carlo the shapes and cool pastel colour palettes which would later provide her with a starting point for her project.

McColgan begins by using the collage technique before she creates pieces, allowing her to experiment with ideas on a small scale. Of this process she says, “As I specialise in embroidery, I feel that this benefits my design process greatly as my main focus is shape selection and manipulation.  Working in collage seems to begin my thinking and consideration of shapes I really like and want to use from an early stage in my projects, which definitely helps further on”. She enjoys the work of collage artists Jacob Whibley, Louis Reith and Tom Moglu, and though this is echoed in her visuals they are still very much her own. Underneath the bold style is a quiet romanticism and her collage pieces create a successful stand-alone body of illustrative work.

However, it is her embroidery that lets her really come into her own. Having been interested in the technique from a young age, McColgan has really had a chance to experiment and learn, especially in the last year. She discusses a technical file she built up of samples and time dedicated to “experimenting in translating techniques, using as many materials as possible”, before she astutely selected what worked and what didn’t. These small scale technical samples and collages are vital to her development before she upscales her designs. Sometimes, samples are developed from one another, creating different versions of one idea.  When I ask how McColgan decides on which textures work with each other, she says “I use whatever I am instantly drawn to from my research work and begin experimenting, and again, technical sampling is a great way to experiment in mixing textures, techniques and colours before actually producing finals”.

McColgan translates her collages onto delicate, sheer silk and organza. “As the shapes I am attracted to and like to work with are bold already, the subtle backgrounds seemed to be more appropriate, contrasting alongside my embellishment.  The sheers were also a direct representation of the muted textures of the buildings in Monte Carlo”. For her final collection, McColgan also used a variety of different materials, showing her passion for experimentation, including leatherette, beads, gros-grain ribbon, velvet, satin cord, silk/ viscose delta cord, silk georgette, lining fabrics and heavy cottons. Much of the process was done by hand. McColgan’s favourite embroidery technique is hand stitching, though she has also developed a love for hand beading this year, and she has dyed her own fabric. McColgan says “I always seem to like the intricate fiddly techniques best! I much prefer hand skilled work”.

Though this year she did not make fashion garments, she has had experience of fashion design in the past, creating a capsule collection for the Glasgow School of Art fashion show in her third year. Though I can see her work being used in interiors, I feel it would make a really successful fashion collection, as was its purpose. I enjoyed the small repetitive pieces, but I also love the underlying minimalism and the warmth from a colour palette that could so easily be cold. I appreciate that taking inspiration from a place is very difficult as the temptation is to translate it literally, but McColgan has worked and reimagined the shapes to suit garments so that it is not obvious where the inspiration came from, and the collection benefits hugely from this as it looks contemporary rather than tacky.

McColgan would rather re-make pieces than sell her collection which she has understandably become attached to. She is exhibiting her collection at The Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, so you can go see her work up close! She is also excited to complete an internship in London this year. I wish her all the best and hope she has a successful, fun time in England.

ArtsThread: http://artsthread.com/p/dawnmccolgantextiles
Tumblr: http://dawn-mccolgan.tumblr.com/
CargoCollective: http://cargocollective.com/dawnmccolgan

New Designers Favourites// Danielle Lisseman

Danielle Lisseman doesn’t graduate until September (well done!), yet she is already in the process of designing a collection of bespoke pieces to be sold exclusively online. With a keen expertise in digital print and a cool minimal aesthetic, Lisseman designs classic pieces that are constructed to last a lifetime.

It was Lisseman’s subtle but pretty butterfly print that first attracted me to her work. She is essentially inspired by her environment, from the grittiness of urban living to the organic beauty of insects. Lisseman admires the character of places “whether that be in the form of graffiti or from being worn down by the people living in or around it”. The combination of quality from the digital print technique and her skill in manipulating repeat patterns from street lights, flashes of colour and structures result in beautiful fabrics reminiscent of one of her greatest inspirations, McQueen. She has also experimented with laser cutting, a technique with the potential to “instantly change the whole concept”.

Though Lisseman stresses that she is a fan of vivid colour, it is the minimal, almost bleak black and white palette of her final collection that I find to be one of her strongest aesthetics. More subtle than her bold butterfly prints, her innovative use of pattern allows you to see animal skins and butterfly wings but is also demonstrative of a more contemporary vision.

My questions were based on the mistaken belief that Lisseman specialised in textiles. However, Lisseman specialises and wishes to pursue a career in the fashion industry, concentrating on the structure and quality of garments. She says “I will always be more interested in the fashion side of the industry and definitely see myself sticking with the fashion industry throughout my career. I am lucky to have the textiles experience for the future and it will always be a possibility to combine the two to create more bespoke pieces”.

I wish her all the best and look forward to seeing the sophisticated, chic pieces she is sure to design in the future.

Printed Textile Pieces.

I have some unused printed textile samples from my night class. I was inspired by the geometric shapes and optical illusion illustrations I found at Camera Obscura in Edinburgh. All pieces were made by hand. For some I hand cut paper stencils with a blade and others I painted a design directly on the screen using a screen filler liquid.

 

I love creating prints by hand because you just don’t get the same authenticity with digital prints. Every smudge and mistake gives the print an identity and personality. The blue smudges on the hand drawn prints are one of my favourite details. Sometimes a design calls for perfection, but I enjoy these pieces because they are imperfect and it means they are recognised as not being mass produced.

RGU Grays Fashion Catalogue.

The catalogue has arrived! It’s so exciting to think this chapter in my life is at an end. I get my results tomorrow, and before I know it I will have graduated. Having this catalogue feels like a souvenir. If you would like your own catalogue, filled with information on all the graduating fashion design students at Robert Gordon University Aberdeen, make sure you come to one of our fashion shows (tickets available here: http://graysfashion.bigcartel.com/) or the new designer exhibition this June! (More info here: http://www.newdesigners.com/).

The cover of our catalogue was designed by illustrator Libby Walker. You can find out more about her work here: http://www.libbywalker.co.uk/index.htm

Final Collection Photoshoot

My final collection for hand-in tomorrow. Here are my favourite images from my photoshoot – I kept the look clean and minimal, complimenting my final pieces. I also had to take these photographs myself, as the photography technician had broken her hand whilst skiing! This didn’t stop her being so helpful, and she showed me a couple of tricks and really built my confidence behind the camera. I’m also very grateful to my model, Joli Parker, who got exactly what vibe I was going for. I still have lots of work to do (tying up those loose ends!) but I will update you all further after my hand-in.