Footwear graduate Eva Hau used mental health struggles, both her own and those of others, as inspiration for her final collection. As part of the Class of 2017 series for #LCFBA17 Eva tells LCF News why she chose to study fashion, what she plans to do after graduation and what she thinks Brexit means for the fashion industry.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the moment you knew you wanted to study fashion?
I always wanted to study fashion since I was little. My mum is definitely one of many who inspired me to go onto this path. She always prepares her next day outfit the night before, from head to toe. Dressing up makes her really happy and I don’t think that’s only for her but a lot of people including me. I’m always drawn to fashion and want to be a part of a process which delights and empowers me.
Talk us through your final collection
The collection is inspired by an exhibition- Bedlam: the Asylum and Beyond at the Wellcome Collection. It is about mental health issues, which in this millennial generation, is often faced yet overlooked. The research looks into asylums, patients, their lives in the asylums, and the treatments from past to present. I personally have depression and anxiety, which in some way has made me a better person and reflects on who I am. I haven’t been really open about this and sometimes been afraid to talk about this. However, I feel like this is an opportunity to shamelessly communicate this subject through the collection and hopefully raise public awareness towards this topic. In the business plan, 5 per cent of each transaction will donate to the collaborating mental health charity.
What is the story behind your final piece of work?
From the research that I did for the collection, there are a lot of ruching details on the patients’ hats. Moreover, there are a few images showing how people suffering from mental health problems cover themselves with layers of clothing. Both enhance that the patients’ tendency to wrap themselves up, which makes them feel secure and it is the case from my experience.
What techniques or theories did you use to create your final piece of work?
Ruching is the key feature of the collection. However, instead of using the elastic to do the work, I manually pleat the leather and stitch it down with elastic to create more of a dramatic and less unified ruffle, along with cement lasting method to make the shoes. Moreover, I also use 3D rapid prototyping for the heels.
Have you undertaken any work experience or done a placement whilst at LCF? Where and how did you secure this work experience or placement?
Yes, I did the placement year from our sandwich course and that was the best year during my university life. I worked at Kat Maconie for 8 months in London. And I was at H&M in Stockholm for 3 months. I found the opportunity at Kat’s on ‘LCF Careers Live’ and had help for writing CVs and cover letters. For H&M, we had an industry collaboration project within our course with them during second year and I apply directly to them.
Have you met or been inspired by any speakers from the industry whilst at LCF?
There isn’t anyone that specifically comes up to my mind. However, I would say the people that I’ve met and made friends with during my internships have definitely inspired me a lot.
Describe your work and aesthetic in five words…
MINIMAL, SHAPE, STRUCTURE, CONTEMPORARY, FEMININE.
Do you have a muse?
I don’t think I have a specific muse but I’m always aspired to be a strong independent woman that is comfortable in my own skin and confident of what I do.
What influences your style and work?
I always believe less is more. But how to make it interesting is always the key for me.
What are your plans for the future?
I would love to stay in London (or Europe), working at brands that I like to gain experience and hopefully have my own brand one day.
How do you think your course and LCF will help you achieve this?
I think the course has trained me to be a young professional. It has taught me the essential skills to be a footwear designer, a shoemaker, at the same time communicating ideas with technicians from different aspects. I’ve also learnt how to be responsible, solve problems and connect to people from literally everywhere.
Have you heard that LCF is moving to east London? What do you think about the move?
Yes. I think it’ll be convenient to have things all on one site, which will save time on travelling from sites to sites and of course meeting people from different professions. On the other hand, I think it’ll be a shame to lose the characteristics from individual campuses. Especially Golden Lane which to me has so much character in the building that would be sad to leave behind.
What music do you listen to whilst you’re working? Is there one particular track or artist that you like?
I always love listening to R&B- something groovy and it keeps me going. (favs: 90s and Solange) But I recently found that jazz calms me down but still motivating at the same time.
What do you think Brexit means for the fashion industry and studying in London?
I think it’ll definitely have some impact but London’s always been one of the most important fashion capitals and people would still be willing to study fashion here. However, it might affect on the number of students. In terms of the fashion industry, I think there might be decreases on the international sales, which would make up-raising brands struggle that is really a shame.
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