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Class of 2017: BA (Hons) Cordwainers Fashion Bags And Accessories: Product Design And Innovation Charlie Wilkinson


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Published date
27 June 2017

Up next BA (Hons) Cordwainers Fashion Bags And Accessories: Product Design And Innovation student Charlie Wilkinson talks to us about her final collection time at LCF and what she hopes to do after graduating.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the moment you knew you wanted to study fashion?

I have been designing and making bags for years, and as this started to take over my life I knew that I wanted to study fashion in order to hone my skills and learn more about the industry.

Talk us through your final project…..

My final project is a range of small travel accessories, made from cork, covered in leather and trimmed in resin. The range is rooted in practical and beautiful organisation of travel belongings, and some designs have dual functionality and removable compartments.

The range follows my love of working with cork as a raw material, and originally took inspiration from David Bowie. Having visited his life retrospective it looks at the surroundings he grew up in and has ended up drawing heavy influence from 1950s decoration, bathrooms in particular.

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

Further experimentation of cork as a raw material and also casting resin trims and hardware. Having worked with resin and cork on previous projects, I wanted the opportunity to bring them together once again in a range of accessories. I also experimented with jesmonite in place of resin, and building my own cork sheet material before settling on the processes and materials that I wished to use to make the final prototypes.

Have you won any prizes?

I was placed among the winners of an industry competition for the Ethical Fashion Initiative, and am currently within the selection process for the Kering Sustainability Award 2017. I was also winner of the Worshipful Company of Curriers Placement Bursary, which helped me during my year industry.

Have you undertaken any work experience or done a placement whilst at LCF? 

I worked my placement year at Dr Martens in Camden as an Accessories Design Assistant, and I have carried on working there part time during my final year of study. I was made aware of the position by the LCF Careers Team.

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

The main industry speaker that has stuck in my memory is Jean Paul-Gaultier. I found his design ideals and attitude to life incredibly motivational and inspiring.

Describe your work and aesthetic in five words…

Colourful, unconventional, experimental, sustainable and fun.

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

I have two great muses, and they are David Bowie and Freddie Mercury. They inspire me with their flair, colour, style and music.

What influences your style and work?

I find that I am increasingly drawing a lot of inspiration from bold colour matching, glam rock and aspects of interior design. Also finding that my mind is drawn to sentimental and nostalgic memorabilia.

What are your plans for the future?

I hope to stay within accessories design, and furthering my career and knowledge through working within the industry. I think I would eventually like to try something of my own, but I also believe it would be invaluable to carry on working for brands in order to learn and develop as a designer.

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

I believe that the course helped in broadening my attitude to design and helped me find my own process through a good mix of practical and theory work. When starting the course I thought of myself primarily as a maker, but now I feel much more comfortable in design.

Have you heard that LCF is moving to east London? What do you think about the move?

I think that it can only be a good thing. For accessories in particular, the industry and the course are growing year-by-year and a new facility that can accommodate this would be ideal. I also think that students could benefit from more of a ‘campus mentality’ rather than being dispersed around London.

What do you think Brexit means for the fashion industry and studying in London?

I think that Brexit can only be damaging for fashion and for London universities. I would worry that it could lead to depletion in foreign students who bring talent and fresh ideas that can benefit all students, and it could see a decrease in London’s strength as a ‘Fashion Capital’ through lack of unity.

Alumni can connect with LCF in the following ways: