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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

An interview with Laura Mackness

Laura Mackness talks us through the role illustration plays in her bold geometric designs and the aspects of fashion she finds the most inspiring...

Written by Sally Mumby-Croft

Knitwear design student Phoebe Thirlwall was an unquestionable highlight of Graduate Fashion Week 2010. Her work demonstrated an impressive level of craftsmanship, cialis 40mg about it receiving recognition even before the shows when one of her dresses was photographed by Rankin. Phoebe’s final collection, see consisting of six looks, was a feast of beautiful and intricate knitwear. I caught up with Phoebe to learn a little more about the work that went into her final collection, and after the chaos of that week, what she plans to do next!

Graduate Fashion Week is a fantastic opportunity for students. How did it feel to have your work selected for the show?
It was really exciting because I had never expected to be selected, and when I found out I was obviously over the moon. It made such a difference to see my work on a raised catwalk, it felt so professional, and although I was really nervous when it went out, it was a great feeling to see it up there and being photographed. It is an amazing opportunity for students and it is a shame that everyone doesn’t get to go.

Why did you choose to study Knitwear Design over a general Fashion degree?
The Knitwear course at Nottingham Trent University involves a sandwich year in industry, which was one of the reasons I chose to study the course. Employers always want experience, so I felt that a year in the industry would be attractive to potential employers. I never particularly preferred knitwear over wovens, but when you are designing knitwear you have so much more freedom to create exactly what you want. If you are making an outfit from woven fabrics, although you can print on them etc, you are still limited by the fabric itself. When you knit an outfit, you can control the whole thing. You can knit the fabric however you want it and create different textures and patterns. Also, I like knitwear because you can knit the pieces of fabric to size. You can approach the whole outfit in a different way.

Where did you complete your work experience and how valuable was it to you?
My year in industry was spent in a family run knitwear factory called GH Hurt and Sons in Chilwel, Nottingham. It is a fairly small factory where lace knit is designed, made and constructed into various pieces. They create baby shawls and christening blankets sold in high end department stores and items of clothing for a number of luxury catalogue retailers. We also produced a lot of items for retailers overseas, such as the USA and Hong Kong. I was able to learn about the first steps of the process – receiving yarns on cones and in big hanks, to designing and knitting the pieces and finally how each item is made and finished to a high standard. It was also nice to see the items for sale and being worn because I always thought -’I made that!’ – which is a great feeling.

Can you explain a little about the techniques that you used? Did you have a lot to learn in terms of advanced skills?
The outfits I made are knitted mostly in silk and bamboo, with an elastic yarn that I used to create the patterns. I developed the technique by experimenting on a knitting machine to see what types of fabric I could create. I knew that I wanted to use elastic because it developed from my concept of skin, and also that I wanted to work with luxury fibres such as silk. I used a combination of rippled stitches, stripes and transferred needles on the front of the bed of the knitting machine to create the fabrics that I made my collection from. These are all techniques that I had learned in previous years, but putting them together required a lot of experimentation, and luck.

Was there much change in your work from the conception of the idea to the work we saw on the catwalk?
Yes. I had worked on the project since Christmas, so there was a lot of time for ideas and concepts to change. Initially, I had no idea what my collection was going to look like and I still didn’t until a few weeks before the show. I had no idea what type of fabric I would use, or what techniques. It wasn’t until I developed a fabric that I was happy with that the collection began to come together. At the beginning, I was thinking about the concept of shedding skin, more than the skin itself. This gradually changed throughout my research and development, into a more specialised study of the skin. I know that if I had stuck with my original thoughts, then the collection would look a lot different. It would probably be a bit more structured, rather than the more subtle and slim-line way it is turned out.

Which of the other graduate collections were you impressed by?
There were so many great collections. It’s good to see other peoples work because it is all brilliant. I loved all of the collections from Nottingham (slightly biased obviously), but there were many other Universities that I liked aswell. I was backstage when the De Montford show was going on, and some of those were amazing!

