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Hannah Cooper

Profession
BA Womenswear Alum
College
London College of Fashion
Person Type
Alumni
Hannah Cooper - BA Womenswear
Hannah  Cooper

Biography

Could you describe a little about your personal background and what your work stands for?

I am half British, half German and grew up in Munich. Within the past three generations on both sides of my family, women have been sewing either professionally or in their spare time. My mother taught me to use her sewing machine when I was eleven years old. “Make it yourself” has been my slogan ever since. After interning at multiple tailoring ateliers and the Bavarian State Opera, I realised my interests went further than sewing, I also wanted to be part of the design process.

Crafting techniques take centre stage within my work as they are a part of my identity. My aim is to explore ways of bringing contemporary relevance to craft and highlight its value in shaping a sustainable future of fashion.

With your designs being inherently related to nature, how has the digital shift altered your working habits and thought processes?

With the outbreak of the pandemic, the hand-in requirements for my BA project changed completely, as there was no longer access to the university’s studios. I was forced to re-define the outcome of my collection within a matter of days. This really pushed me outside of my comfort zone and lead me to introduce digital tools into my practice.

This new realm of possibility pushed my innovative thinking, speeding up my design visualisation and process. For my updated project outcome, I proposed a multi-faceted business model that champions craft and its contemporary relevance.

In my retail experience model, collections are presented in digital form. In a virtual showroom, my customer can try on garments using a customised avatar based on body scans. By altering the fit, colour or materials, they become part of the design process. The measurements supplied by their body scan, enable the creation of made-to-measure garments.

A website provides information on the collection, creative process and on the supply chain, to ensure sustainability standards are met.

A walk-in showroom creates a space for my customer to experience the brand physically. The display of collection samples, augmented by photography and film, give the customer the opportunity to experience the garments close up and trying them on before completing the body scan and ordering their custom-made piece.

This shopping experience is flexible and inclusive, as it is based on measurements instead of gender and can be tailored to every customer’s individual needs, abilities and preferences.

My customer becomes part of my world, gains a sense of belonging and achievement, and most importantly, a further understanding of the true worth of the product.

The digital shift allowed me to envision a model that combines craft with technology. My designs continue to be inherently related to nature but are now presented on a contemporary platform, that attracts a wide range of customers and builds a meaningful connection through digital and physical platforms.

In an online age, why is it still significant for designers to consider the environment?

Even though many segments of the fashion industry take place online, our products are physical, made from raw material, manufactured by human beings, shipped across the planet and live a relatively short life as a garment. I am not a supporter of moving fashion exclusively online, as in the end we still need to and want to clothe our bodies. We use garments as means of expression and exploration of our identities. A fabric´s physical and intimate qualities allow it to act like a second skin, receiving our smell and shape. Textiles embody memory and can be of great sentimental value. However, it is essential that as part of the fashion industry we are aware of the issues we cause and that we work to decrease them drastically.

You have been unable to attend classes and collaborate as normal. How does it feel to be graduating in isolation?

It was, and nearly a year later, continues to be very difficult. I lack a sense of closure. My studies were such an intense experience. During which I met so many great people I could not say goodbye to. Now we are scatted all across the world and will never come together again. I miss LCF a lot. The building, the staff, my fellow students and the creative and supportive atmosphere.

Fashion has developed a greater need for online connection. How do you think virtual showcases and fashion weeks will shape the industry going forward?

I believe there will be an exciting mix of digital and physical approaches. Virtual and augmented reality open up new possibilities while offering a more environmentally friendly approach. However, I don’t believe that they will fully replace physical shows, as we will still want to travel to experience fashion and culture first-hand.

What the last year has already shown us, is that fashion is losing its exclusivity. With fashion shows increasingly being online events, brands are opening up to a wider audience and are confronted with their immediate responses. They are called out for cultural inaccuracy, lack of diversity or lack of innovation and excitement. I hope that this will force brands to reflect on their practice and identity and follow the public’s request for environmental consciousness, social justice, cultural representation and inclusivity.

www.gracious.studio Instagram: @gracious.studio