We set our clever first years a challenge to test their technical skills, focussing on working with jersey fabrics. The task was to create a jumper from socks. The exercise drew inspiration from a Martin Margiela project from the early 1990s which reflects his signature deconstruction approach to design but also references the wartime ‘make do and mend’ ethos, encouraging the development of innovative methods to create clothes with little access to materials.
For the fifth year running we have a finalist in the Fashion Awareness Direct competition. Charlotte Goodayle will be showing her work on the catwalk at London Fashion Week in February with the other finalists and for the judges to select the winner. The brief for this year’s competition was ‘ A Sense of Place’, finding beauty in the everyday and mundane. Charlotte took inspiration from objects washed up on the banks of the River Thames she sees whilst walking her dogs.
Being a third year, I guess you kind of feel that you are at the top of the food chain. You’ve spent the last two years learning and honing in on your craft, developing an aesthetic and working with the tutors and technicians. However, the Private View of ‘Cut to Suit’ served as a timely and humbling reminder to keep you on your toes.
Once a ubiquitous sight, the tailored suit is now fast disappearing from many workplaces and wardrobes, to be replaced by a uniform of denim and jersey. But far from being reserved solely for bank managers, ushers and funeral directors, tailoring can be innovative, cutting edge and directional.
The Fashion Design year O students jumped on the train to London last week and made their way to 180 Strand to see the Louis Vuitton Series 3 Exhibition.
The series 3 exhibition profiles Nicholas Ghesquiere’s autumn/ winter 2015/2016 collection for Louis Vuitton, as well as giving us a glimpse into the production of it’s iconic products. ‘ Series 3 is a sensorial journey, venturing deep into the designer’s soul and an artisan’s heart.’
Monday 21st September was the briefing to all Fashion Design students. Let the research begin!
First year students were given an impromptu homework task during the induction week – to make, customise or recycle a garment over the weekend to bring to their briefing. Here is a selection of the garments produced: a rag knitted waistcoat by Jeanette Carlton-Carew, fluro dungarees by Brody Randall, customised denim by Adeloa Elugbadebo-Solomons, lined jacket by Michaela Punnet and customised printed asymmetric shirt by Faye Cochran.
The first design project began with a Fashion Trail in Spitalfields, Brick Lane and Cheshire Street in London. During the trip, students sourced vintage garments that act as a starting point for their first design projects.
UCA Rochester had it’s catwalk show on day one of Graduate Fashion Week. The venue was packed to the rafters, clearly word had got out that it was not to be missed! The show profiled the work of twelve of our talented Fashion Design students amongst students from Fashion Textiles and Fashion Atelier. The collections were incredibly strong, showing a diversity of styles and really celebrating the individuality of our students. Our reputation for clever cutting was very evident but this year we have witnessed an emergence of amazing fabric development techniques and embellishment with innovative knitting, weaving, printing, embroidery and laser cutting.
On 20th May the whole of the Fashion Design team , staff and students, travelled to London to put on our annual end of year catwalk shows. For the first time students from years one and two showed their design work as well as the final year collections. The students did us proud! It was a fabulous event demonstrating the amazing talent on the UCA Fashion Design course. Year one catwalk included the live project for River Island which, considering it is the second project the students do, was really strong. They also showed the final project, ‘A Cut Above’, demonstrating some amazing design work and creative cutting. Year two showed the live project they had been working on for Nexy.Co, a high end Chinese design company. They worked in teams creating a mini collection each, which were a triumph of creativity and sophistication. The final year collections this year were the most diverse we have ever seen and as strong as ever marrying innovation, technical expertise and, for some, agreat sense of fun!
Printed tickets hot off the press for the UCA Rochester End of Year Show at Camden Town Hall on Wednesday 20th May. Tickets can still be purchased on our online store at £10 each and can be collected at the door.
For the past three months, year 1 Fashion Design Rochester students have been working on a live project for River Island. In December 2014, Knitwear Designer, Gemma Murphy and Senior Menswear Designer Blake Robson came to UCA, Rochester to present 11 trends across Womenswear and Menswear. Trends included Urban Provocateur, Francoise Cool, Glam Rock for womenswear and Rustic Workshop and Minimal Lines for Menswear.
The British Fashion Council organise an annual pattern seminar featuring inspirational cutters demonstrating their techniques. We decided this would be a great event for the budding pattern enthusiasts on the Fashion Design Course to attend so we invited written applications from any interested students. The lucky three to be chosen were Lauren Ward, Olivia Sketcher and Sophia Idreos who were accompanied by Kirstie Fannagan our new Junior Pattern Technician who graduated from the course in June. They all had a thoroughly stimulating and enjoying day and here is some feedback from them.
The students on the Fashion Design course get the opportunity to spend three months at one of our partner institutions either in Europe, Australia, India or Canada. We also welcome students to come to study with us on an exchange programme. Sophia Idreos, from the Australian Academy of Design came to study with us from September to January and kindly wrote the following blog post reflecting on the experience.
Fashion Design year 2 students recently began the design element for their Thinking It, Cutting It project, by completing a 2-day group workshop entitled Ready Steady Cut.
At the initial project briefing everyone was given a Designer label renowned for using experimental and unexpected approaches to design. Over the 2 days, the students worked in small groups united by their appreciation and understanding of the designer and faced the challenge of recreating an outfit from a selected image as a professionally finished toile.