Nottingham has made a bit of a name for itself as a hub of creativity. What it has it been like for you?
I like Nottingham because it is a small city. It’s more like a town and everything’s quite compact. There are a lot of creative people who come to study here, but everywhere is quite laid back, which I like. It’s not over crowded with arty types. There are lots of students with different interests, and there are good places to go to eat, drink or shop. I suppose it has got a bit of a name for itself, but it’s a fairly down to earth city to live in. I’ve lived just outside the city centre for 2 years, and I’m going to be sad to leave.

You described your collection as ‘based on skin and flesh on the human body’. Where did this inspiration come from, and what else inspires you?
The inspiration for my collection came originally from a general interest in the skin and flesh. I think that this comes from being a vegetarian since I was 11. I have a strange relationship with food. I like things that are untouched. I won’t eat meat. I took this fascination with meat and flesh and developed it into a concept which I could look into for my collection. I get inspired by anything and everything really, usually something small and ordinary because you can look at it in more detail. I think that even something small and boring to others can become inspiring if you look at it enough.

New designers such as Mark Fast have shown us some other unique techniques with knitwear. Have you thought about how you could further your own skills?
It’s strange to think that a technique can be what ‘makes’ a designer. To me, Mark Fast developed this brilliant technique and ran with it. That’s great because I had never thought about design from that angle before. I always thought you had to constantly create different pieces all the time. Designers like Mark Fast are inspirational because they open your eyes to the possibilities of what can be done on a knitting machine. Missoni also creates such beautiful and unique knitwear. In a way, I would like develop my technique further, but I also would like to focus on new tasks and new direction.


Phoebe Thirwall, photographed by Rankin

One of your dresses was photographed by Rankin. How did it feel to learn that your dress was selected?
Amazing. It was sent down to London, but I never expected it to be photographed. Apparently the university sends items down every year and they rarely get selected to be photographed. When I found out that it had been chosen to be photographed I was really happy, by Rankin especially! The fact that Kate Shillingford from Dazed and Confused actually chose the pieces is overwhelming. It was about 2 months later that the pictures were released. Seeing my work on the Vogue website was mental!

You also received praise from the fashion bloggers. How have you found the attention?
It’s been completely surreal having people like Susie Bubble write about my work. She said it was one of her favourites from the photos, and so did Lucy Wood. I used to read about fashion graduates and imagined they had such exciting lives, but I’m just in my room with my cat and not really doing anything. It’s really strange seeing photos and articles about my work. I feel now like it isn’t even mine and I’m looking at someone else’s. It doesn’t seem real.

It has been two weeks since the show. What’s the plan now?
Is that all? It feels like a lot longer ago than 2 weeks. My collection is being sent over to Shanghai in September for Spin Expo, and a few of the outfits are being used in a photo shoot in July. My plans now involve finding a job, going to interviews and hopefully being hired. I want to move down to London to be nearer to my boyfriend. Ideally, I want to see clothes that I have designed, being made. I also really want a long holiday, somewhere nice and hot, where I don’t have to think about knitting!

Knitwear design student Phoebe Thirlwall was an unquestionable highlight of Graduate Fashion Week 2010. Her work demonstrated an impressive level of craftsmanship, tadalafil receiving recognition even before the shows when one of her dresses was photographed by Rankin. Phoebe’s final collection, troche consisting of six looks, was a feast of beautiful and intricate knitwear. I caught up with Phoebe to learn a little more about the work that went into her final collection, and after the chaos of that week, what she plans to do next!

Graduate Fashion Week is a fantastic opportunity for students. How did it feel to have your work selected for the show?
It was really exciting because I had never expected to be selected, and when I found out I was obviously over the moon. It made such a difference to see my work on a raised catwalk, it felt so professional, and although I was really nervous when it went out, it was a great feeling to see it up there and being photographed. It is an amazing opportunity for students and it is a shame that everyone doesn’t get to go.

