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LCF x LCW: Heritage craft with BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring

Exhibition space with dismantled mannequin
  • Written byJ Tilley
  • Published date12 May 2022
Exhibition space with dismantled mannequin
LCF x London Craft Week exhibition at Fashion Space Gallery 2022. Photography by Ana Blumenkron
"To me 'craft' means uniqueness, precision, meaning and worth. Creating objects of value which tell a story about the wearer or the collector."

— Daniel Poulson - BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring Course Leader

London College of Fashion, UAL is hosting LCF x LCW, an exhibition of footwear, accessories, jewellery, tailoring and fashion artefacts, in Fashion Space Gallery as part of London Craft Week’s 2022 programme of events. We're delving deeper into the craft of each exhibiting course, starting with BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring, LCF x LCW will take place at Fashion Space Gallery between 9-31 May.

We're speaking with BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring Course Leader, Daniel Poulson and LCF Technician, Poppy Graham to get a 360 perspective on the infamous British heritage that is tailoring, and how these traditional practices influence the craft today.

Suit jacket
BA Bespoke Tailoring Year 3 2022 - Concept Development for Tailoring by Renee Augier. Photography by Alex Hall

Daniel Poulson - BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring Course Leader

Tailoring is an iconic craft within British Heritage. What traditional key craft and design concepts are still embedded into the course today?

Our prospective tailors at LCF have the power to re-imagine the body through cut and fit, these are fundamental practices which sit at the very heart of the course. We also benefit from the input of practitioners who uphold traditional skills & processes. Giving students these intrinsic tools means that they are then free to disrupt, re-invent and create new traditions for the future.

How does the course encourage responsible and sustainable design practices? 

Bespoke Tailoring in its very nature is a sustainable practice. It engages directly with the client to co-create authentically crafted pieces which have intrinsic value and meaning for the wearer. It's a celebration of slow-fashion with hand-craft processes at the core, often working in natural organic materials like wool. Our students work to eliminate waste by producing objects which have longevity and purpose.

In what ways does the course enable students to develop their distinctive, creative voice and individualistic expression?  

We embrace difference and individual creative expression which enrich both the learning environment & students' creative outputs, through research, material and process. We equip students with the tools to then explore their independent expression through Bespoke Tailoring, to become disruptive traditionalists, who respect craftsmanship by redefining its future.

How would you summarise the variety of work on display?

The Bespoke work on display, demonstrates a beautiful interplay of concept with tradition, where technique and process intersect through shape, form and material.

What does ‘craft’ mean to you? 

To me 'craft' means uniqueness, precision, meaning and worth. Creating objects of value which tell a story about the wearer or the collector.

shirt hanging on wall
LCF x LCW: Gesamtwerkskunst D. Radke - BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring @gesamtwerkskunst

Poppy Graham - Specialist Technician

What led you to become a technician – where has your career taken you so far?

I have always loved creative problem solving, which is what I think initially attracted me to tailoring. As a technician I work closely with students to help them come up creative technical solutions, which is really rewarding. The flexibility of the job and the fact that I am continuously developing a diverse set of skills means I am able to do a wide variety of industry work too. I currently work part-time as a shirt maker on Saville row as well as freelancing for a number of brands.

Why is Craft Week important?

Understanding the value of how things are made and inspiring innovation is what makes craft week important.

What are some misconceptions about the technical aspects of the design process?

I think people often underestimate the importance of patience and accuracy as well as how much time goes into it.

What does the word ‘craft’ mean to you?

To me craft means heritage, sustainability, slow fashion, quality, and attention to detail.