Students inspired by architecture, moths and Barcelona

Issue date: 18 May 2009

Clare Hughes' - Urban Fabric Collection The wings of moths, the Moorish history of Barcelona and architecture have inspired students from the University of the West of England, Bristol who will be showing their collections at Bristol Graduate Fashion Show 2009.

The event features a catwalk show of contemporary women's and men's wear and a static exhibition which covers fashion illustration, photography and styling. The work includes knitwear, print and textile design. The Bristol Graduate Fashion Show takes place at the Passenger Shed, Empire and Commonwealth Museum on Saturday 23 May 2009.

The students' work will also be on display at Graduate Fashion Week, Earls Court, London (7 – 11 June 2009) an event which attracts interest from top names in the fashion business.

Adrian Grandon, Fashion Design course leader at UWE says, “There is an impressive vitality and range in the students' work this year. The Show is an exciting way to see some of the newest talent in the fashion business and to pick up on the latest trends. In recent years UWE students have won several major national prizes for their work and we have high hopes for this year's students.”

Recent awards include Joanna Wills who was named 'Young Stylist of the Year' at The Clothes Show 2008; first year Fashion Design Student Millie Gleeson won the River Island / Graduate Fashion Week Recycling competition in 2008 and knitwear designer Nick Thomas won joint top prize at River Island Graduate Fashion Week 2007.

Students showing their work this year include:

Clare Hughes (BA Hons Fashion and Textiles Design) has designed a women's wear collection 'Urban Fabric' inspired by the art and architecture of Barcelona. Vibrant colours such as cyan blue, tangerine red, sunflower yellow, orange, bitter chocolate and earthy bronze express the Moorish and Latin influences on the city. The silhouette derives from the Spanish Matador. Clare says, “Although characterised by a close-fitting, flat front the matador creates waves of volume and energy behind him using his cloak. From the front, my collection appears deceptively simple but as the model moves more dynamic and exciting perspectives appear. The collection includes a cyan blue coat in wool Melton, silk shirts and cropped Italian cotton canvas trousers. The prints are inspired by Islamic and Catalan mosaics. An all-over printed dress looks flat at the front but projects a column of pleats from behind the hips. Hats and headpieces complete the look. Urban Fabric is aimed at women aged 25-40, appealing to independent women with an interest in sophisticated design.”

Amy Cossins drew inspiration from the architect Santiago Calatrava and the shape of buildings such as the Sydney Opera House for her collection. She says, “A central theme of my women's wear collection is around a mixture of structured and draped fabrics. Against these bold silhouettes I have created detailed exquisite prints in sumptuous colours with palettes from autumnal to cool greys and bright yellows. During my degree I was lucky to do a three month placement with fashion designer Anna Sui in New York. This was a fantastic opportunity to get hands on experience in the fashion business, helping with fittings, hand sewing and beadwork, making patterns and sourcing trims, colour cards and fabric. I was also invited to help out at New York Fashion Week. After my degree I hope to be able to return to New York to gain more experience and develop my career.”

Third year Fashion and Textile Design student Lianna Sheppard has created a collection where many of the pieces are interchangeable and can even be worn inside out. Lianna says, “I was initially inspired by a love of shape and colour and I began by looking at simple geometric shapes such as the square, rectangle and circle, found in children's toys and minimalist art. I experimented with these in flat form and 3D, on and around the body, to create my designs. I played with the juxtaposition of draped forms with more structured angular pieces, as well as different fabrics and colours to create innovative pieces, with a focus on bold silhouettes and forms. Many of the pieces in my collection are multifunctional and interchangeable, mainly through the use of zips. Some can be worn upside down or inside out, for example. This concept has been a running theme throughout my work and something I would like to explore more in the future.”

Selina Bird, a Fashion Design student, chose to specialise in menswear and her collection features classic garments such as jackets and shirts, but with subtle differences. Selina says, “I wanted my collection to reflect how things are changing for men in contemporary society and this is reflected in fashion. One of my jackets uses a dusky pink, a subtle colour that leans a little towards the feminine, but is not overt. I have also created a jacket which reflects the more feminine shape and to suggest that these shapes can also now be chosen by men. Looking at pictures of my grandad I was fascinated by the clothes he wore, but it also made me realise that there are many more options now open to men. I am really excited about the idea of designing menswear because I feel there is the possibility of new ideas in fashion and new choices for men.”

Lois Porte is a Fashion and Textile Design student who has specialised in knitwear. She used clashing colours and complex knitting techniques, to create an original knitwear collection of garments including coats, jumpers and baggy trousers. Lois explains, “Initially I was inspired by insect vertebrae and then microscopic images of moths' wings in which I could see all the tiny details of fur and scales. I wanted the texture of my knitted garment to mimic these. One of my jumpers has wide batwing sleeves, and I used a knitting technique which created rows of complex loops in contrasting pink and lime green against a more subdued brown and blue background. I also use crochet extensively in my work. My ambition is to set up my own knitwear business and I am developing my own website to show my work.”

The Bristol Graduate Fashion Show 2009 takes place at The Passenger Shed, Empire and Commonwealth Museum on Saturday 23 May 2009. For further details see the : The Bristol Graduate Fashion Show 2009 website


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