Technology and the Internet has revolutionised almost every aspect of our lives. Fashion as an industry has fully embraced digital and has completely redesigned how we attract, engage and motivate people throughout the world. BA (Hons) Creative Direction for Fashion encourages students to work alongside these new digital changes to shape the future of fashion, while developing an understanding of brands and audiences.
LCFBA16 continues with Shreya Dalmia from Kolkata, India, and Lea Sorli, from Slovenia. From creating a 200 page magazine to developing new ways to communicate handcrafted fashion garments to a new audience, Shreya and Lea have looked at creative and innovative ways to to pull of their final major projects. The pair recapped on their time at London College of Fashion and talked us through their projects for our Class of 2016 series.
Jason Kass, BA (Hons) Creative Direction for Fashion course leader, spoke to us about this year’s cohort.
This year’s graduating students foresee an exciting future for fashion communication. The course has produced diverse work across print, screen and the experiential, from interactive installations and moving image to websites, mobile apps and publications. The teaching team was very impressed with the standard of the projects produced over the year and the students’ ability to tap into important social and cultural issues and trends.
Give us one interesting fact about yourself…
Shreya: I am a trained classical Bharatnatyam dancer and I heavily rely on IMDB ratings.
Lea: I packed my bags and bought a one way ticket to London when I was 19. One of the hardest, yet best things I have ever done.
Talk us through your final project…
Shreya: My final project is a 200 page print publication called ‘Curry’. It builds content off the hooks that bind UK and the States of India, imperialism, globalisation etc. The first issue is themed around the city of Kolkata. The magazine has an identified niche audience, I’ve targeted British Asians in London because the content is people focused and contemporary in design. I think it appeals to Londoners in general. It features a variety of content from serious photo essays to cheeky comic strips. The magazine trials new approaches to communicating news and features instead through sneak peaks of what is inside through GIFs. There is also a brand extension into products (smell, taste, sound of Kolkata) that is featured only on the magazine’s Instagram page.
Lea: ‘Soundthreads’ is a project thats seeks for new ways of using fashion media to communicate qualities of handcrafted fashion in order to question and challenge how people perceive and relate to handcrafted garments. With that in mind, I created a interactive sound installation that focuses on communicating the detailed process of making as well as the creativity and effort required in a true artisanal approach. The project promotes the role of activist designer such as Faustine Steinmetz and her hand woven AW16 collection, as well as her mission to inspire minimal buying.
‘Soundthreads’ aims to provide a voice to the brand. Using audio within the discourse of brand communication to present identity in a distinctive manner. It aims to trigger an emotional response through sonic (as well as visual) stimulation, thus challenging the viewer’s perception of hand crafted fashion. The project will comment on the handcrafted nature of Faustine Steinmetz’s AW16 collection through sound that communicates craft qualities such as: authenticity, honesty of production, quality of materials used, narrative, nostalgia, aura and the metamorphosis of the crafted project.
The sounds remind the viewer of the time and effort that went into making each garment, and communicate handmade garments as a piece of art with instruct value that the viewer can turn into his/her own. Lastly, I have translated this concept into retail and designed a Faustine Steinmetz pop-up space at Selfridges which as well as my chosen brand has a mission to inspire change and contribute towards a more sustainable future of fashion industry.
What do you love about what you do?
Shreya: I can’t put a finger on it. But maybe that I get to add value to what exists and that which doesn’t.
Lea: I love creative problem solving and the accompanying learning process, as well as the sense of accomplishment that comes when I achieve something.
What is the story behind your final piece of work?
Shreya: I was really inspired by the ‘print is not dead’ movement and independent journals that are treating content from other cultures in exciting new angles and serving them to you in a tangible and personal manner. Subcultures are represented here in multiple platforms like Dazed, i-D, VICE etc. but even though Indian has so many states and subcultures, it’s strange that you don’t see any represented, especially in print considering print’s long lasting relevance in India. Because I’ve seen the best sides of India and London, I was quite clear that there is wealth to be found in Indian imagery and narratives that if presented in a contemporary and simple aesthetic will strike a chord with readers here.
