What’s the point in creating something that’s already been done?
Kayleigh Hilde knows what she wants. A designer and illustrator with clear vision and intent, little seems to shake her resolve. Striving for individuality, she works with a strong desire to create innovative designs.
Through her experimentation with textures and layering, Kayleigh developed her final womenswear collection ‘Mothballs’. The garments are naturalistic armour for women, which translate the protective security and warmth of cocoons.
A recent fashion design graduate from the University of South Wales, Kayleigh is cementing her name within the industry. During the second year of her course, Kayleigh won Highly Commended for a George at Asda competition. The UK retailer sold Kayleigh’s designs as part of a Disney-inspired collection.
So Kayleigh, how did you approach the design of your graduate collection?
The main inspiration for my collection is moth cocoons. I was interested in the concept of cocoons and their texture, shape and structure. I wanted to translate these various elements into fashion. At the start of my research I knew that I wanted to create oversized silhouettes. I knew cocoon shapes would be the main influence and that my graduate collection would be experimental with texture. I started designing and experimenting with fabric samples, looking at how I could reflect my research within my designs.
How would you describe the aesthetic of your designs?
I have designed garments that can be layered together to create different outfits. I wanted my collection to have the same feel as a cocoon; layering pieces provides the feeling of warmth, security and protection.
Texture is predominant throughout your designs. How did you use fabric in your final collection?
My collection was an expressive and experimental journey. I wanted to create something that pushed me creatively. My graduate work is very much a personal exploration of texture. I didn’t want to use fabrics anyone could buy so I made the fabrics my own; I manipulated them and created my own textiles.
I used faux fur for some of the key pieces within the collection. The soft texture adds a sense of safety and warmth, reflecting the cocoon concept. The fur I used was coarse and synthetic but it had the advantage of retaining the definition of the cuts.
A softer faux fur didn’t hold the cuts as well and the lines were lost. In the end, although the faux fur I used didn‘t have the quality that I initially wanted, it did achieve the overall aesthetic that I intended.
What is your favourite fabric in your final collection?
For the ‘Cocoon Coat’ and the ‘All-in-One’ piece I used a beautiful grey mohair with a loose weave. You can see its structure when the light shines through. It reflects the fragile yet robust construction of a cocoon. Although the structure appears firm, the mohair fibres provide delicacy to the garments.
Tell us about your colour palette?
I knew I wanted to use lilac but I was unsure at first which other colours would complement it best to achieve the collection’s aesthetic. Whilst editing and experimenting with my images, I played with the colour balance and eventually found the colour palette that I’d been looking for. Lilac mixed with mauve and berry tones created a sophisticated palette, whilst the mustard accents added an edge.
How did you carry out your research for the collection?
I want to create clothes and designs that haven’t been seen before. When I design fashion, I research materials that are not fashion related and I mostly look at primary sources when researching key shapes and influences.
What motivates you to design and create?
My main goal with any brief is to be individual. I push myself to create something that hasn’t been done before. I want to be innovative. What’s the point in creating something that’s already been done? I loved working on this collection because it’s unique.
What would you say are your strongest points within this collection?
My collection is a clear depiction of my intent. My strong points were using experimental fabrics and representing my response to my primary research.
How have people responded to your collection?
People often comment on my illustrative work – positive comments that are lovely to hear. This has made me consider developing my illustrations before I continue with design.
I would also like to develop techniques in media other than pencil. I believe that developing my illustration skills will add further depth to my designs.
Finally Kayleigh, what’s your plan for the future?
I want to free-lance in illustration and design to build a client base and foundation when I eventually create my own fashion line. At least, that’s the plan!