Why did you choose to study Knitwear Design over a general Fashion degree?
The Knitwear course at Nottingham Trent University involves a sandwich year in industry, which was one of the reasons I chose to study the course. Employers always want experience, so I felt that a year in the industry would be attractive to potential employers. I never particularly preferred knitwear over wovens, but when you are designing knitwear you have so much more freedom to create exactly what you want. If you are making an outfit from woven fabrics, although you can print on them etc, you are still limited by the fabric itself. When you knit an outfit, you can control the whole thing. You can knit the fabric however you want it and create different textures and patterns. Also, I like knitwear because you can knit the pieces of fabric to size. You can approach the whole outfit in a different way.

Where did you complete your work experience and how valuable was it to you?
My year in industry was spent in a family run knitwear factory called GH Hurt and Sons in Chilwel, Nottingham. It is a fairly small factory where lace knit is designed, made and constructed into various pieces. They create baby shawls and christening blankets sold in high end department stores and items of clothing for a number of luxury catalogue retailers. We also produced a lot of items for retailers overseas, such as the USA and Hong Kong. I was able to learn about the first steps of the process – receiving yarns on cones and in big hanks, to designing and knitting the pieces and finally how each item is made and finished to a high standard. It was also nice to see the items for sale and being worn because I always thought -’I made that!’ – which is a great feeling.

Can you explain a little about the techniques that you used? Did you have a lot to learn in terms of advanced skills?
The outfits I made are knitted mostly in silk and bamboo, with an elastic yarn that I used to create the patterns. I developed the technique by experimenting on a knitting machine to see what types of fabric I could create. I knew that I wanted to use elastic because it developed from my concept of skin, and also that I wanted to work with luxury fibres such as silk. I used a combination of rippled stitches, stripes and transferred needles on the front of the bed of the knitting machine to create the fabrics that I made my collection from. These are all techniques that I had learned in previous years, but putting them together required a lot of experimentation, and luck.

Was there much change in your work from the conception of the idea to the work we saw on the catwalk?
Yes. I had worked on the project since Christmas, so there was a lot of time for ideas and concepts to change. Initially, I had no idea what my collection was going to look like and I still didn’t until a few weeks before the show. I had no idea what type of fabric I would use, or what techniques. It wasn’t until I developed a fabric that I was happy with that the collection began to come together. At the beginning, I was thinking about the concept of shedding skin, more than the skin itself. This gradually changed throughout my research and development, into a more specialised study of the skin. I know that if I had stuck with my original thoughts, then the collection would look a lot different. It would probably be a bit more structured, rather than the more subtle and slim-line way it is turned out.

Which of the other graduate collections were you impressed by?
There were so many great collections. It’s good to see other peoples work because it is all brilliant. I loved all of the collections from Nottingham (slightly biased obviously), but there were many other Universities that I liked aswell. I was backstage when the De Montford show was going on, and some of those were amazing!

Nottingham has made a bit of a name for itself as a hub of creativity. What it has it been like for you?
I like Nottingham because it is a small city. It’s more like a town and everything’s quite compact. There are a lot of creative people who come to study here, but everywhere is quite laid back, which I like. It’s not over crowded with arty types. There are lots of students with different interests, and there are good places to go to eat, drink or shop. I suppose it has got a bit of a name for itself, but it’s a fairly down to earth city to live in. I’ve lived just outside the city centre for 2 years, and I’m going to be sad to leave.

You described your collection as ‘based on skin and flesh on the human body’. Where did this inspiration come from, and what else inspires you?
The inspiration for my collection came originally from a general interest in the skin and flesh. I think that this comes from being a vegetarian since I was 11. I have a strange relationship with food. I like things that are untouched. I won’t eat meat. I took this fascination with meat and flesh and developed it into a concept which I could look into for my collection. I get inspired by anything and everything really, usually something small and ordinary because you can look at it in more detail. I think that even something small and boring to others can become inspiring if you look at it enough.

New designers such as Mark Fast have shown us some other unique techniques with knitwear. Have you thought about how you could further your own skills?
It’s strange to think that a technique can be what ‘makes’ a designer. To me, Mark Fast developed this brilliant technique and ran with it. That’s great because I had never thought about design from that angle before. I always thought you had to constantly create different pieces all the time. Designers like Mark Fast are inspirational because they open your eyes to the possibilities of what can be done on a knitting machine. Missoni also creates such beautiful and unique knitwear. In a way, I would like develop my technique further, but I also would like to focus on new tasks and new direction.


