The fashion, embroidery and stitch at Birmingham’s NEC was a fab experience for any budding designer, seamstress or anyone with even the slightest in fashion. The catwalk show was fantastic and has already been reported in detail, but here are some of the other highlights from the two-day event.
Creative Textiles is a project run by the Leicestershire Adult learning service which offers learners the opportunity to be creative whilst studying for level 2 and 3 qualifications. Their work was frankly amazing. Taking inspiration for Art Nouveau artist Erte and from The Chronicles of Narnia, they had produced beautiful white pieces using spun bond fabric CS500. These were both beautiful and eye-catching.
Walsall College – Midlands hotbed of new design talent
I had a lovely chat with Liz Schild, course leader for HND Fashion at Walsall College. As I worked in Walsall for quite a few years I was amazed at just how successful the college is in terms of fashion. Liz told me how students are currently working with super-talented Wayne Aveline, the winner of Project Catwalk 2007, who also designed a special capsule collection for Designers at Debenhams.
On display was the beautiful Brazil Carnival rain forest inspired dress produced by Rosannah Hines. Rosannah was runner-up in the 2010 Clothes Show Live Young designer of the Year and is a student at Walsall College. She is a talent and her name is one to watch out for.
I really enjoyed chatting with Liz and the students and am hoping to go into the college very soon in order to give some tips on setting up a fashion blog.
Seonaid Brooks is an exponent of experimental knitting. Her work incorporates the use of materials such as wire and felt. At the show she had bought an exquisite collection of corsets that she had made using wire. She explained her collection to me. She had first become fascinated by images of trees with the bark peeling away to reveal the wood underneath. This had led her to think about human bodies – how we layer them with clothing and then peel the layers off to reveal the skin underneath. That had led to an exploration of corsets – an item of beauty that has been used to cover womens bodies which have also been damaging to women’s bodies – crushing ribcages, leaving women unable to move and breath. Seonaid uses wire in the construction of her corsets to symbolise the damage they cause to women. Padlocks are also added to some corsets to show how women were locked into them like a prison. And yet the corsets were items of supreme beauty, because they also produced a most womenly shape – an ideal of beauty which isn’t really true. There is an element of beauty at what cost about the corsets. I thought they were beautiful and thought provoking.
To tie in nicely with Seonaid’s work, there was a fantastic little exhibition showcases the history of underwear. There were original corsets, bustles and hoops on display showing how undergarments had been used to enhance, conceal and reveal our bodies through history.