Student Spotlight: Louise Körner, finalist of the British Fashion Council X British Library Research Competition
An innovative collaboration showcasing the Library’s extensive digital collections for a design Competition based on themes of ‘Identity’ or ‘Disruption’; the British Fashion Council X British Library Research Competition culminated in a Virtual Awards Ceremony on Monday 22 March. We caught up with Louise to find out her thoughts on reaching the final of the Competition, the inspiration behind her submission and her future plans.
Hi Louise, firstly, let me congratulate you on making it to the finals of the British Fashion Council X British Library Research Competition! A really great achievement. Can you tell us about the Competition and why you decided to enter?
British Fashion Council X British Library Research Competition are highlighting the importance of academic research for fashion designers & students and how to make designers aware that you can use the British Library website’s vast amount of incredible resources; their UK national collections and massive digital online archive (that is completely free!).
The competition is about how academic research enhances your own fashion research, education and business, and that’s why I decided to enter! I felt the competition would further develop my approach to academic research and stimulate intellectual learning while creating a fashion collection of 8 looks. The competition also features other designers and student research work. The British Library resources inspires you to use them in different and non-traditional ways.
Tell us what the inspiration was behind your submission for the competition?
The inspiration behind the submission started from a print artwork that I stumbled across online of a forest fire from 1779 by Martin de Monchy. It was called “Vue en Suede Nommée Swedie-Land” from the King George III Topographical collection. I discovered that you could see artworks in very high resolution and read about the specific piece, which further developed my practice. I decided to research more into the forest fire and its impact on its surrounding landscape
My research unlocked ideas about how to use the concept of disruption as a design approach and how to embrace the disruption itself
I started to experiment with how to use a disruptive force, such as Fire, to allow a greater understanding of a transformative process and highlight the various issues surrounding the fashion industry today.
That’s an incredible concept and very timely. What have you learned from entering this competition?
I learned how massive the British Library Archive is online and how “by chance” you can stumble across a piece of artwork that triggers ideas and snowballs into design thoughts that you did not expect. I learned as well how your academic research becomes more enhanced, in depth and richer in content by studying and referencing inspirations from the British Library collections.
I felt that the competition was not just about submitting a "fashion collection" but contributing to your own academic learning and to further develop my own practice by exploring more deeply.
Absolutely! Really insightful. So what advice can you give to students looking to apply to similar competitions?
The advice I would give to someone applying for British Fashion Council X British Library Research Competition or other similar competitions is to use a different approach to research. As a finalist you have to present to a panel of judges that is made up of respected industry individuals. They were more interested in the approach to research processes and how I utilised the library’s vast online collections, rather than the outcome itself (the collection of 8-looks).
Instead of using the search engine in a “traditional way”, use it in an unorthodox way
What other projects have you been working on since finishing your studies?
The collection I created for my Masters studies at LCF was about “future-proofing” garments by implementing future garments at the design stage with the aim of prolonging their lifespan and addressing the increasing concerns around sustainability. I am testing out this concept with a local manufacturing company in the UK at the moment! It’s about producing a hidden collection within a collection to help reduce the amount of raw material used for a collection and extend a garment’s life cycle.
It’s about taking responsibility for your garment production and the avoidance of disposing of garments
Finally, what are your next steps?
I have received design requests that I am working on at the moment. I am preparing the look book shoot with some very exciting collaborative partners! Additionally, I am collaborating with the digital platform called Ecogether founded by two CSM graduates, that shares peoples stories to change the social trend around eco-friendly behaviour. We are collaborating on an immersive film that will be featured in their Exhibition which will take place on the 11th-17th of May in Seoul, South Korea!
Louise, It has been a pleasure talking to you. We wish you every success with your future endeavours!