Phoebe Thirwall, photographed by Rankin

One of your dresses was photographed by Rankin. How did it feel to learn that your dress was selected?
Amazing. It was sent down to London, but I never expected it to be photographed. Apparently the university sends items down every year and they rarely get selected to be photographed. When I found out that it had been chosen to be photographed I was really happy, by Rankin especially! The fact that Kate Shillingford from Dazed and Confused actually chose the pieces is overwhelming. It was about 2 months later that the pictures were released. Seeing my work on the Vogue website was mental!

You also received praise from the fashion bloggers. How have you found the attention?
It’s been completely surreal having people like Susie Bubble write about my work. She said it was one of her favourites from the photos, and so did Lucy Wood. I used to read about fashion graduates and imagined they had such exciting lives, but I’m just in my room with my cat and not really doing anything. It’s really strange seeing photos and articles about my work. I feel now like it isn’t even mine and I’m looking at someone else’s. It doesn’t seem real.

It has been two weeks since the show. What’s the plan now?
Is that all? It feels like a lot longer ago than 2 weeks. My collection is being sent over to Shanghai in September for Spin Expo, and a few of the outfits are being used in a photo shoot in July. My plans now involve finding a job, going to interviews and hopefully being hired. I want to move down to London to be nearer to my boyfriend. Ideally, I want to see clothes that I have designed, being made. I also really want a long holiday, somewhere nice and hot, where I don’t have to think about knitting!

Knitwear design student Phoebe Thirlwall was an unquestionable highlight of Graduate Fashion Week 2010. Her work demonstrated an impressive level of craftsmanship, information pills receiving recognition even before the shows when one of her dresses was photographed by Rankin. Phoebe’s final collection, sales consisting of six looks, viagra dosage was a feast of beautiful and intricate knitwear. I caught up with Phoebe to learn a little more about the work that went into her final collection, and after the chaos of that week, what she plans to do next!

Graduate Fashion Week is a fantastic opportunity for students. How did it feel to have your work selected for the show?
It was really exciting because I had never expected to be selected, and when I found out I was obviously over the moon. It made such a difference to see my work on a raised catwalk, it felt so professional, and although I was really nervous when it went out, it was a great feeling to see it up there and being photographed. It is an amazing opportunity for students and it is a shame that everyone doesn’t get to go.

Why did you choose to study Knitwear Design over a general Fashion degree?
The Knitwear course at Nottingham Trent University involves a sandwich year in industry, which was one of the reasons I chose to study the course. Employers always want experience, so I felt that a year in the industry would be attractive to potential employers. I never particularly preferred knitwear over wovens, but when you are designing knitwear you have so much more freedom to create exactly what you want. If you are making an outfit from woven fabrics, although you can print on them etc, you are still limited by the fabric itself. When you knit an outfit, you can control the whole thing. You can knit the fabric however you want it and create different textures and patterns. Also, I like knitwear because you can knit the pieces of fabric to size. You can approach the whole outfit in a different way.

Where did you complete your work experience and how valuable was it to you?
My year in industry was spent in a family run knitwear factory called GH Hurt and Sons in Chilwel, Nottingham. It is a fairly small factory where lace knit is designed, made and constructed into various pieces. They create baby shawls and christening blankets sold in high end department stores and items of clothing for a number of luxury catalogue retailers. We also produced a lot of items for retailers overseas, such as the USA and Hong Kong. I was able to learn about the first steps of the process – receiving yarns on cones and in big hanks, to designing and knitting the pieces and finally how each item is made and finished to a high standard. It was also nice to see the items for sale and being worn because I always thought -’I made that!’ – which is a great feeling.

Can you explain a little about the techniques that you used? Did you have a lot to learn in terms of advanced skills?
The outfits I made are knitted mostly in silk and bamboo, with an elastic yarn that I used to create the patterns. I developed the technique by experimenting on a knitting machine to see what types of fabric I could create. I knew that I wanted to use elastic because it developed from my concept of skin, and also that I wanted to work with luxury fibres such as silk. I used a combination of rippled stitches, stripes and transferred needles on the front of the bed of the knitting machine to create the fabrics that I made my collection from. These are all techniques that I had learned in previous years, but putting them together required a lot of experimentation, and luck.

Was there much change in your work from the conception of the idea to the work we saw on the catwalk?
Yes. I had worked on the project since Christmas, so there was a lot of time for ideas and concepts to change. Initially, I had no idea what my collection was going to look like and I still didn’t until a few weeks before the show. I had no idea what type of fabric I would use, or what techniques. It wasn’t until I developed a fabric that I was happy with that the collection began to come together. At the beginning, I was thinking about the concept of shedding skin, more than the skin itself. This gradually changed throughout my research and development, into a more specialised study of the skin. I know that if I had stuck with my original thoughts, then the collection would look a lot different. It would probably be a bit more structured, rather than the more subtle and slim-line way it is turned out.

Which of the other graduate collections were you impressed by?
There were so many great collections. It’s good to see other peoples work because it is all brilliant. I loved all of the collections from Nottingham (slightly biased obviously), but there were many other Universities that I liked aswell. I was backstage when the De Montford show was going on, and some of those were amazing!

Nottingham has made a bit of a name for itself as a hub of creativity. What it has it been like for you?
I like Nottingham because it is a small city. It’s more like a town and everything’s quite compact. There are a lot of creative people who come to study here, but everywhere is quite laid back, which I like. It’s not over crowded with arty types. There are lots of students with different interests, and there are good places to go to eat, drink or shop. I suppose it has got a bit of a name for itself, but it’s a fairly down to earth city to live in. I’ve lived just outside the city centre for 2 years, and I’m going to be sad to leave.

You described your collection as ‘based on skin and flesh on the human body’. Where did this inspiration come from, and what else inspires you?
The inspiration for my collection came originally from a general interest in the skin and flesh. I think that this comes from being a vegetarian since I was 11. I have a strange relationship with food. I like things that are untouched. I won’t eat meat. I took this fascination with meat and flesh and developed it into a concept which I could look into for my collection. I get inspired by anything and everything really, usually something small and ordinary because you can look at it in more detail. I think that even something small and boring to others can become inspiring if you look at it enough.

New designers such as Mark Fast have shown us some other unique techniques with knitwear. Have you thought about how you could further your own skills?
It’s strange to think that a technique can be what ‘makes’ a designer. To me, Mark Fast developed this brilliant technique and ran with it. That’s great because I had never thought about design from that angle before. I always thought you had to constantly create different pieces all the time. Designers like Mark Fast are inspirational because they open your eyes to the possibilities of what can be done on a knitting machine. Missoni also creates such beautiful and unique knitwear. In a way, I would like develop my technique further, but I also would like to focus on new tasks and new direction.


Phoebe Thirwall, photographed by Rankin

One of your dresses was photographed by Rankin. How did it feel to learn that your dress was selected?
Amazing. It was sent down to London, but I never expected it to be photographed. Apparently the university sends items down every year and they rarely get selected to be photographed. When I found out that it had been chosen to be photographed I was really happy, by Rankin especially! The fact that Kate Shillingford from Dazed and Confused actually chose the pieces is overwhelming. It was about 2 months later that the pictures were released. Seeing my work on the Vogue website was mental!

You also received praise from the fashion bloggers. How have you found the attention?
It’s been completely surreal having people like Susie Bubble write about my work. She said it was one of her favourites from the photos, and so did Lucy Wood. I used to read about fashion graduates and imagined they had such exciting lives, but I’m just in my room with my cat and not really doing anything. It’s really strange seeing photos and articles about my work. I feel now like it isn’t even mine and I’m looking at someone else’s. It doesn’t seem real.

