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Class of 2016: BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring

Written by Josh De Souza Crook
Published date 05 June 2016

LCF News spoke to BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring students Neil Xuhao and Zoe Vallance for our next LCFBA16 post.

Read the interview below and tune in to the LCFBA16 Catwalk show at 7pm GMT Monday 6 June to see Neil’s collection.

Neil Xuhao and Jessica Jasmine collaborate for LCFBA16 Catwalk live stream.

Neil Xuhao and Jessica Jasmine collaborate for LCFBA16 Catwalk live stream. Photographer: James Rees, Creative Direction: Rob Phillips, Hair: Ezana Ové, Beauty: Kirsty Gaston.

Give us one interesting fact about yourself…

Neil: I’m a 100% perfectionist and 200% optimist.

Zoe: I got an A* in Maths.

Talk us through your final collection…

Neil: The inspiration came from me wanting to construct different methods of modern product design, and how they mortify traditional methods into something that is new and fresh. I also worked around the concept of, What you see is not what you think it is, which I got from photographer Chema Madoz. I wanted to create pieces with traditional tailoring techniques that are also different to what you think it is, something that isn’t just a dress or coat for example.

Zoe

Zoe Vallance. Photographer – Chris Yates, Hair & Makeup – Samuel C Degnan, GTM Models – Angelika

Zoe: My collection is based on the idea of being able to transform looks on the go. Each garment in my collection is interchangeable with pieces attaching and detaching.

What do you love about what you do?

Neil: I love the designing process, experiencing all the ideas and creating real pieces to me.

Zoe: I love being able to make and having full control over every aspect of the making process.

What is the story behind your final piece of work?

Neil: My goal was to create something really relaxed, but that also had a sense of elegancy while modern. I referenced many traditional tailoring techniques in my work, also took them into design, but combined them with a modern twist and very thoughtful details added throughout the collection.

Neil Xuhao and Jessica Jasmine collaborate for LCFBA16 Catwalk live stream. Photographer: James Rees, Creative Direction: Rob Phillips, Hair: Ezana Ové, Beauty: Kirsty Gaston.

Neil Xuhao and Jessica Jasmine collaborate for LCFBA16 Catwalk live stream. Photographer: James Rees, Creative Direction: Rob Phillips, Hair: Ezana Ové, Beauty: Kirsty Gaston.

Zoe: In the busy city, time moves quickly and there is little or no time at all to change outfits. My collection allows the clients look to quickly evolve between work and social events.

What techniques or theories did you use to create your final piece of work?

Neil: I used traditional bespoke tailoring and modern production techniques in my work. I embedded both in my designs and also used 3D printing and wood building within my collection.

Zoe: Each piece in my collection is fully hand-made by myself using bespoke tailoring techniques.

What’s the best thing about LCF?

Neil: I love the resources available to us!

Zoe: The tutors and technicians!

Zoe

Zoe Vallance. Photographer – Chris Yates, Hair & Makeup – Samuel C Degnan, GTM Models – Angelika

What’s the best thing about your course?

Neil: The fact that it is unique and the amazing tutors we have.

Zoe: Being able to mix with and meet so many different people who enjoy the same thing as you do.

Have you won any prizes?

Neil: Yes! I won the Turnbull & Asser competition earlier this.

Have you been in the media?

Neil: Yes, my course and I were featured in Vogue.

Zoe: Recently our class got to choose one outfit from our final collection to appear on Vogue online.

Neil

BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring student Neil Xuhao.

Have you undertaken any work experience or done a placement whilst at LCF? Where and how did you secure this work experience or placement?

Neil: Yes! I worked at Aitor Throup, Pier Wu, and H.Huntsman & Sons. I applied to all by myself and prepared for the interviews once I heard back.

Have you met or been inspired by any speakers from the industry whilst at LCF?

Zoe: I’ve been to quite a few of the Inside the Industry events, the Anya hindmarch one stood out for me.

What did you learn on your work experience?

Neil: New techniques that are different from tailoring, the business side of the industry, and how things work in a professional studio and company.

Zoe: Does making coffee count?

Describe your work in five words…

Neil: Cline, minimal, elegant, quality and unisex.

Zoe: Crisp, feminine, formal, sustainable and sophisticated.

Do you have a muse? If so, who and why?

Neil: My muse changes with the collection, but its always a boyish girl or girly boys.

What inspires you?

Neil: Small interesting details from everywhere.

Zoe: I’d say everything can have the potential to inspire you in some way. There’s nothing that doesn’t have an affect on the way you think or feel.

BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring student Neil Xuhao.

BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring student Neil Xuhao.

Where do you want to be in your career in five years’ time?

Neil: Creative or executive director in a fashion brand.

Zoe: I’d like to be a coat maker on Savile Row.

How do you think your course and LCF will help you achieve your plans?

Neil: The contacts and resources that university offer after we graduation, and the press contacts you meet along the way.

Zoe: This final year has helped us to prepare for our careers by encouraging us to write C.V.s and put together an industry portfolio. We also have an industry event coming up where there will be opportunities to secure jobs.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to study your course?

Neil: It is a very interesting course but also very hard course that needs very strong self motivation, patient, and healthy body. You should either go for traditional or modern tailoring as you need a lot of time to research, learn, experiment before finally making.

Zoe: Make sure you’re doing what you would love to do!