Lea: My project acknowledges the responsibilities that fashion holds to sustainability, and highlights necessary change within fashion, society and culture. ‘Soundthreads’ is a concept that introduces and promotes handcrafted fashion as a potential solution for over consumption through increased longevity via an optimised level of quality. The project explores distinctive ways of using media to communicate fashion beyond visuals. My belief is that unconventional forms of communication could be an effective way of delivering important messages, such as over-consumption.
What’s the best thing about LCF?
Shreya: The network. Its brilliant. It’s a riot of ideas, opinions and there’s just lots to feed off on.
Lea: The creative environment with talented students from all around the world. Experienced tutors and lecturers, technical support (media department), library resources, industry talks, LCF careers and a bunch of extracurricular project opportunities students can get involved with.
What’s the best thing about your course?
Lea: The fact that the course answers the industry’s current need for individuals with multiple skills. It covers many different aspects of fashion – from branding, to photography, styling, graphic design etc. Understanding all these elements are crucial in having an overall creative vision (for a brand). Another great thing is that the course is very future facing – exploring what’s the next thing before it becomes the next thing. Also, Cultural Historical Studies knowledge that students gain throughout the course is great as it really helps in better understanding the visual culture and its social impact.
Have you undertaken any work experience or done a placement whilst at LCF? Where and how did you secure this work experience or placement?
Shreya: I’ve worked at LOOK magazine for a very short time and a placement at a trend forecasting boutique called Trend Atelier by Geraldine Wharry. Secured it through the LCF Firstmove platform and relentless following up.
Lea: Yes! My first internship was as research intern at Simonds Ltd., where I was assisting the creative team with research and development of concepts while working on SS15 campaigns for the likes of Gucci, Prabal Gurung, Public School, Dunlop and Zara. My second internship was as Creative Project Manager Assistant for Buffalo Zine and their third issue. My last internship was with a make up artist Nat Van Zee who will shortly launch a platform for organic beauty ‘Vanzee’.
What did you learn on your work experience/placement?
Shreya: Geraldine is singularly running her company and freelances for companies like Victoria’s Secret, WGSN etc. projects on which I had the opportunity to work with her. I think small but essential skills like editing, organisation, curating and just running a one woman show and running it successfully.
Lea: My internship at Simmonds was a really good insight into how a creative design studio whose clients are some of the most well respected brands works. The creative team is small so I had a chance to actually be involved in the entire process of concept development – from finding appropriate references to communicating ideas to the client in a clear, effective way. My internship with BuffaloZine taught me completely different skills. There I worked very independently and had to ensure a successful delivery of the sections ‘Letters’ and ‘Conversations’ on time and within budget as well as contacting artists and dealing with copyrights.
Have you met or been inspired by any speakers from the industry whilst at LCF?
Shreya: I am a fan of Kathryn Ferguson who has also taught me in one of my modules. I think her films represent and tell the stories of very interesting characters. What she does for her people, Londoners, is very inspiring and is something I hope I can do for people one day.
Lea: Yes! I loved the talk with Nick Knight. There were also many other interesting speakers from the industry. To name a few, Christopher Simmonds, Adam Bricegirdle, Kate Dawkins, Andrew Green, Joel Lewis, Jimmy Lam.
Describe your work in five words…
Shreya: Eclectic, gritty, contemporary and expressive and edgy
Lea: Progressive, critical, experimental, conceptual and culturally conscious.
What inspires you?
Shreya: Women who are independent, compassionate, headstrong and fun. I think that’s a tough and rare crop of qualities. I find that a lot of Indian women, creatives like Petra Collins, who are young and have important things to talk about. Some of the women who’ve taught me in my course are quite like that. Apart from that good films, cacophonic markets and brave journalists.
How do you think your course and LCF will help you achieve your plans?
Shreya: Like I said, what creative direction teaches you is to research and find gaps in the industry that need to be filled. It teaches you enough to problem solve and know the basics of skills to collaborate with the right people to execute a vision in a manner that’s practical, ideally innovative and hopefully value-adding. I’ve collaborated with a lot of people from LCF and I think the power to ideate with a well fleshed out objective is quite rare and this course’s fundamental strength.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to study your course?
Shreya: I think going in, understand what the course is about very clearly. And you’ll have no complaints!
Lea: Seek inspiration outside fashion. Be open minded, curious and don’t be scared of making mistakes. There’s no better time to experiment, explore and take risks then while studying. Also, don’t forget to have fun!