Five Chelsea BA Textile Design students celebrated the conclusion of a year long project with the launch of their new gender-neutral kidswear range in collaboration with Zara Kids during London Fashion Week.
Available online and in Zara’s Kings Road London store, the range is the second collection from Zara’s VIEW.S project, which seeks out fresh perspectives by collaborating with art and design students around the world.
Sustainability was at the core of the briefing, which was sent out as a “live competition project” to all textile design students. From the entries, 5 students were selected: Sophia Willcox, Peng Cui, Maria Appleton, Ella Dallaglio and Zhenyuan Jia - each bringing to the table a strong set of ideas as well as a broad range of backgrounds and cultures.
As well as navigating each other’s ideas and values, the students were also tasked with working to live industry deadlines and modifying designs to accommodate the practicalities of global manufacturing. Legal considerations and presenting work to clients, buyers and press were also skills developed by the students as part of the process.
As Sophia explains, effective communication was at the core of this project: “Zara listened to everything we had to say, it was very much our project with their guidance. Even when it came to shooting the editorial, they took on board everything we suggested and made it come to life. To help summarise the collection we wrote a poem, and Zara used it to help frame the collection, printing it on the back of a bag, and also as the storyboard for the editorial.”
After refining their initial 40 designs down to a collection of 7 interchangeable looks, the students travelled to Zara’s Madrid HQ to see their ideas realised and put into production in November 2018.
“The trip was fantastic and the students definitely got a great deal out of it - the sheer experience of going to a place like that, in terms of seeing their work developed into product and having it contextualised in that way. They were very excited and quite taken aback at the realisation of just quite how big a deal this opportunity is for them and their future careers.” - Jane Murrow, Course Leader, BA Textile Design.
Almost a year after the brief was released Sophia, Peng, Maria, Ella and Zhenyuan launched their collection at a live presentation and art workshop in the Zara Showroom. This event included a Q&A with the students and an opportunity for attendees to create their own artwork inspired by the collection. As well as seeing the results of their hard work, preparation for the launch was in itself another opportunity for the students to learn about the skills required at industry level, as well as opening their eyes to the opportunities available to them post-degree.
“Working on this project has helped my work by not only giving me confidence but also by seeing the different directions in which it can go. It has shown me what it takes to produce a collection. Working alongside industry has prepared me for future opportunities and helped me understand the industrial timespan.” - Sophia Wilcox.
The Zara Kids VIEW.S 2019 range launched in February and was produced as part of Zara’s Join Life initiative, which makes use of recycled and sustainable fabrics.
Find out more about BA Textile Design at Chelsea College of Arts.