Belgium textile company and world-renowned tailoring experts Scabal recently collaborated with our second-year BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring students on a project that asked the aspiring tailors to predict what Scaball will look like in 2050. Five students were selected as winners in the end, with work taking inspiration from far and wide, ranging from George Orwell to Basquiat to fashion’s 60-year-cycle. We look at their designs and talk to the winners below.
Founded in 1938 by Otto Hertz, Scabal was originally set up as a cloth merchant and supplier of fabrics, later growing their portfolio into high-fashion and stores spread across the world, from London’s Savile Row to Shanghai. Their history also includes a collaboration with Salvador Dali in 1971. Known for their use of the highest-quality fabrics, this year’s Spring Summer 2018 collection sought inspiration from the British seaside; a place where gentlemen can seek solace from the city and cut a nautically inspired dash among its sailing hotspots.
Seungil Kim was awarded 1st Prize, £500 and Scabal fabric to the value of £500 for his winning design. We asked Seungil about what he produced, he told us:
I wanted to combine the classical approach of tailoring with technology for the future through a series of challenges and experiments. I was inspired by the classic writing styles of authors like George Orwell, Ts Elliot and Cs Lewis from the 1940s to 1970s. Their writing styles made me feel more relaxed and smart, a similar mood I also get when thinking about Scabal. I wanted to combine these moods together into a collection for the future. To make this more relevant for the future, I used different technical elements to make the pieces water-resistant for functionality. I wanted to make the garment more durable for outdoor wear, I did this by making them reversible. This means the wearer can use the garment in two different ways, something I considered for the likely abnormal weather in the future related to global warming.
Scabal was so impressed with the quality of the work that they awarded Joshua Bond and William Shillito each £250 plus Scabal fabric to the value of £250 as joint runner-ups. We spoke to Joshua after the announcement to find out more about his ‘designing for the future’ bespoke two-piece suit. He told us:
The title of my project was ‘Destination Unknown’ as designing for the future is unpredictable and who knows what could happen then. My concept was ‘Home is where your heart is’, the idea that in the future people will become part of what they’re living in… providing comfort and cultured style. My theme ‘Times change, but style remains’ was inspired by the 60-year cycle fashion theory that certain trends/eras will come back, using colour and inspiration from the 1970’s, for example, wide shoulders and big lapels… the power suit! I also took inspiration from furniture/interior design and took great interest in the texture and detail of the Chesterfield sofa which leads to quilting and studding details featured on the back of the jacket. The jacket also features a hand embodied bumble bee representing the journey, creativity and brightness… and that pop of colour!
The opportunity for designing for Scabal was very exciting, I wanted to push the boundaries of Bespoke Tailoring rather than design a ‘standard’ suit. My vision of future tailoring is bright and colourful.
We also spoke to William Shilito after the project to hear more about his work, what inspired his collection and what the award means to him. He said:
I wanted to completely reimagine the branding of Scabal for this project. I combined the use of form and function, taking inspiration from 1950s Hells Angels and The Outlaws. I wanted to combine the use of tailoring with the functionality of the biker jacket, a concept that I haven’t previously seen in high-fashion or the high-street. I integrated the functionality of the belts within my final design, a common reoccurrence in the biker jackets from the 1950s to the present day. Using wool as the principal fabric, in contrast to the leather belts, really made the belts the focal point, however, these garments can become extremely versatile. Taking the belts out gives the jacket a more formal look. Not suiting the banking industry but 100% in keeping with a career which resides within the fashion industry.
The Belgium tailors were so impressed by the quality of the work that they created extra prizes and special commendations to another two students, Indigo Robinson and Jamie Brown. The pair were awarded £150 plus Scabal fabric to the value of £150 for their designs. All the winners were also invited to visit their fabric mill in Huddersfield later in the year. We spoke to Jamie after the project about his ‘Manxiety’ work, he told us:
My main desire was to be able to use my concept (mental health) as a form of art therapy for myself. When you have something that isn’t limpid, like a 3D object in your face, it’s harder to run away from it, this helps you talk and by you talking it removes this barrier. It helps people open up a new form of conversation which I want it to benefit people around me who are still struggling to come to terms with what they are dealing with. Artists such as Still and Basquiat encouraged me to think more about different media and how to really grab a viewer’s attention. Abstract manipulation plus expressive graffiti on my garments has assisted me to communicate in a precise way and put a certain vocabulary to those lucid emotions.
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