It has been two weeks since the show. What’s the plan now?
Is that all? It feels like a lot longer ago than 2 weeks. My collection is being sent over to Shanghai in September for Spin Expo, and a few of the outfits are being used in a photo shoot in July. My plans now involve finding a job, going to interviews and hopefully being hired. I want to move down to London to be nearer to my boyfriend. Ideally, I want to see clothes that I have designed, being made. I also really want a long holiday, somewhere nice and hot, where I don’t have to think about knitting!

Photography preseves a moment forever – it marks and preserves time as it has been spent. It is, and to draw Barthes into the conversation, purchase a memento mori. Amy Gwatkin’s photographs (BA Editorial Photography, Brighton) blur the boundaries between fashion, editorial and fine art. Amy’s frequently updated blog documents shoots, time spent in the studio with models or other-sometimes-coffee-relative-activities, and has an incredible talent for turning personal adventures into moments representing a snapshop of a life.

An exhibition late last year – Interior Politics – and the launch of a new website introduced me to Amy’s exploration into the minuite obsqure moments that life has to offer. More recently Amy has been experimenting with film, and has kindly taken the time to answer questions for Amelia’s Magazines.

Amy! When and why did you first pick up a stills camera?

Because using the film camera involved waiting on unrealiable people! And I instantly loved it. I was supposed to do something more bookish at uni, but the minute I found a camera I was smitten. I had been obsessed with fashion since I could toddle into my grandma’s/mum’s wardrobes; suddenly I had found a way that I could make imagery without having any drawing ability!

LIGHT from Amy Gwatkin on Vimeo.

Recently you’ve been experimenting with video: debuting with a video of the Cooperative Designs S/S 2010 Collection at London Fashion Week to the recent Light submitted as part of the Shaded View of Fashion, Fashion Film Festival – What inspired the expansion from static to moving?

I always wanted to make films…. Photography offered a way of making images that wasn’t reliant on other people. I’m still a total megalomaniac though! Very often it’s literally just me and a camera.

Showstudio have been attempting to develop the moving fashion photograph since the inception of their website, I love both the static and the moving – What are your favourite fashion videos?

I loved Ruth Hogben’s spanking movie. Sunshowers by Elisha Smith-Leverock. Chris Cunningham’s Flora film for Gucci. Gwendoline by Jez Tozer. And the men’s Dior one in a corridor, was it Dior? It was on Nowness and it was lush. I find at lot of fashion films very hit or miss though – the best were the re-edited Guy Bourdin footage that was on SHOWstudio, that I could, and do, watch over and over and over….

What made you decide to set up your blog? What do you think the advantages are of a blog vs a website?

Originally it was to give me some online presence as my old website was out of date and my new one was being built…then I just really got into it. I like that the blog can have more laidback images, where I have less of a professional front to put up. But I love how clean and tidy the site is.

Collage for the Cooperative Design Zine produced as part of London Fashion Week February 2010

You appear to be quite involved with the internet from your great twitter feed to your blog – what advantages do you think the system of blogs and twitter has created for photographers and fellow creatives?

Well, I guess it opens up little internet wormholes you wouldn’t have known about before…although I can follow a link and find myself, 2 hours later, marvelling at how many photographers there are doing the same sort of thing.

It’s a good platform for self promotion, though it does blur the line between business and pleasure a little uncomfortably at times

Do you streetcast your models?

I often see people on the street that I’m too nervous to ask! But sometimes I overcome my nerves long enough to street cast. I think I have a few characteristics I like, though its hard to nail them in words. A certain bad-temperedness maybe.

Your photograph reflects both fine art and fashion photographic interests – could you tell Amelia’s readers more about the photographs recently exhibited? (I’m thinking of the Familiarity breeds contempt and Modern Miniture series)

Familiarity Breeds Contempt is an extension of my long term project tentatively titled The Housewife – it’s hopefully the start of a longer project exploring sexuality, fantasy and what goes on behind closed doors. Which is also what Modern Miniatures was about in a way – only without the overt sexuality. I have a interest in the domestic, with other people’s domestic/private space, putting myself in them, and also, if I’m honest, with the risk involved in contacting strange men on the internet, asking them to get naked, and them taking pictures of me standing on them etc…

With fashion how do you make the decision between colour or black and white? Does it Matter?

