As the LCFMA17 Womenswear catwalk show fast approaches, we spoke to MA Fashion Design Technology Womenswear student Vilune Daunoraite who told us about her final collection Feminine Power, which will be appearing at the show on Thursday 16 February (watch it live streamed here).

Photography: Felix Cooper

Photography by Felix Cooper, styling by Anders Sølvsten Thomsen.

My final collection… is called ‘Feminine Power’. It’s leather luxury fashion and the concept comes from  a group of female motorbike riders in America who called themselves the ‘motor maids’. They were fighting for equal rights for men and women and they would do these crazy tricks on their bikes. For me, this feminine power was very inspirational.

The collection is all based on leather handcrafts with a mix of optic-fibre materials. The leather reflects power because it’s a really strong material and you can get so much out of it – it’s also all in silver shades to reflect the engines. The silhouette is between the 40s and 50s – it accentuates the female body shape and at the same time has volume, but what I was mainly focused on was the surface design. The flat surface was transformed to a 3D shape and everything is handcrafted – nothing has been lasercut. When people see the garments they say ‘oh it’s a nice laser cut’ and it annoys me a bit because it’s not – it’s my handy work! To make skirt using my technique for example it takes two days – I would say it’s couture.

Before LCF… I did a BA in Fashion Design Womenswear at the University of East London.

My top tips for new students are…

  • Be very organised as you have very little time to make your collection to a high standard.
  • Be experimental and show your best – don’t just concentrate on things you think you are good at because sometimes, through experimentation you realise you can do much more.
  • Communicate and collaborate a lot, and make as many contacts as you can. This is a good thing because you can get sponsors – to make a good collection it can be pricey and sponsorship helps.

I chose LCF because… I heard about the great reputation that the college has and I knew it was the best decision to come and study here. It’s very competitive which is really challenging – when everyone is so great, you want to do even better.

The best thing about studying here… is that you have all the machinery you need at LCF. We have knitwear and embroidery facilities that you can explore, as well as leather workshops and more. It makes your creativity really unlimited, which for me is the highlight.

The biggest challenge… is when you think you have a fantastic idea but when you have a fitting you realise it doesn’t look great. You have to change everything and make decisions on the spot which is really challenging.

My work in a few words… powerful but feminine and controversially elegant.

The best thing about studying in London… is that it has everything a designer needs – lots of fabric trimming shops and events about new techniques. If you can’t get a material in your favourite shop there is always another option.

My muse… is a person who believes in being the ruler of her own life, with self confidence. It comes from my mother – I grew up without a father and she was everything in one, so for me she is a muse.

After my MA… I would like to do my own thing. Why should I spend my time working for someone else when I can do it for myself? I feel that working for another designer will limit my creativity. I think I could have my own brand and I have realised what my style is and what I could offer. I already know what I want to do and doing the course at LCF helped me to gain good contacts that to help me start my own brand.