Today we catch up with BA (Hons) Womenswear student Siwon Lee and BA (Hons) Cordwainers Fashion Bags and Accessories student Zoe Nathan. Siwon and Zoe talk us through their inspirations and advice for prospective students.
LCF News: Talk us through your final collection…
Zoe Nathan: For my final project I am designing a range of leather accessories for men that are both functional products, yet embody high quality craftsmanship and clean, modern aesthetics. The products reflect the British heritage of the brand, as aspects from British vintage and military clothing and accessories have been employed to inspire the debut collection.
LCF News: What do you love about what you do?
ZN: Being a designer is not just about being able to set trends and see your designs on the catwalk. To me it is the opportunity to design pieces that demonstrate who I am and then portraying the attractive qualities of those designs to the everyday consumer. Trying to establish a connection with such a multitude of people from such a variety of backgrounds can only be exciting and something you have to be passionate about.
Siwon Lee: For me, design is the most interesting way to show who I am. I love to share my taste, inspiration and interests with people by making clothes and styling them in the way I can suggest for future.
LCF News: What is the story behind your final piece of work?
ZN: With the 100 year anniversary of the Great War and my appreciation of the importance of functionality in military uniform, I wanted to design a collection that took inspiration from both. My range recognises the importance of the kit that looked after so many men during that time but with a modern touch that makes these concepts appeal to modern society.
SL: I looked at authenticity in fashion and studied cultural and social changes by eras. I found out that our contemporary fashion society, which feeds on instant gratification, has emerged due to the new mass media. It is not possible to live without the new mass media and I wanted to show this through my work. I used electric cable as a metaphor for this new mass media and worked with the old fishermen’s look, which to me reflects authentic fashion. The clothes I created were meant to be functional and easy to wear.
LCF News: What techniques or theories did you use to create your final piece of work?
ZN: Simple design and careful attention to detail. I wanted my range to look clean and modern with well-thought out concepts and a few small details to show craftsmanship and skill. Therefore I produced bags that seem almost ‘stitchless’ with just a few hand-tacked stitches for detail, combined with hidden zip pockets in the seams to create a clean yet functional design.
SL: I mostly tried to keep the mood of authentic fashion by using unusual material. I design clothes reflecting my own thoughts.
LCF News: What’s the best thing about your course?
ZN: Whilst specialising in Fashion Accessories, the course remained broad enough that my fellow designers and I were able to approach a wide range of concepts for a varied consumer base. Seeing how different techniques and theories were used in both allowed for a greater understanding.
SL: It is very well programmed, as much as I sometimes struggled with my project work and the amount of work I had to do, through guidance I found the direction that I wanted my design work to go in and was able to set my design philosophy.
LCF News: Have you undertaken any work experience or done a placement whilst at LCF?
ZN: Yes, I worked at Alfred Dunhill, after winning the Curriers’ Placement Bursary, last year for my placement year. I was a Leather Design Intern there for a year helping work with the team to develop the bags, wallets and belts for two whole seasons. LCF Careers made me aware of this position, which I was very fortunate to obtain.
SL: I have interned at House of Holland when I was in second year. I managed to get this by producing an edited portfolio of my previous projects and basically sent it to as many brands as possible.
LCF News: What did you learn on your placement?
ZN: Whilst learning in the classroom is a fundamental building block to my career in the fashion industry, I believe that my placement enabled me to understand from a commercial point of view. Realising the financial and temporal constraints of working for such a well-reputed brand has helped me enormously to manage my final project.
SL: While at House of Holland, I could see how a company is run and the general hierarchy. I contributed my skills to prepare for the F/W 2014 catwalk. By working with the designer, who was actually from LCF, I could see how the catwalk is developed from inspiration, design development, sampling and styling. The designer had to have vision towards every aspect and that helped me to understand how I should prepare my final collection and the press show.
LCF News: Describe your work in five words…
ZN: Quality, British, men’s leather accessories.
SL: Authentic, practical, protest, easy-wear, moody.
Do you have a muse? If so, who and why?
ZN: I’d say that people watching is my muse. I am drawing inspiration everyday from people around me and I am subconsciously drawn to the things they carry.
SL: When I design I picture the model ‘Malgosia Bela ’. I love her face and try to imagine her wearing my clothes.
LCF News: What inspires you?
ZN: History. Without it, we have nothing to move forwards from and to learn from. History is how tradition is created and remembered.
SL: I always start with my emotion, thoughts and the circumstance that I am in. With that I begin reading books, articles or photography books.
LCF News: What advice would you give to someone wanting to study your course?
ZN: It’s not easy! This has to be something you are really passionate about and willing to commit to. If this is what you want to do then I say devote yourself to the course and be clear in your mind as to what you want to do.
SL: You need to be strong. Never give up and have ability to overcome your defaults. Try to think about fashion every moment and do not waste your time doing nothing.