I’m always trying to make things b/w, without sounding mental/pretentious/partially sighted, I see better in b/w. sometimes there’s someone else’s prerogative to take into account, like a client etc. black and white can sometimes make things instantly nostalgic and a bit too soft or romantic. Depends on the situation, but there are few where b/w doesn’t rock in my opinion!

Photograph for Corrie Williamson

Favourite photographers/people to work with/Set designers/fashion designers?

I rarely DON’T have a wicked time on shoots.

Sets – Alex Cunningham, David White’s sets for Coop a/w10/11 were mint
Designers – Cooperative Designs, Scott Ramsay Kyle, Corrie Williamson, Fred Butler, Atalanta Weller
Photograhers I admire – Wee Gee, Helmut Newton, Collier Schorr, Les Krims, Duane Michals, David Armstrong among MANY others!

What is it like being a london based photographer?

Fun! Busy. Forces you to work a lot to make ends meet, which can wear you down. Over saturated. Very youth orientated

What accompanies you in the studio?

My crappy selection of music! I always download the weirdest selection of stuff. Some proper howlers on there, but sometimes you have to listen to the Outhere Brothers. Also the lovely Anna Leader and Bella Fenning with whom I share my space.

What do you hope your photographs convey?

Tough…. I find it quite hard to look back, to edit etc, but having to do my website forced me to do that, and there is a certain strength in the characters I hope. I know some of the shots are quite moody, or gentle, but I don’t like it when models look too winsome or fashion-fierce or posed. Hopefully somewhere between the two, though I do seem to shout things like ‘you’re at a bus stop!’ or ‘You’re a sexy eel!’

How do your shoots come together?

Mostly ideas from films, dreams, or pacing the streets of London which is my fave thing to do. Or maybe a drunken overenthusiastic chat with friends

What are your plans for the future?

Hmm….more pics. More films, maybe a move to proper films with dialogue and a plot!

Laura Mackness graduated from Louise Wilson’s stella MA in Womenswear Fashion at Central Saint Martins in 2009 with a breathtaking collection where the cut and block colour of the fabric stood as the background to the graphic prints and playful illustrations. The collection consisted of straight cut trousers and leggings, and even appearing under the varied hemlines of the skirts! The graphic prints have since been developed into a collaboration with Weekday, online which was launched earlier this year to much celebration. Laura is currently in New York developing a new project, doctor but luckily had a few moments to talk to Amelia’s Magazine about the inspiration behind the MA collection. I cannot wait to see where this designer goes next…

The MA collection was incredibly illustrative through the choice of lines drawn onto the clothes. what role does illustration usually play in your design process?

It played a huge role in my MA collection as we worked tirelessly to make sure that the actual clothes were as close to my original drawings as possible, the weird proportions, placement of the print and particularly the width and angle of the shoulder. I am happy to say that what went down the catwalk was exactly the same as my drawings!

Subsequently, how would you describe your aesthetic?

I guess that you could say its minimalist/purist with a fun twist. An element of fun has always been essential in my design work, I don’t think that fashion should take itself too seriously! The minimalist/purist element is something that I worked on throughout the MA, as I already said I wanted my collection to be fun but I also wanted it to be taken seriously and be wearable and the minimal aesthetic seemed to offer up the perfect balance.

What first interested you about designing Womenswear?

A desire to design clothing for myself I guess is what first drew me to Womenswear. I also love the drama and the show of Womenswear that you don’t necessarily get with Menswear. I studied the BA Womenswear at CSM and subsequently went on to do this at MA.

Congratulations on winning the Colin Barnes Illustration Award during your BA! What is this award?

The Colin Barnes Illustration Award was something I was awarded whilst studying on the BA. It is an award given to students studying on the St Martin’s BA Fashion design course for their illustration. I was so surprised to receive it as I had always struggled with illustration until Howard Tangye made me realise that the way I draw doesn’t have to be the same way that everyone else draws! I owe him a lot for that!

