Final year fashion design students Niamh Davies and Bethan Jones sat down with us to discuss their Graduate fashion week nominated final collections.
Bethan Jones is 23, studying fashion design in her fourth year after taking a year out in the industry, her future goal is to be a sportswear designer. Bethan’s final collection is definite eye catching, with a new and innovative take on the classic puffer coat, Bethan combines functionality and maximalism for a harmonious outcome. The collection is inspired by her dissertation research topic; “i wrote my dissertation about breast biomechanics and sports bras, it started with that and then became about breast support and functionality”.
For her final collection, Bethan blended the minimalism and maximalism trends together to form a function versus aesthetic led garment design; “I wanted to mix high support functional pieces with this maximalist outer garment”. The collection is formed of the base pieces; leggings and sports bra, then the big puffer jacket. “It’s to encourage everyone to move around everyday”.
Bethan’s main inspiration was the Stella McCartney X Adidas collaboration; “I love their stuff, I looked at high street collaborations with sportswear brands, so I loved Stella McCartney’s collaboration with Adidas and then Lululemon and Roksanda”. Bethan also took inspiration for the minimum maximalist idea from unexpected brands; “I loved North Face X Gucci, the function of the sportswear brands and then the high fashion as my maximalism, I tried to do something like that”.
The wider message of the collection is beyond how the garments look, it’s all about user comfort and functionality. Bethan strongly believes women should not have to sacrifice comfort for aesthetics; “The mission is to captivate optimism, emphasising form and function. So it’s to push the boundaries of function and aesthetic, promote longevity and make movement easier through innovation”.
One thing Bethan wants to make known is her emphasis on research into breast support within the sports bra field; “All the sports bras out there are just uncomfortable and not nice looking, I want to create a sports bra that does the job but doesn’t look horrible and is comfortable”. Bethan has began to touch on this with her collection, where she completed motion capture experiments to understand how effectively sports bras work.
The collection began to take form prior to Christmas with toile designs taking shape. The collection took final form at the end of March “I have been designing it since September, doing my research and then sampling, I actually started making it in February”.
Next we spoke to Niamh Davies, age 21 and also studying fashion design, although Niamh is not 100% sure of her career path, she aims to focus it within the fashion industry.
Niamh Davies’ final collection
Niamh’s collection takes inspiration from rave culture post and pre pandemic; “I started my research into rave culture in the 80s/90s ,focusing on acid house, the movement shared a free spirited energy which I wanted to resemble in my collection with the pandemic restrictions slowly disappearing”.
Niamh’s eye catching design style is due to her key inspirations of Raf Simons Spring Sumer 2000 collection, Poster Girl and Lowe. But the wider message of the collection is one of freedom; “Due to the considerable impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on young people’s lives. Summer of 2022 will be the summer of ‘freedom’”. Niamh emphasised how many young people lost their self expression during the lockdown but believes with the restrictions slowly lifting, young people will be able to do this once more. “My intentions are to create an inclusive collection suitable for everyone. Using design details that are size and shape conscious, suitable for all body shapes, I hope to create a collection that will make the wearer radiate confidence”.
Overall, Niamh spent two weeks constructing the collection for her hand in on March 22nd but has been sampling and toiling since February.
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