Up next in our Class of 2015 blog series we talk to Marianne Tse Laurence, BA Fashion Design and Development, and Emily Grieves, BA Fashion Textiles: Knit. The collaborating students tell us about how they were inspired by their own origins and reflected this in their catwalk collection.
LCF News: Give us one interesting fact about yourself…
Emily Grieves: I started a fashion brand when I was 10 called ‘egggg.’
Marianne Tse-Laurence: I’m half Manchurian, half Chinese Mauritian.
LCF News: Talk us through your final project/collection/research/piece…
EG: My final collection took inspiration from historical knitwear, the fishermen Guernsey sweaters, where each region and community had its own pattern and identity. The collection reflects these ideas creating personalised knitwear, taking symbols and words from my family’s place of origin Sunderland. Using colloquial words from the city such as ‘Haway the lads’ which means ‘come on’ and ‘Marra’ as a word for friend. The words are used to brand the knitwear in an intricate way, to add tactility, personality and a sense of belonging, revitalising communicative knitwear.
MT: The starting point for this collection was to underpin the empathetic relationship one makes with a garment. A place of origin is at the heart of this project. The Northern Fishing town of Fleetwood is my place of origin and fuels the visceral emotional theme of the collection. It also provided an abundance of visuals, textures, forms and memories. Fleetwood is a small, somewhat sombre ex-fishing town however there is subtle solace beauty, which comes apparent in this meaningful collection.
LCF News: What do you love about what you do?
EG: I love everything. I love the initial research stage of creating a collection and creating a concept and narrative, I love drawing, and I am obsessed with knitting!
MT: I love experimenting with different techniques and collating from varied sources to create something new, and seeing how the project has developed and changed from conception to completion.
LCF News: What techniques or theories did you use to create your final piece of work?
EG: The knitting is done on a Dubied knit machine, hand transferring to create the symbols and details. The process afterwards is more messy as I bleach and dye the knit at home in my bath! Two of the pieces in the collection are a mixture of knit and fur. I was very lucky to have the opportunity to go to SAGA Furs design centre in Denmark and work on these pieces.
MT: We all have a duty to respect our environment and preserve our future. MTL (my brand) hopes to achieve this through intelligent design for purpose, ethical practices and longevity of style.
LCF News: What’s the best thing about LCF?
EG: LCF is an amazing place to study, it is unique because it is completely focused on fashion therefore your are constantly surrounded and being inspired by all areas of the fashion industry. LCF gives so many opportunities to help promote yourself and get your work seen.
MT: It is also a really multi-cultural and fast-paced environment.
LCF News: What’s the best thing about your course?
EG: BA Fashion Textiles is a great course to study as it allows you to become fully immersed in your chosen specialism. The course is also extremely helpful in preparing you for industry, that has been the key focus since year one. Also the support network, the tutors are amazing.
MT: The best thing for me is the freedom and encouragement we are given to explore different avenues.
LCF News: Have you won any prizes?
EG: I have taken part in many competitions. I recently won the London regional heat of the Society of Dyers and Colourists annual design competition. Last year my collaboration collection was selected to have our design printed on Mi-Pac bags, it was amazing to see our design on a product!
MT: I won the Saga Furs Sponsorship 2015 – Copenhagen.
LCF News: Have you undertaken any work experience or done a placement whilst at LCF? Where and how did you secure this work experience or placement?
EG: I interned at Oui group as a showroom assistant, helping sell the Autumn/Winter 2014/15 and the Spring/ Summer 2015 collections, this was excellent for developing my understanding of business and sales. I also did a design internship for Sibling, assisting designers in Sampling the Spring/ Summer 2015 Menswear collection. It was extremely useful to intern for both the business and Design areas of the fashion industry.
MT: I spent 13 months full time at Hackett London as Design Assistant. I have done freelance here and there since leaving for both Hackett London and Hentsch Man.
LCF News: What did you learn on your work placement?
EG: I learnt about target market and the ins and outs of selling, this has made me much more aware of the commercial side of fashion, its amazing to design and have fun with that while your at University, but I think its crucial to learn about the business side of fashion.
MT: I learnt a huge amount as I was a full time employee of the company, most importantly; how to work well within a team, professionalism, design in industry, delegating and prorating work.
LCF News: Have you met or been inspired by any speakers from the industry whilst at LCF?
EG: The speakers at LCF have been so inspiring. I have been to some amazing lectures with employees from brands such as Topman to Louise Grey.
MT: Francois-Hanult Pinault from Kering gave an inspiring talk this year highlighting the importance of integrating sustainable practices within fashion, I was moved and impressed with the passion and priority given to this issue from such a large luxury company.
LCF News: Describe your work in five words…
EG: Romantic, thoughtful, emotive, detailed, new.
MT: Emotive, textual, thoughtful, worked and innovative.
LCF News: How do you think your course and LCF will help you achieve your plans?
EG: The course has directed us towards industry from the beginning so leaving Uni I feel prepared for industry and getting a job. The LCF Careers team has also been very supportive and continue to support graduates for two years after finishing the course, so I think that ongoing help will help me in achieving my goals.
MT: My course is geared towards industry as we have a whole year working and we are encouraged to look into all aspects of the fashion industry to help our work, marketing, branding, production, technical experimentation, so we leave with a multitude of skills for the industry.