You’ve mentioned in previous interviews an interest and a love for geometries ‘basic’ shapes – do these motifs often appear in your illustrations?

It does subconsciously I think, my drawings are often quite angular and square like! And going back to what I said about my aesthetic I am a big fan of pure, minimalist and clean things and what is more pure that a basic circle, square or triangle.

Do you draw outside of fashion design?

Not really as all my ladies (and they are always ladies) of course have to have great outfits on so I end up designing without even realising it. I don’t really have much time to do it anymore either which is a shame.

How would you describe your design process?

Backwards and Forwards, up and down, moments of genius and moments of disaster. Each collection is different and so forms its own process. I don’t have any hard and fast rules.

Who would you say informs your work, do you have a customer in mind during the design process?

I never have a specific customer. I collect images and build up a mood in that way. I am influenced by all sorts of things from all different sources. I see it as a bit like putting a jigsaw puzzle together.

How did your MA collection develop – from where did you inspiration come from?

I am a bit of a collector, especially when it comes to images and so the collection draws inspiration from many different reference points. The face, eyelashes etc. came from the work of François and Jean Robert, the hands were from some drawings that I found by Saul Steinberg and the shapes were from some of Jean Paul Goude’s work with Grace Jones particularly her ‘Slave To The Rhythm’ video. As I’ve already mentioned, once I have the designs they’re not changed at all and the development is all in making sure the clothes are just like the drawings.

Do you ever use re-cycled or up-cycled fabric in your designs?

I am ashamed to say that I didn’t in my MA, however I did explore using existing items of clothing etc a lot in my BA and it is definitely something that I would like to re visit in the future.

What fabrics do you enjoy working with?

I love wool jersey; in fact my whole collection was made out of it. I really like jersey as a whole, mainly because it allows you to do things without darts and seams, which allows the design to appear even more minimalist and clean.

Who are Francois and Jean Robert and what is Reggi – Secolo?

Francois and Jean Robert are Graphic designers/photographers who did the most fantastic book called Face to Face in which they photographed inanimate objects that appear to have or make different faces. It really is worth a look, for the concept but also for the clean beautiful look of the book itself.

As for Reggi-Secolo, this is a little crazy book of totally insane and genius bra’s, it really is quite amazing.

Who are your favourite designers and why?

I have long been a Martin Margiela fan; he was one of the first designers that really sparked my interest in fashion. I also love Yves Saint Laurent when Yves Saint Laurent was at the helm and Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel and of course Moschino when Franco Moschino was there. I also love Hermes for the fantastic quality and unwavering levels of good taste!

Could you describe your interest in ‘bad taste’ in our current cycle of fast fashion, and endless borrowing from the past? Or, more accurately returning to what were considered ‘fashion mistakes’ and re-inventing them, do you think what was once considered bad taste is now considered ‘good’ taste? Where is the line for you?

Good and bad taste for me is just a fascinating thing to play with. It is so easy to get it wrong and so hard to get it right and it can be the minutest detail that makes all the difference. I really couldn’t say where my line is, I think it varies depending on the object/image/garment etc that you are considering.

What do you think of twitter and the ever developing blogging network as a method of self promotion? Do you use either medium?

I think that Twitter and blogging are great if you know how to make the most of them and do them well, unfortunately I don’t and so I will leave it to the experts.

What was your experience of work experience, what do you recommend about the experience and what did you take away from it?

Work experience for me was essential and it was also the time that I really developed into a designer. It makes it all more real, you realise that these things that you are designing do actually end up being worn! I would fully recommend it to anyone thinking about doing it.

Will you be showing at London Fashion Week this Autumn?

I am afraid not, as much as I would love to I feel that I still need to get a bit more experience before I have my own label and so I am going to work in New York for a while starting in June where I have an exciting new project to work on. I have just finished working on and promoting my Weekday collection. The collaboration was a wonderful project for me to work on and I am so pleased that my designs are now available to a wider audience.

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