Last month, at the WIE Awards, two LCF students were selected as winners of the LDNY project during a special fashion show. The show was the outcome of a year long collaborative competition between LCF’s womenswear and menswear students, Parson’s New York, and female artisans from across the world.
We caught up with winners Nayana Kodesia and Effie Osuji, both BA Fashion Design and Development, to find out more about their winning designs. Their collections will go on sale in Liberty in July.
LCF News: Can you tell us a bit about the LDNY project you have been involved in?
Nayana: The project was a competition held by the LDNY foundation, the foundation along with the United Nation encourages upcoming designers and women artisans from around the world. The project allowed us to work closely with the artisans and incorporate their intricate techniques into modern clothing.
LCF News: How did you find out about the chance to work on this project?
Effie: LDNY approached LCF as they wanted to form a partnership with a central London based design school with high prestige. They chose to work with the Fashion Design and Development course for the well-rounded nature of both freedom and commercial awareness our course comes with.
LCF News: Tell us a bit more about your designs and the inspirations behind them…
Nayana: The collection is an amalgamation of the structured and fluid silhouettes with a focus on intricate traditional Indian embroidery and beadwork techniques, brought together to create a modern and unique style.
It has been inspired by the vibrant cities of New York and London in the 1920’s. The focus being the flamboyant New York flapper lifestyle depicted by Fitzgerald in his book ‘The Great Gatsby’ juxtaposed with the tailored London look of the famous 20s character Sherlock Homes.
Effie: I’m obsessed with subcultures and thought it would be great to combine a youth culture both cities were known for; the birth of Hip-Hop in New York and the London way of punk. I was excited by the idea that Hip-Hop and Punk youth cultures began around the same time in the 1970s. Though they aesthetically look very different, the attitude is the same. This is what excited me taking two similar opposites and creating a clash.
LCF News: What has been the highlight of the project for you?
Nayana: The highlight of the project has been the ability to work with the artisans. It was an honour to incorporate their hand-crafted techniques into my designs. The project also allowed me to enhance my technical skills and gain industry experience. The project has also given me a lot of exposure as a designer even before I graduate and I am extremely grateful to LCF and the LDNY Foundation for that.
Effie: One highlight, which was truly amazing, was working with the artisans. Having the opportunity to work directly with them and spend a few days with them is something I count myself really lucky for. To be able to see them work their crafts was truly inspiring. They explained their craft and the history behind them and tried to teach us too. It was a privilege to spend time with these talented, creative and fun women!
The other highlight was the final show, to see it all come together at the end. The show was incredible. The venue was beautifully grand and the team backstage were great. That’s the moment when you think, all that hard work was worth it. We had some great press and had many celebrity’s attend; Daisy Lowe, David Gandy, Joanna Lumley, Erin O’connor, Malika Firth and Dermot O’leary just to name a few!
LCF News: How did working with the artisan crafts from the UN programme influence your work? Why do you think projects like these are important?
Nayana: Working with the artisans opened my mind to a whole new range ideas and techniques that can be incorporated into clothing. The project also influenced my final year dissertation project, which aims towards creating high quality and timeless pieces using traditional handicraft techniques with modern silhouettes to create high quality and timeless pieces, in order to promote artisans and provide them with ethical working conditions in the east.
Effie: Working with the artisans was a huge influence in my work. Firstly, it expanded what I could do and what I could make a reality. Their techniques were completely new to me. And this only added more interesting factors to my designs. Their craft is very intricate.
It also made me broaden my thinking. There were many of the artisans’ techniques that I wanted to incorporate in my collection, purely just because I loved them! At times I found it hard to figure how I could make it enhance my designs whilst showing off the amazing craftsmanship. It was a continuous joint effort and once it was right, it was an incredible feeling.
Projects like these are important to broaden a designer’s knowledge. It teaches us new techniques and new ways of thinking. It also works like this for the artisans. Collaborating is one of the best ways to learn new things and heighten your experimentation.
LCF News: What was it like seeing your work on the catwalk at the WIE awards?
Nayana: Watching my collection go down the runway made me extremely proud and thankful towards everyone who was involved during this project. It was a dream come true. I was happy to see my collection realised from paper to 3D exactly as I envisioned it. The whole project has been an amazing experience and I am so grateful to be part of such an inspirational project.
Effie: Surreal! Once the music started and the first model walked out, it was so exciting. To see my clothes on professional models down the catwalk was incredible. To have inspirational women and some famous guests come to watch the show was the cherry on top. It only instilled in me how badly I wanted this to happen more. It’s hard to find the words for how proud you feel afterwards.
LCF News: How does it feel knowing your designs will be sold in Liberty?
Nayana: It is unreal that my designs will be sold in liberty! It is an amazing opportunity and I am extremely excited. The garments will be sold in Liberty in July 2015.
Effie: Shocking. Unreal. Words cannot describe. This is a designers dream come true. I’m so excited to see the collection in the store. It reminds me how all the hard work and all-nighters was so worth it. I feel so lucky to have been involved in this. And to have this happen early on in my career, really is a pinch yourself moment.
LCF News: What’s next for your future career?
Nayana: Currently I am working on my final year collection. I plan to learn further by working in the industry and hope to gain as much experience as possible, to perhaps launch my own label in the near future.
Effie: I’ve been on placement with 2 companies for the last year and return to uni this autumn. I will spend the summer working at another internship whilst also starting the beginnings of my final year collection. I want to really concentrate on building a menswear brand with a clear concept in mind. So for the near future, I will be trying to get as much experience as possible within the industry and try and get my work out there as much as possible.
- BA Fashion Design and Development
- Read about the WIE Awards
- Find out more about the LCFxLDNY partnership