At the end of the 2nd day, everyone took part in the voting to decide which group had best captured their given designer’s aesthetic. Whilst the results were amazing from all groups, sadly though there could only be one winner. Congratulations & well done to the Maison Martin Margiela Group … Georgia, Charlotte, Ilona, Alex & Natalie.
Fashion Design Rochester year 1 students are currently completing a live design project for River Island. As part of this, students have the opportunity to design either women’s or menswear for the brand based on one of the 11 pre-specified trends. The project began with a market and trend workshop, followed by a styling workshop, led by ex Liberty womenswear buyer, Alex Styliandis Mathie. Students were asked to bring in garments, jewellery, accessories and their camera to start their design journey.
We are very excited to announce that Katarina Lindell, a final year student on BA Fashion Design, has got through to the finals of the Fashion Awareness Direct competition. The brief this year was to design a ‘mini-collection’ of two outfits, menswear or womenswear, which explores the commonalities of physics and design. Students were encouraged to seek parallels with a scientist’s approach, to conduct their own experiments and to develop processes which provoke discovery and thought.
So knitting. Cool right? Said by no one ever under the age of 22.
When I think about knitting – something that I must admit, I don’t do very often – I imagine an unfortunate group of sagging single 50 year olds gabbing about cats, limescale and what happened last night on Coronation Street. Not really an image that many of us can relate to, or at least I hope not.
This week the 2nd year Fashion Design students played ‘Tailoring Bingo’ to test all their new tailoring skills (& try and win the tub of Chocs). 4 weeks into their tailoring project ‘Cut to Suit’ they have barely had time to draw breath.The aim of the game was to team up and cut 2 tailored jacket patterns with pitched sleeves and draped collars in 2 hours. The energy was electric – pattern paper, tape, students and scissors all blurring until suddenly BINGO was shouted by the winning team!
For their current project, Fashion Design students were asked to visit Brick Lane, Spitalfields and Portobello Market and buy a vintage garment that inspired them to develop a collection. Students chose an array of different styles and different decades and began by creating a concept wall to develop their ideas.
Fashion Promotion students are working on ‘Style: Past, Present & Future’ project that entails working in teams to research and shoot 4 fashion editorial images for a selection of fashion designers and brands.
Fashion Design Year 1 students enrolled on Wednesday and had their induction to Contextual Studies. In the afternoon, the students were invited to a creative workshop. Groups of 3 students were given a word and were asked to create an inspiration board that summed up their word. After completing the boards, all of the students were asked to select the correct word to each board. The words were: Intelligent, Poignant, Divine, Abstract, Tiny, Vivid and Civilised. The one with the most points won! What do you think the words were for these boards?
This year the second year students’ live project was in collaboration with international brand Hilfiger Denim. The Hilfiger Denim design team, in particular head pattern cutter Philip Merry, were very involved with the project from the outset, initially briefing the students via Skype, then visiting from Holland for both the fittings and the final assessment presentations. This was an invaluable opportunity for the students, who really threw themselves into all the aspects of denim design and production. They also embraced the ‘Hilfiger’ energy and lifestyle working as teams, producing mini promotional films alongside their group collections and developing innovative ways to cut and treat denim. Alongside their committed personal involvement, the Hilfiger team also supplied the students with raw denim, rivets and other trims in order to produce the collections. The project was a great success, with the Hilfiger Design team offering a summer internship to one lucky student who left for a sunny Amsterdam summer immediately after the project fashion show!
From September 2014 the Fashion Design course will be offering the opportunity for students to study on a year 0. This will be a specialist fashion focused preparatory year mainly aimed at applicants applying directly from school who are confident they wish to study fashion design and need to build up the knowledge and skills required for entry on to a BA programme. Year 0 will enable students to explore the creative design process through a series of projects that will encourage the development of a robust approach to research and design. The emphasis will be on exploration and experimentation which will push students creatively and give them the confidence and skills to undertake the rigours of the BA programme in subsequent years. Students will be introduced to methods of research to enable an informed and innovative approach their design process and will explore portfolio techniques to develop design communication.
It is now an annual tradition at Rochester for first and second year students to put on a fashion show at the end of the academic year and this year’s show was better than ever. Students from first year showcased both their live ‘Warehouse Project’ garments and beautiful draped dresses from the ‘Cut Above’ Project. The second years surpassed themselves, designing fantastic collections of casual product for Tommy Hilfiger Denim, which was their live group project this year. A new addition to the show this year were the ‘Fashion Design Rochester Awards’ with prizes being given for best sketchbooks, use of colour and fabric, Gerber, illustration, pattern, production and special commendations for attitude towards study. As always the show was produced, modelled, styled and promoted by the students themselves to raise funds for their third year graduate show. It was a fantastic evening, which allowed friends and family the chance to see excellent creative student work.
The Fashion Design course showcased the collections of some of the latest crop of talented final years students at Graduate Fashion Week on Sunday 1st June. The venue moved to the Truman Brewery in the heart of London’s fashionable Shoreditch this year, which was definitely a very positive move. The catwalk set was a bit of a nod to Tim Walker with a backdrop of the spines of giant sized sketchbooks, each labelled with the names of all the students showing.
This project began with a series of lectures to investigate the impact of Postmodernism on society in general and how this has influenced the world of Fashion Design. All of the Year 2 students were allocated a selection of designers who have used this influence to create very experimental design ideas. Using their personal research into each specific designer and the postmodernist principles they have used, the students experimented with more creative cutting techniques to create their own innovative contemporary range of ideas. The final results were really exciting and demonstrated how the students had come to understand these designers and their inspirations.