Alexandra Wall’s degree collection: “Rebirth, Revive, Renewal”
Alexandra Wall is a 23 years old, final year fashion student at University for the Creative Arts Epsom in the United Kingdom. You can contact Alexandra at firstname.lastname@example.org or via twitter at @alexjanewallsy. Make sure to visit Alexandra Wall’s portfolio
Alexandra, what is the background of the work you submitted?
The images I have submitted include stand work, illustrations and a photo shoot of my final collection. The collection revolves around this iconic bonded print drape dress. The dress became the foundation of my degree collection. I used it, modifying element of it, in particular the circle drape to create the other garments of the collection.
The collection is called “Rebirth, Revive, Renewal.” It was selected to show with University for the Creative Arts Epsom at GFW 2015 and was inspired by a carnival held in the Spanish province of Avila. Every year, the townsfolk celebrate ‘renewal’ through a festival performance that reflects sacrifice and death. My collection combines aspects of this celebration as well as that of Spanish flamenco culture.
I explore these influences using bonded fabrics which fold into each other, creating silhouettes. The black colour palette allowed me to explore various textures, prints and techniques whilst also capturing a dark undertone.
I brought in 3D printed jewellery designs to clash old traditions with new. Through styling, the feminine connotations related to flamenco have been muted to incorporate an androgynous edge giving flamenco a modern twist to challeng stereotypes.
What inspires you creatively?
I love to travel. It broadens my knowledge of different cultures. One of the most beautiful places I’ve been fortunate enough to visit is South Africa. I always try to take something away with me when I experience somewhere new. I stop and process the environment, the people and the atmosphere and try to imprint how it felt to be there. I don’t translate these memories into my designs literally, but they filter through and create a mood and the basis on which I try to build a collection.
I also have the habit of bookmarking anything unusual or visually stimulating I see on the internet. I have a passion for literature. I believe it all helps me to find original design concepts.
Your favourite film of all times
Such a difficult question! I’m going to say Apocalypto (2006). Even though its subtitled I know all the words off by heart. Its cinematography is beautiful and visually stimulating with the Aztec attire and tribal inspirations. The plot itself always has me captivated and rooting for the protagonist to the very end! (I’m such a Jaguar Paw groupie) My all-time favourite scene:
Your favourite music track or album right now
Also ridiculously hard to answer as I have such a broad and varied taste in music! Acid Rap by Chance the Rapper is a close second but I mostly like to work to ZABA by Glass Animals. It is such a perfect album for me. It’s the ideal balance of alternative and chilled, yet provides a preppy uplifting beat to keep me engrossed in the music. I could have the album on repeat all day! My favourite song from the album (the music video is also beautiful):
Your favourite on-line Video
You are challenging me with these questions, there’s too much choice! Purely for their easy ten-minute instalments and fascinating topics, I would have to pick a Ted Talks video. Don’t get me wrong, I love funny cat videos as much as the next person but Ted Talks leave you with something to think about which lasts a lot longer than the image of a cat running into cling film through its cat flap.
Everyone should watch the latest Ted Talks about the beauty of vanishing people, but my favourite is a talk by Mathieu Ricard.I relate to it. I love to meditate and I feel it is important when working in the stressful environment of the fashion industry to care for my physical and emotional wellbeing. I love Ricard’s analogy of emotions being like the sea: although on the surface they can change from calm to stormy anger, what lies underneath remains unchanged. This image has stuck with me.
Your favourite blog or website for inspiration
The National Geographic’s website, beyond its beautiful photography, this website makes accessible world cultures and sceneries not everyone has the chance to experience. It makes me to want to research and investigate every image further.
What is hot or new in the world and/or where you live?
I am inexplicably excited about attending Savage Beauty, the McQueen exhibition being held at the V&A. I had originally bought a ticket for the day after my final collection was due in and sadly could not attend but I have happily paid again to go see it this June! I’ve also recently discovered a love of varied past-time hobbies, such as in North Wales a place called Bounce Below. It has not been open for long and you go trampolining deep underground in a cave network. It looks incredible! I love to be inspired whilst also having great fun and a work out!
What does Fashion mean to you?
Clothes are such a personal representation of a person’s character, how they choose to dress and present themselves. It’s such a satisfying feeling when they choose to wear something you’ve created. It’s a very strong connection to the person, and satisfying to know you can make someone feel good about themselves. But fashion extends beyond clothes. I think it’s a creative community in the world that we all share and have in common. I don’t necessarily think it’s restricted to what’s always popular at the time but what visually excites us, gets us talking and brings us together.
Your ideal Fashion Project
My dissertation tries to address “How do fashion and society’s ideologies of beauty fail those who are physically disabled?”
Creating a collection to cater to this market is something I would love to do.
The market now caters to people who some would argue live unhealthy lifestyles, leading them to be a larger dress size, but there is a lack of accessible fashion currently available to people who are physically disabled through no choice of their own. For some time now I have wanted to address this and try to find a project that would make a permanent difference. I love working with other people and being fuelled from their creative input. I’d love to work with people who enjoy being out of their comfort zone, who are enthusiastic about innovation and approaching things outside the box.
How do you imagine your future?
Ultimately I would love to design for a label whose heritage I admire and aesthetic I could take forward. Being happy in what I do and financially stable may sound humble, but it’s my goals. If I can become a valued member of a high-end design team in an environment that consistently challenges me, my goals will be fulfilled.
Your ideal internship
My short term goals are to develop my pattern cutting skill set: it will enhance my value as a designer. I am looking for placements abroad for 6 months to a year, such as high end brands in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin and New York to name a few. This doesn’t mean I underestimate what London has to offer; I will go wherever the best opportunity lies.
Is seeking further training opportunities truly beneficial to an individual or is it equally obtainable through work placement and industry experience?
If you have any further information on this question please use the comments box below!
Alexandra Wall is a finalist for Modeconnect’s #YourView15 fashion competition sponsored by Bloomsbury Publishing. The support of our sponsor extends to all our readers: until the end of July 2015 they can benefit from 20% off ALL Bloomsbury’s fashion and design books! Just use the code YOURVIEW2015 at the checkout on www.bloomsbury.com.
Voting open 11th – 19th July 2015.