‘A fashion show is a performance. It is an exhibition.’
London-based womenswear designer Charlotte Ambrose, a 21-year-old fashion design graduate from the University of the Creative Arts in Epsom, draws on the weird and wonderful to create a surrealist take on Sixties style. You can contact Charlotte Ambrose at firstname.lastname@example.org or via twitter at @charlotteambx. Alternatively, visit her website at http://www.charlotteamb.com/.
Tell us about the background of the work you submitted
My final collection evolved from the university brief that allows us to pick our own inspiration as well as research and design influences for garment design (we had to design six outfits). For my prints and fabric, I was greatly influenced by artists Casey Weldon and Sigmar Polke. I loved Casey Weldon’s cat concept with four or more eyes. I wanted to combine that with my own photography, which is also influenced by Sigmar Polke’s amazing use of mixed media. I photographed my cats from home and edited the pictures on Photoshop.
Since finishing your collection, how have you promoted your collection, and what follow up did you get?
I finished my six outfit collection in early May, and since then I have been shooting several Lookbooks of it. A few producers and photographers have also contacted me, interested in the collection to be shown within different fashion films and publications.
What inspires you creatively?
I often find inspiration at art exhibitions or within cultural movements, different cultures and beliefs and also my personal life. I use these to inform different areas of my work, such as fabric, colour ways or a silhouette. It creates unique and moving designs.
You previously mentioned Sigmar Polke and Casey Weldon as inspiring you creatively. Which aspects of the artists’ work particularly influenced you for this collection?
I was inspired by Sigmar Polke’s use of polka dots and graffiti in his paintings, such as ‘Dr Berlin’. Casey Weldon’s paintings, combining surrealism with the animal and human form, also really caught my attention. This was the effect that I wanted my collection to have. Relatively unknown, weird and wonderful things often inspire me. I want to bring something fresh and quirky to the industry.
What is your favourite film of all time?
One of my favourite films is the Pink Panther movie from 1963. This influenced the silhouettes for my collection, particularly taking inspiration from the comical scene when Dr Clouseau’s wife is hiding men in the hotel room whilst her husband showers. I loved her blue vintage silk housecoat! I took a lot of inspiration from the vintage pyjama wear, along with the mint fur coat in the film. I created a blue fur coat in my collection, redesigned from vintage coats to create a contemporary design that compliments a simple long slip dress with my print.
What is your favourite music track or album right now?
Whilst I was researching music for the catwalk show of my collection at the Truman Brewery, I came across a song by Kendrick Lamar: an instrumental version of the Pink Panther theme tune. I absolutely loved it! And I still do. Apart from this, my favourite song would have to be ‘A Sky Full Of Stars’ by Coldplay. I find a lot of inspiration from their songs. They keep me motivated, reminding me of my ambition. I always listened to them whilst sewing and pattern cutting.
What’s your favourite on-line video?
Due to my sense of humour, I rarely use YouTube unless it’s to watch funny vines. Yes, I’m one of those people who love to watch cheesy funny videos online when they’re bored!
What is hot or new in the world and/or where you live?
Right now, 70’s flares and prints are back in! I love this trend and it suits a lot of the garments in my collection. Some developments outside of fashion are really exciting. I heard in the news that progress in medicine should allow all cancers to be cured in 50 years! This news is amazing as it touches on a subject close my heart. I’m so proud and thankful to all my friends and other families’ efforts in raising money to help cancer research.
What does Fashion mean to you?
For me, fashion is a subject that depends on who you are. For some people, fashion is a way of expressing yourself through the way you dress. For others, it’s a place of business and work. When I was younger, I thought fashion was a little stupid, especially catwalk shows. But I changed my mind and I got involved with fashion design. When the time came to show my own collection, I realised that a fashion show is a performance. It is an exhibition. Clothes on the catwalk are like fluid, moving art.
What is your ideal fashion project?
My ideal fashion project would have to be a challenge. I don’t like things to be easy otherwise I’m not proud of my achievements. I would love to be set a brief within a specific branch of research, finding inspiration within the topic whilst drawing on my skills to create a personal, unique collection.
What would you describe as your strongest skills?
My skills range greatly. I’m extremely good with drape and creating interesting silhouettes. I’m also good at technical flats. I have an interest in becoming a Technical Designer; a curiosity that developed as a result of completing internships within this area.
How would you describe your professional personality?
I have outstanding attendance and time keeping, but also a sense of humour. I wholeheartedly believe that to excel within your career you need to enjoy what you do and be surrounded by people with the same mentality.
How do you imagine your future?
My future will be within fashion as I’m a very determined person and I know it’s what I love and enjoy. I’ve always wanted to start my own design label and I believe my style is individual and quirky enough to stand out. I would enjoy the challenges of working to a brief for a brand whilst saving up to invest in my own label. I must sort my university debts first!
What would be your ideal internship?
My ideal internship would involve utilising and further developing my strongest skills, such as the technical aspects of design such as drawing flats and working with drape on the stand. I also want to refine my other skills; I would be interested in pattern cutting and sewing, as well as print design.
I’ve always wonder why some people feel they cannot afford to do a fashion degree at University, or just go into higher education in fact. Although it is intimidating and costly, I received no money to help me because my family couldn’t afford it and yet I have just graduated.
It seems a lot of amazingly talented designers go unheard of. I sometimes wonder if it is entirely due to lack of confidence, or if there is also a lack of promotion and advertisement opportunities for young designers. Has anyone faced these issues? Some sort of social media platform could help.
Well Modeconnect is here to help with this!
Do you have any answer to offer Charlotte? Why not tell us what you think in the comment section below.
Charlotte Ambrose 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.