LCF BA (hons) Fashion Design and Development student Adelaida Sutiagina is already a rising star on the design circuit after winning the 18/19 Glovers Company student design competition and being a finalist in this year’s Stitchsmith Prize for Design.
The Glovers Company student glove design competition is run annually to encourage practical and innovative glove design, and an awareness of hand protection in an industrial environment. The competitions are sponsored by The Glovers Company and the winners in all categories receive cash prizes, which are presented at a formal luncheon in a City of London Livery Hall.
In contrast, the annual Stitchsmith Prize for Design focuses on print design for an innovative clutch bag which can be re-covered again and again, allowing you to upcycle pieces of fabric which would have otherwise gone to landfill.
As she prepares for her final year with LCF, we caught up with Adelaida to explore the inspiration behind her entries.
Hi Adelaida, thanks so much for catching up with us. Its great to hear you’re seizing every opportunity in your time with LCF, and congratulations on your successes! Could you tell us why you decided to enter the competitions?
Lindsey Riley, our Programme Director for Product, is actually a member of The Gloves Company. She makes an annual brief lecture about gloves production and gives details about the competition. All this is intended to attract the student’s attention and it actually works! Lindsey also runs a couple of workshops where she shows her own amazing collection of gloves (my favourite are black gloves with feathers), and gives some advice on designing and drawing gloves as well as on the technical part. I do love gloves and used to wear them a lot. So, to design one looked like an interesting challenge to me!
Some of my course-mates argued that this competition was mainly targeting the Accessory Design course, but I did not agree. I enjoy trying new things.
I think it helps to find yourself, to find your own direction. I mean, why not to try my abilities beyond the frames of my course? Why not to design gloves? Who knows, what if I like it too and I would be better as an accessory designer?
The same reasons made me to enter the Stitchsmith Prize for Design. I was curious. The challenge here was to create a print for a clutch. Yes, I already knew how to make a seamless pattern, but it was interesting to create one. I wanted to see what the jury would say… I think that a creative person should not bind themselves to rules and boundaries, but try as much as they can. Experimenting and finding something you really like to do, for me, is the main purpose of my time as a student. Although graduation is not a reason to stop exploring new things!
Definitely not! What was the main inspiration behind your designs?
The Glovers Company student gloves design competition had two tasks within it, the first was to create a pair of gloves based on a traditional craft. I remembered how my family visited Suzdal – a beautiful and famous Russian town. I was a child then, but the beautiful lace birds made from wood impressed me most. This lead me to base my design on traditional Russian woodwork – the Bird of Happiness or Pomors Dove. The Bird of Happiness is made without glue or other fasteners, by carving thin petals for the bird’s wings and tail and then using a special method of spreading and curving them. The plumage and tail of these birds were usually made of split pine, that is why the birds were called “wood chip”.
The second task was to use utility gloves as an inspiration and translate them into luxury, so I chose historic knight’s gauntlets as inspiration. They are grey suede leather gloves with white palm and contrast panel on sleeves. The gloves are decorated with rivets, and metal bracelet-like details at the upper end of sleeves. Fabric folds on fingers imitate armour plates of original gauntlets. The grey suede leather refers to armour’s natural colour while the white details hint at gauntlets’ soft leather lining.
With the Stitchsmith Prize for Design, the story behind my work also stems from a family trip! To a sunny country with difficult story, and one of my brightest impressions from there - pomegranates. They are everywhere! real trees, ceramic objects, fresh juice. So, I feel some kind of connection with this fruit now, it reminds me about the time I spent there. I don’t know how others feel, but I find I need some motivation to do things, and the Stitchsmith competition was a perfect motivation.
In the Stitchsmith Prize for Design I was only shortlisted and of course, I want to win. However it’s wasn’t a goal, losing is also a good lesson. I’ve analysed the winning works and feedback, so I’m going to try again next year, I think I have better sense about what they want to see now.
What do these achievements mean for you and your journey as a designer?
First of all, I need these achievements to proof myself that I was worth something, to make sure that I’m not wasting chances.
It is not easy finding yourself surrounded by so many talented and creative people. You’ll inevitably wonder if you really belong here. “Am I good enough,” is really my common thought.
It is a destructive habit to compare yourself to others… But it’s the most powerful motivation existing. Competitions also help not to be afraid of uncommon tasks. This is a safe place to try. So, the best way to learn. They also help to become noticed, which is extremely important in such competitive industry as Fashion.
Taking part in recognised competitions and projects with industry is a great way of developing your skills and showcasing your talent. We’re glad you were able find success and wish you the best of luck for your final year!