Laura Bell is Course Leader for BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles: Knit, BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles: Embroidery and BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles: Print.
Tell us about your professional experience and background?
My major area of practice is printed textile design for fashion, with my professional experience extending to roles in textile design and womenswear. My work has featured in fashion publications including Visionaire magazine, Dazed & Confused, International Textiles, L’UOMO Vogue and others. I have exhibited work alongside Craig Lawrence, Louise Gray and Nicolas Kirkwood in Museumsquartier in Vienna, as well as exhibitions in New York, London and Japan.
I now oversee the vision and management of LCF's BA Fashion Textile courses - BA(Hons) Fashion Textiles:Print, BA(Hons) Fashion Textiles:Knit and BA(Hons) Fashion Textiles: Embroidery. These courses are built on great heritage, with textiles being taught for over 100 years at LCF. My experience extends to fashion consultancy, having provided direction and support for business start-up SMEs, commercial content and sponsorship.
What makes your course unique?
Our textile courses are unique in that you have the opportunity to explore and strengthen your individual design ethos, within a dynamic collaborative fashion environment of specialist designers. The courses are very hands-on and celebrate the power of making, with collaborative projects embedded to reflect the role of textile designers within the fashion industry. Our courses specifically celebrate individuality within the power of the collective.
We are passionate about the role of textiles in society to question, change and ensure sustainable solutions - and ultimately the power of textiles in shaping the future vision of fashion.
What, if anything, have you found surprising about teaching on this course?
When visiting lecturers comment on the unparalleled work ethic of some of our students and the work they have produced compared to where they have taught before.
What inspires and excites you in terms of your area of practice?
It is a radical time for the role of materials in the fashion industry and I am passionate about the impact that our textiles courses have – specifically on the design, development and future of fashion. With change comes opportunity and the future of design is demanding change, and this is exciting for future creatives. There is a need to think radically and work collectively as designers in order to make an impact on the world.
What could graduates of the course go on to do?
Our courses celebrate the individual ethos and identity of each student, and this is strengthened through their creative journey. As a result our alumni enter into diverse roles upon graduation, from working with fashion companies such as Erdem, Mary Katranzou and Victoria Beckham, through to work with global organisations such as Texprint and Hand and Lock. We also have a growing number of alumni running their own businesses, as well as continuing on to postgraduate study.
And briefly, how would you sum up the LCF experience to prospective students?
Dynamic. Diverse. Collaborative. Fashion family.
Is there a ‘theme’ in this year’s press show work from your cohort? Or any common threads that you have noticed this year, such as influences and inspirations?
Final year students have chosen varied themes again this year – from mundane obsessions through to chocolate factories through to political riots! Visually our students are diverse but I feel there is a common strand of questioning individuality either through how we consume, or behave, or our links with heritage, class or experience. It is exciting that our students are all celebrating the individual, while having collective spirit representing generation 2016.
What words would you use to summarise the overall output from the School of Design and Technology?
Hand-rendered. Desirable. Specialist.
How do staff from the school work together to enhance the student experience?