I am starting the next chapter: it is my time to shine.
21-year-old Hannah Sykes from Blackpool is a #YourView15 finalist for her functional and androgynous final collection that combines military uniform and Asian print. Having recently graduated from Manchester School of Arts, Hannah aims to her future career with some innovative designs.
What is the background of the work you submitted?
The starting point of my graduate collection was a material I sourced in China. The material has a bold geometric pattern and research led me to investigate the dazzle camouflage used in World War I. This included military research; looking at war uniforms and women at war blended well with my design philosophy and I was able to link my design aesthetic with this abstract camouflage.
How did you develop this research of male uniforms into womenswear?
Considering the male military uniform led me to look at the role of women during the war. I discovered women had to take over traditionally masculine jobs whilst men were at the front. Due to rationing, there was a lack of equipment and clothing so the women often wore the ill-fitting, oversized male work uniforms. I became interested in the layered, oversized outerwear, worn by both men and women, and how these garments interacted with one another. I then developed a narrative of a woman who was posing as a man to be with her husband at war. My interpretation of the dazzle camouflage, used to disrupt the outline of warship vessels, emphasised my narrative by disguising the female figure.
So how did you interpret your use of colour within this technique?
I extracted colours from my primary research of the war and adapted these colours onto the dazzle camouflage to form the prints in my collection. As well as the army camouflage, I incorporated an ink that changes colour in the rain. This is a futuristic adaption of the camouflage used in war zones, which I applied to the jackets and accessories. I wanted to represent the shortage of material during wartime, hence the reversible nature of all my garments. Most have dual purposes and can be folded into a bag for example. This inspired me to design accessories alongside my collection.
So what inspires you creatively?
When starting to work on a collection, I create a narrative that helps me fully immerse myself into my work. This story can be developed from anything around me. I also chose a muse so details become purposeful in my work. I form a strong connection between my research and my designs. My collection reflects an androgynous aesthetic; I am inspired by menswear and draw details from menswear to inspire my womenswear designs.
What do you focus on within your designs?
I want to create innovative yet wearable garments, hence their functional aspects. I also designed my collection to be eye catching, applying an ink to the leather on three jackets and three accessories that changes colour in the rain.
What is your favourite film of all time?
In all honesty, I constantly fall asleep in films so I never catch the ending! But I’m currently watching the new series of ‘Orange is the New Black’. I love the filming; finding out everyone’s character and watching flash backs of each inmate’s backstory.
What is your favourite music track or album right now?
I always put my music on shuffle and listen to everything; I couldn’t choose a particular track. I am mostly into Old School Garage, and Hip-Hop.
What is your favourite blog or website for inspiration?
My favourite website is Nick Knight’s SHOWStudio, a contemporary platform that produces short films. It allows fashion and the creative industry to merge. It inspires me to collaborate and publish my designs.
What is hot or new in the world and/or where you live?
The new talent that showcases at Graduate Fashion Week demonstrates the creativity across the UK. GFW brings the designers’ ideas together on the catwalk. The awards reflect hard work and achievement, and I was proud to win the Boohoo Fashion Innovative Award.
What influenced you to study fashion at University?
During Six Form, I created fashionable sculptures and discovered I wanted to create art for the body. I studied a foundation course in Blackpool that set my path to university. I won a nationwide competition I LUV MY CAN, for which I created a fashionable sculpture from cans. This gave me the ambition to invest myself into fashion design and I excel in transforming 2D drawings into 3D pieces.
So what is fashion to you?
Fashion and functionality are important aspects of product design. Fashion designs are wearable pieces of art.
What would be your ideal Fashion Project?
My ideal fashion project would be solidifying my idea of dual-purpose designs. I would expand my knowledge in technical outwear and accessories, which I would combine together to create functional accessories. I would love to push my idea of colour changing accessories and jackets. The garments of my final collection are the prototypes for what I would like my future designs to be, improving the quality along the route of production. This project is the idea for my own label; I plan to turn it into my career.
Do you enjoy working as an individual or collaboratively?
I love to collaborate with other designers and creative people. I have worked with graphic designers, filmmakers, and leather makers; it is something I will continue to do, especially whilst experimenting with ink.
I would collaborate with enthusiastic and hardworking individuals. I am very organised and good time keeping is something I would like to have in my team.
How do you imagine your future?
In the past couple of years, I lived in China for three months interning for a company, won a few awards and gained publicity at London Graduate Fashion Week. These have changed my vision in ways I couldn’t foresee. Upon graduation, I am starting the next chapter. It is my time to shine, explore and hopefully establish my own label. First, I want to gain more skills by working alongside other designers. Primarily, I want to be happy, and I want to make my family and friends happy. I don’t want a 9-5 job in an office but I want to do what I do best: translate my creativity into designs.
What would be your main strength?
I have discovered that accessories are my forte. I want to design a bag line, with seasonal designs that I have currently started, including the colour changing accessories.
What would be your ideal internship?
With a first degree and a collection under my belt, I am looking for a designing job in which I can further develop my skills. I would like to work with a brand that pushes technical pattern cutting and explores detailed designs. This is an interest I have developed through exploring a whole new field of design with my collection. Interning within menswear, womenswear and especially accessories design would be ideal. This would strengthen my design aesthetic for the future.
Why do fashion students and creative students not receive funding towards their final collection or degree project?
And also why do people presume fashion is an easy course?
Finally where can I start research into funding and sponsorships that could help me set up my own label?
Do you have any information on this? Why not tell us in the comment section below.
Hannah Sykes 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.