Emma Hamshare is a designer and textile artist who graduated from London College of Fashion with a first and a scholarship to create her debut collection. After winning a place on the Creative Crafts programme at Cockpit Arts in Deptford she has begun to set up her label äelska from her studio space.
Her inspiration, she explains, comes from phonetic units such as text or musical notation. “I spent a lot of time in libraries researching my graduate collection, and developed an interest in the theory of how we read words, and the interconnecting nature of all these symbols to form words or music.”
The resulting graduate collection was a mix of simultaneously delicate and strong lace collars, trousers and dresses. Emma explains she was interested in trying to manipulate a delicate material like lace to behave in a stiff nature. To achieve this strong yet fragile effect Emma uses lost of interfacing to create a thick, durable material. She then uses laser cutting technology to create the intricate lace like patterns. During this process the edges of the fabric become slightly singed with the heat, which adds a lovely, antique effect to the lace.
Her biggest selling items are the collars. “One woman came in and gasped, she said it reminded her of her childhood school collar.” Resembling Victorian items of this nature, the collars make a perfect addition to a plain top and come in either a rounded or pointed variety.
However the pièce de résistance is a pair of spectacularly huge trousers. These trousers were inspired by Emma’s research into perspective drawings, and the Bauhaus dances, in which the dancers wore large geometrically shaped costumes and as they twirl they resemble wooden tops spinning.
Emma also designs T shirts complete with a black pointed collar printed onto the neck. She explains that she wanted to stick with the motif of the collar to gauge whether people would respond well to her aesthetic. “My mind works on a very grand scale, and my plans are huge” Emma admits, “so I have to be disciplined and start small.” However she is keen to experiment on a much larger scale in the future, and would like to move into public artwork. “I love the idea of the juxtaposition of minute and huge, minute intricate lace but in a huge sculpture.”
Emma’s collection of abstract yet pretty pieces strike a harmonious note, and a breath of fresh air in an industry saturated with middle of the road, safe clothing. I would wager äelska is a name to watch out for in 2010.
- Michael Whittle Exhibition
- Royal College of Art MA Degree Show 2011 Review: Textile Design
- Barking and Dagenham College: HNC and HND Fine Art Graduate Show 2011 Review
- An interview with textile designer Emma J Shipley
- Graduate Fashion Week 2010: Edinburgh College of Art