irritation of the oyster, creates the pearl

first year fashion design student blogging about things….

Burberry Prorsum A/W 2012

Today saw the showing of Burberry Prorsum’s A/W 2012 collection at London Fashion Week. I was personally blown away with it and felt it deserved to shared everywhere.

Military influences are evident in the colour palette and traditional tailored jackets with also an injection of classic Burberry check, tweeds and stripes which created a perfectly acceptable collision of town and country.

Hope you enjoy!



East meets West

When asked to describe something significant from the 60s, nine times out of ten people will mention the summer of love and hippies! Although all that flower power was interesting does anyone understand where the ingredients for this culture change emerges from?!

Like most things the hippy culture was publicised and brought to society through iconic people of the time – musicians, intellectuals and even politicians. I discovered that popular musicians, The Beatles were inspired by a trip they took to India in 1968 which was then penetrated into Western society through their music and choice of clothes. For example a jacket originally worn by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was then made famous in the UK by The Beatles and dubbed ‘the Nehru jacket’. It resembled a tailored, fitted suit like jacket and measured to hip length. Followers of the hippy culture would wear the jacket with beads in order to represent their cultural style.

Another fashionable trait to reach Western culture from the East was tie-dying. Originating from an Indian resist-dying technique called bandhani which in Hindi means to dye or bind. The process consists of binding small areas of fabric and dipping into coloured dye in order to create circular patterns and motifs.

Even further west poet Allen Ginsberg was introducing Eastern religion to Americans. There was a large interest amongst rebellious youths in art, culture and religion in America during the 60s. Influences from Indian culture was welcomed through Ginsberg’s lecturing periods in colleges.

Typical Nehru jacket


Pure London

This week there was no class, instead we were allowed to visit the Pure London trend show at Kensington Olympia. Having never been to a trend show this was quite exciting. There was a presentation on next seasons trend forecast from an industry expert at WGSN, 100s of independent brands showcasing their next season collections, shows throughout the day and freebies!

Although many of the brands will probably make their way into high street stores as concessions, many of which I dont tend to shop in, there were still a lot of other elements for me to take away. Seeing the type of colour ways on display, fabrics and prints and also accessories and footwear trends provided me with my own inspiration to build design ideas and my next season wardrobe.

Held twice yearly, I will definitely be in attendance for the next one.

Some (badly photographed) images below of an afternoon show by WGSN.





‘La Pretiosa’

In last week’s class it was briefly mentioned that a new handbag has been created following the emergence of a Leonardo da Vinci drawing.

Intrigued by this I managed to find some articles online detailing the story. Italian designer Gherardini has recreated a handbag design originally drawn by renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci in the 15th Century. The drawing was originally found in 1978 but after being overlooked for more than 30 years, art historian Alessandro Vezzosi has republished the drawing which is now being brought to life by Gherardini.

The limited edition bag named ‘La Pretiosa’ which means precious will be on sale in March 2012 and only 99 pieces will be available. All will be handcrafted in Florence, Italy out of calfskin leather and brass and each will come with a book on Da Vinci.

In relation to what we are learning in class this type of news represents how designers across the globe and influenced and driven in design by all manner of concepts. This one being art and an artist. It is also clear that designers embrace and value their cultural history and will frequently take inspiration from this when considering new collections.

Below are images and a short video demonstrating the construction of the unique bag.


A trip to Paris

Last night I arrived in Paris, -4 degrees and somewhat cloudy! A city I’ve never been to but fully appreciate why it is championed for classic fashion. With some of the most influential and powerful designers emerging from this city I felt eager to soak up everything.

While here something I definitely want to capture are elements of architecture and outdoorsy things that have previously inspired designers in collections. I want to understand how the environment can be channeled into design and shape. The current climate is great starting point as arctic conditions are also inspiring many designers with their A/W collections for 2012. French designer Roland Mouret  being one of them is noted for being inspired by the coldest winter on French record in 1947. Referred to as the “big freeze” then Mouret began thinking of ideas of layering and folding garments in order to protect the body in a sort of military fashion but cleverly transforming the garments into elegant, feminine and soft pieces. And not only using the inspiration in the silhouette but executing it into the colour palette too.

