Last Month students from LCF’s BA (Hons) Fashion Sportswear course and the MDes International Fashion Production Management came together in Dalston, to celebrate the relaunch of the Circle Collective store. The evening featured an in-store catwalk show as well as the announcement of the winning LCF students, who took part in an industry project collaboration between LCF and the charity.

Circle Collective shop. Photography by Matt Chung.

Circle Collective shop. Photography by Matt Chung.

The students contributed their own unique specialisms to the delivery of fashion products that have helped to promote Circle and its objectives, in “creating opportunities and changing the lives of young people.” The BA Sportswear students were briefed to design a garment that represents the charity, while the MDes students, were tasked with finding the best way of putting the winning design into production. We spoke to the winners, Melissa Barragan from the BA Fashion Sportswear course and Aimee Kelly from MDes International Fashion Production Management about their work.

Winning LCF students Aimee Kelly and Melissa Barragan. Photgraphy by Matt Chung.

Winning LCF students Aimee Kelly and Melissa Barragan. Photgraphy by Matt Chung.

How did you find out about the competition?

Melissa: In our second year we have three industry projects, and the first was the collaboration with Circle Collective, who approached us with the aim of helping them to give a new dynamic to their shop.

Aimee: The competition was part of our final term project, so my course leader informed the class at the start of term.

Melissa, what did you design?

I designed an outwear jacket, featuring a detachable backpack. The backpack is removable and integrated to the jacket for camouflage. The characteristics of the backpack are that one side offers pockets and the other side is waterproof to protect any items held in it.

Aimee, what did you first think of the winning design?

WOW! The jacket looked like something from a retailer and the concept was very clever – a bag in a jacket! It was quite overwhelming when we got told we had to re-engineer the jacket in order to reduce production costs, and for it to be manufactured in the uk, with Melissa’s design still in mind. Scary!

Melissa, how did you come up with the concept for the garment – what ideas did you use?

Firstly, I looked at the surroundings of the shop, Hackney and Dalston – this was the first step of the brief. My inspiration comes directly from the street art. From there, I decided to recontextualize graffiti with a contemporary approach. I was inspired by “Spidertag” – Spidertag is an artist who creates abstract graffiti using the technic of string art. String art consists into recreating a pattern using thread and nails.

The design of my jacket comes from the research of assembly of string art. Creating different lines from this technique made me consider various layers into one garment. From there, I extracted these layers and imagined a backpack integrated into the garment.

The concept was to design a jacket suitable for graffers [graffiti artists]. Through my research, I created a concept of removable backpack that they could put their items into. The idea is to offer practicality, camouflage and versatility. I think the concept suited the brief because the jacket emerges from the street art culture and reflects the uniqueness of Hackney.

Aimee, how did you go about finding a way to put Melissa’s garment into production?

Melissa’s patterns were complex – you could see how much hard work she had put into it, but production doesn’t need to be complex. I simplified the jacket and came up with the idea to keep it both practical and fashionable, by making it reversible.

At first I had so many ideas running through my head but I made sure I stuck to the brief. I researched fabrics and trimmings, which would fit the price point while keeping the designs in mind. I changed my initial design several times because of the complexity and coatings of certain materials, but overall I’m really pleased with the outcome and can’t wait to see it, once it’s been produced.

How do you feel about seeing the garment go into production?

Melissa: I am really glad I won the project! It was the first time I had the opportunity to work for an industry and contextualize my practice into the real world. I worked very hard and challenged myself to create this jacket. I consider this the first step in my career. I am really excited to see that my work will be produced – it gives me a lot of motivation to continue challenging myself.

Melissa Barragan's winning design.

Melissa Barragan’s winning design.

Aimee: It’s crazy I never thought I’d win, never mind my jacket be produced! I’m very proud of the jacket and the work I’ve done and to have seen the prototype in Circle Collective’s shop, before going into the production was an amazing feeling.

What’s your favourite thing about studying at LCF?

Melissa: My favourite thing about studying at LCF is the opportunities we have been offered. Is it a real motivation to keep working hard and believe in your ideas.

Aimee: The amount you push and surprise yourself each term – you excel your expectations of yourself.  You could start the term thinking ‘I’ll never be able to do that’ but with the help of your tutors, classmates and technicians you do! And the feeling you get when handing in your completed project is amazing. I’ve learnt so much in the two years I’ve been at LCF – you get so many opportunities for internships and placements, as UAL itself has such a good reputation. The work you complete and can show to employers, definitely impresses them.

What are your plans for when you finish your degree?

Melissa: It is really hard to say now, but I would love to work for a skateboarding or surfing brand. I will probably try to gain as much experience as I can in London.

Aimee: After the course I would like to be a production manager, and go into the industry to put my skills to practice and try to bring apparel manufacturing back to the UK. However, a very long holiday once I’ve graduated is the first thing I’ll be doing!