How would you describe your course at Loughborough University
Loughborough University has it’s own School of the Arts Department which is particularly reputable for Textiles. During my time at the University I specialised in Printed Textiles, where there are extensive facilities to produce a wide variety of manually printed outcomes. These facilities to hand render my designs have given me full control over the colour, the placement or repeat design and many other technical aspects of printing. The Print Room Technical staff have an abundance of knowledge that they continually share. Be it technical advice or a simple note that helps to speed up a process. Alongside learning a vast amount of manual printing techniques, throughout my course I have become very familiar with Photoshop and Illustrator. Using this design software I am able to confidently produce digital designs which can be printed onto a large range of fabrics; a very common way of producing printed designs within industry.
Tell us about the ideas behind your work at Free Range? How did you arrive at the design?
I love to visit Cornwall and so this was an obvious starting point for my Final Major Project. Inspired by my favourite seaside locations along the North Coast of Cornwall, this swimwear fashion collection strongly reflects my passion for sportswear design. My narrative compositions are created in delicate, feminine pastel shades to portray the picturesque Cornish scenes and provide an innovative take on sportswear.
What advice would you give to people looking to start a degree in textile design?
Never stop drawing.
What is your favorite material to work with?
Printing onto silk using acid dyes. Rather than sitting on top of the fabric and creating different surface qualities, acid dyes absorb into the fabric leaving the finished product feeling just as soft to touch as it did before printing. With this type of dye you can produce really vibrant colours. Throughout my Final Major Project I also did a lot of experimenting with printing onto Lycra for my Swimwear Collection. I discovered the most successful way to print onto Lycra was to use digital dye sublimation techniques. This involves a printing using an industrial scale heat press which also produces beautiful rich colours.
Where do you look for inspirations for your works?
Travel is my inspiration. Whenever I visit new places, I record my stay by sketching, taking photographs, and collecting objects that relate to and remind me of that place.
Best advice you were given during the course?
It was advice towards choosing my dissertation topic. In my first dissertation meeting I discussed all the reading I had done based around the politics, economics and social issues of the globalisation of fashion. We briefly discussed how these ideas could be translated into a piece of writing. It didn’t excite me at all. At the very end of the meeting I mentioned an article I had read, covering the recent technological developments in swimwear and how it may affect the upcoming Olympics. That day my dissertation plan changed completely. I wrote about sport and swimming, the things that interest me the most. I achieved a first in the assignment AND thoroughly enjoyed writing it. Draw and write about the things you love the most, it makes sense.
Good textile design is…
Good textile design is careful consideration of scale, application and target market. In my opinion, the most important qualities in a textile designer are a great imagination and the courage to draw and create whatever you believe in
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