Below are images of his recent collection showcased at Paris Fashion Week.


Group presentations – 60s to the 00s

This week’s lesson started off with some group presentations from the class, each covering a different decade between 1960-2010. I was part of a group that covered the 1970s, below are the slides from our presentation with notes on each slide.

It was interesting to hear the rest of the classes interpretation of some significant periods in time and below I have documented the information that stood out to me and provoked further thought.

Group 2 covered the 1960s and mentioned a subculture (Tropicalia) that emerged in the latter part of the decade, mainly in parts of Brazil. The movement was primarily art based and expressed through music, poetry and theatre and was adopted by musicians of the time such as Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Torquato Neto. Further research presented me with knowledge that music pioneers of today are still citing elements of Tropicalia in their own music including one of my all time favourites, Devendra Banhart. Expression today is not only displayed through music but clothing, hair and mind which is evidence of previous cultures having a lasting impression on society.

Group 5 covered the 1980s and touched on hip hop culture was interesting and refreshing to hear because normally when asked about 80s culture there is an abundance of information on new romantics and Vivienne Westwood. Hip hop began developing in the south Bronx area of New York and is now a cultural that spans across the globe. Known as the “Godfather” of hip hop, Afrika Bambaataa founded the subculture Zulu Nation as a means to channel violence and aggression into creativity energy. As a result a new type of fashion arose also, gang members adorning a mass of gold jewellery (now dubbed as bling), wearing clothes several sizes too big creating a loose baggy silhouette and a rise in trainers. Hip hop fashion also gave birth to the term “ghetto fabulous” which can be seen as a type of look embraced by followers today.

Vexed Generation

This week we were given a presentation on Joe’s label ‘Vexed Generation’. Some prior research into the brand gave me a glimpse into Joe’s work however, it was great to hear ‘The Story’ from a designer perspective.

Vexed facts

  • Established in 1993
  • Founders – Joe Hunter and Adam Thorpe
  • Used innovative designs to promote positive social change
  • Produced the first Teflon treated denim in 1997
  • First store opened in 1995 on Newbury St (parallel to Carnaby St)
  • Went onto open three other stores including one on Berwick St
  • Flooring in the ‘Grow Room’ store was covered entirely in one pence pieces which amounted to £750
  • Currently collaborating with Louis Vuitton and Nokia, separately.

Some really interesting information was shared which again provided us with a backdrop to begin relevant research. Joe explained the rationale behind various decisions made with regards to store fixtures and layouts which was truly inspiring. My understanding of Vexed Generation’s values is to create a new type of streetwear that is innovative in design, incorporates a level of security, serves more than one purpose but also represents a positive backlash to crime. Vexed have a clear mission of creating awareness into the lives of civilians in the UK and I think they have definitely surpassed in delivering just that through their clothes.

A short video here shows my tutor and co founder of Vexed Generation speaking about his hometown and the Vexed label.

Introduction to the module

To kick start Semester B Joe gave the class an overview of the module – Professional Contexts – a flavour of information which we will then dig beneath the surface and blog our own research/interests here.

Week by week we will explore a different period in time focussing on LE PEST C factors. LE PEST C standing for Legal, Economic, Political, Environmental, Socio-cultural, Technological and Competitive forces are all macro factors that in one way or another influence change. Designers and trend forecasters will look to LE PEST C for inspiration on future collections, society and culture will be effected in their own way too.

The objective will be to “explore the parameters that define fashion” and from this perform our own contextual research which will then go on to support our own vision of influence.

I found the lecture very inspiring and engaging. Joe encouraged debate and highlighted interesting points which triggered the basis of my research. We touched on a few things that were covered in our previous marketing lectures, which proved helpful because Joe just emphasised what we had already learnt. It also offered us an opportunity to express our own understanding into the context.