Friday, 29 October 2010

Interviews from designers involved in Nottingham Makers Fashion show at Gatecrasher

Backstage at the Nottingham Makers fashion show at Gatecrasher, whilst a were getting changed and made-up, Fashion Strand interviewed the designers behind the garments...

Decorative arts graduate from Nottingham Trent, Laura Smedley, tells us how she manipulated her skills to fulfill her love of fashion.

What was your inspiration for the collection?
The garments are actually a pick from my degree show. During the course we looked a lot at fashion in stability which is why all my illustrations are screen-printed with natural dyes. Two years ago I actually lived in New York and simply fell in love with the architecture. My aim is to highlight the contrast of the graphic prints with natural dyes.

What's the next step for you as a designer?
I'm actually being helped to set up my own business model. I'm researching to find out my target audience, at the moment I'd pinpoint it at women aged 25-30. However a while ago I participated in a trade fair in the Victoria centre and I was surprised as boys seemed to take a liking to the prints too.

What's your favourite fabric to work with?
Silk - a nightmare but I love it. It takes dyes really well.

Regenerate clothing showed us how the brand is evolving into a whole new direction.

Which is your favourite piece Regenerate is showcasing?
The draped tye-dye dress which is a sneak peek of our new dress line, as Regenerate is moving away from tshirts towards the higher end of women swear.  The dress is made in Nottingham with organic bamboo and experiments with tailoring through different shapes and drapery, but still keeping that Punk edge Regenerate are known for. 

What inspires the clothes?
Regenerate will always be inspired by Rock&Roll but lately I travelled through Asia and just was so inspired by the silhouettes in Barley.

Regenerate clothing is known for their award winning business ethos, tell us more..
Well we ensure we use product cruelty free fabric, as Pea Silk is a type of silk which doesn't harm the silk worm as it dies naturally. 

 Although still in college, Alice Leverton was able to have the opportunity to design and make a dress for Xample, we spoke to her to see how she got involved...

When did you first become interested in fashion?
I first experienced the basic making of garments through Textiles at GCSE, but like I say, it was very basic. At Lace Market (part of NCN), they teach you more complex and enjoyable things.  However the briefs they set are strict and not very imaginative, they usually tell you which fabric to work with.

Are you going to pursue your love of fashion at University?
There's no questioning that making clothes is a handy skill to have, but at college I always enjoy doing the photo shoots for the garments. I'm directing towards more the styling route or even fashion promotion and events. Events like Nottingham Makers are way more fun than sat in a studio all day.
Tell us about your dress
The Chiffon dress took me two non-stop days to whip up, I love the peacock feathers around the neckline, I actually started with the peacock feathers because the colours are so vivid and inspiring. My main inspiration is a mixture between the 1920s,  art deco and Egyptian. It was a great challenge as I prefer cotton as it's neater to sew with compared to other fabrics like satin, silk and chiffon.

Megan and Harriet the designers behind the brand Merrimaking told Fashionstrand how an enjoyable hobby turned into successful garments which are even worn by the singer Marina and the Diamonds.

Animal hoods - quite a quirky idea, how did it come about? 
Last summer both of us graduated from Universities in Nottingham and frankly were desperate for something to do. We used it as a fun way to pay our way through the summer, we started selling these hoods at festivals and they almost became our festival currency. It wasn't planned at all, we just started selling and seemed to grab attention.

What are your opinions of fur?
We always use faux fur, we would never use real fur. Honestly the fur is our starting point, we're inspired by types of fur and the animals sort of evolve out of that. For example we're made a white fur fox hood and we're not even sure it exists!

What's the best thing about being a designer?
It's just great to be self-employed and work in a creative atmosphere as it's always different and never boring. Our favourite thing to do is commission as there more challenging, we once replicated a someone's pet into a hood for them!
To see more of the things Merri Making get up to check out Merri Making's blog.

Jamie from Rith Raff spoke to us about how he makes tailoring become casual.

When were you first interested in clothing?
From since I can remember I always liked constructing things, but as I grew older it turned more into a design slant. I learnt how to make clothes the expensive way, being self taught through books, videos and mainly experimentation.

What's you inspiration?
I'm inspired by Graphic art and  Saville Row tailoring as I love the contrast between the two.  I mainly designs for men, as I create bespoke clothing like the jackets. My favourite is the checked jacket, it took a long time to make and I simply love the design - sometimes you can't explain anything other than that.

What are you most proud of?
Nottingham. It shows through on my designs (points to the tshirt he's wearing) look with Robin hood, and my favourite part of Nottingham, the lions. Definitely the best part of designing is the finished product.


In the 3rd year of her decorative arts degree at Trent Harriet Foster chose to do textures and along the way taught herself how to pattern cut to pursue fashion.

What's your inspiration?
Everything. I love city skyscrapers and all types of organic form. I like to think my garments bring out the prints and the colours.

What's your favourite fabric to work with?
Silk at the moment because it's simply fabulous. I've been experimenting with tensil (sustainable fabric) which has become a big part of my business ethos. I use always use tussah silk which is end of the roll fabric. I want to create designs that are contemporary and cutting edge but also achieve longevity, as I'm against throwaway fashion and disposable fabrics.

What do you think the best thing about being a designer is?
The physical making of the clothes, being able to use creativity to produce something from nothing.

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