Final year BA Knitwear student Phoebe Kime spoke to us about the inspiration behind her final collection. Phoebe references her childhood, experiments a lot with materials found in unusual places and spent part of her third year working in an Italian textile factory. Watch out for updates when we talk to Phoebe again nearer to the start of the show.
How has your work developed since we last spoke?
Phoebe: Everything has changed, we last spoke at the beginning of making, but the process had to completely change, everything had to be done a lot quicker because of the time frame. A lot of stuff got cut, I couldn’t use a lot of things that I had planned to use, but I think that that definitely made my collection more cohesive. It all really came together in the last week and especially on the last day I finally felt like I had a collection.
The internal show and the press show have also taken place. I was chosen to be in the press show, which was exciting. We were advised to make another look to feature in the show, which meant that I had to very quickly make one in about five days! It was scary because I definitely felt like I could have kept working on the collection. Even when it was going out onto the catwalk I was thinking about ways I could improve my work and extra things I could do. You really have to tell yourself to stop because if you keep fiddling with your work it could ruin it.
With just a few days until the show opens to the public, what finishing touches are you currently working on?
Phoebe: Now I am working on the exhibition. I did a shoot on Monday that I am going to use to make a look book for my collection. We are restricted to only displaying one garment, I am finding it really hard to choose which one I want to exhibit. I have two that are my favourites but it is still a difficult decision.
Do you have any recommendations for people visiting the show to go and see?
Phoebe: I am looking forward to seeing textiles. We work so closely in the knit room so it will be nice to see what they have come out with. It is kind of a similar but they use their materials in a totally different way to us.
Tell us about your project and what inspired your brief?
Phoebe: I’ve really been building upon my childhood and memories I have from being in the church. I was an alter server and had to wear these long gowns that would never fit properly. You could always see the clothes that people were wearing underneath; some would wear tracksuits and trainers, clothes you wouldn’t associate with the church at all. My final collection is inspired by that juxtaposition, things not looking quite the way you expect them to.
What about the build up to the Degree Show?
Phoebe: My collections always lead on from one another. I reflect on a backlog of my own work as if it is a library itself. From that it really develops into lots of drawing and sampling to see how my ideas go. We have to work out roughly where the material will hang which is really a process of trial and error, seeing how certain materials work and what looks good. With knitwear we are slightly different to the other departments within fashion. We work backwards so we know our textiles before we know our shape.
How are you preparing for the show?
Phoebe: I’ve been working on my final pieces for roughly four weeks now and we have four weeks left. That’s eight weeks to create our final collection; it’s not long at all, especially in knitwear where the machines are never your friend and so many things can go wrong. I think the pressure is good in a way, it really makes you work!
What is the general feeling within your programme towards the Degree Show right now?
Phoebe: I think that there is a pressure that everyone is feeling. We are all supporting each other and getting our heads down. For me, there is nervousness about showing my work; you really want to feel happy about your final pieces. I am also quite a secretive person and my work is quite personal so I feel like I will be exposing myself to a lot of people.
What aspect of the show are you most looking forward to?
Phoebe: I want to be proud of my work and I want to show my parents what I’ve created because they’ve helped me so much during my education. It’s also a good platform for something that we’ve all been working towards and to show my work to as many people as possible. But I also don’t want it to finish.
How does the Degree Show differ from others you’ve worked on?
Phoebe: It’s the biggest amount of work that I’ve done in such an intense period of time. There hasn’t really been anything else that would equate to the scale of the Degree Show. I feel like this is something that I have worked up to throughout the whole of my education.
What are your post-Degree Show plans?
Phoebe: I really enjoy working and I don’t like to not be doing anything at all. I am not totally closing my mind off from further study. I think I am going have to wait until I have finished to see what feels like the right thing to do when I have the space to think about it.