Lauren Smith

Character And Vision

Lauren Smith graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in June 2013. Only a few weeks earlier she received the George Gold Award, the most prestigious award at London Graduate Fashion Week.

On the evening, Fiona Lambert, Brand Director of George, explained: “We chose Lauren as the George Gold Award winner because her designs reflected her character and showed real vision and craftsmanship. I’m looking forward to working with her and producing her range for George and” 

In her coverage of GFW for Modeconnect, Sayuri Standing described Lauren’s collection: “Smith won with a whimsical collection, translating her sketchbook developments with applique on leather. Her doodles were scatteredly printed and sewn on, the garments’ edges stitched to mimic the seams on a book. Paperclips were used as literal embellishments, an oversized version acting as a coat fastener.

Fellow Edinburgh College of Art fashion design student Rhys McKenna interviews Lauren Smith.


Lauren, what did you aim to achieve with your final collection?
I set out to create a highly personal collection that showed as many of my strengths as a designer as possible.  I wanted make a collection that was sensitive to the female figure but I didn’t have a specific client in mind.

I am so flattered by the awards and the compliments I received at London Graduate Fashion Week. I am especially happy that people picked up on the personal nature of the collection.

Lauren Smith Fashion Design

Looking back at my collection now it feels even more like an extension of my personality, of myself, yet some of the outfits could easily transition into marketable and sellable pieces.

Do you feel this is a strength of you collection?
Possibly … I think the strength of my collection is in the cohesion of its cut, embellishment and colour. Of course, there is always room for improvement but I feel I’ve pushed the collection as far as I could and I am now very excited to be starting new projects.


We’ll talk about this later. Let’s stay with your degree collection a moment longer. Where did you find the inspiration for it?
Initially I was inspired by the artist Dieter Roth and his work “Diaries.” I went to see his exhibition at the Fruit Market Gallery during the Edinburgh Art Festival 2012. This led me to take a fresh look at my own diary and sketchbook. I looked back upon my drawings, sketches and my notes and started considering how I went or rather how they led from one idea to the next. I was eager to feature my own drawings in my final collection. I pulled out points of interest from my diaries and created a digital print with them. I wanted this print to play a large part in my collection, running through out. It is often the case for me that inspiration just happens, it’s totally unplanned. I feel you can’t force it to happen.

Are there any specific moments in the design of your collection that you feel were significant in the process of its design?
Christmas break was a pivotal point for me. I was a bit lost and off track with what I was trying to achieve. I was disappointed and frustrated. I took the time off to reassess what I actually wanted from my collection and came back guns blazing, ready to get back to work.

Another moment was the development of my leather pieces. I was really pleased with how the development turned out, especially with how I attached the leather panels together. I punctured holes down the seams and used embroidery thread to pull them together.


Lauren Smith Fashion Design

All this reinforced my belief that as a student designer, you really have to think about what you want from your final year and your degree collection. You should not design and make something just because you think people want to see it.

What else did you learn about yourself or about creativity through the process of designing your collection?
I learned, rather I am still learning, not to be too hard on myself when I have an off day creatively and ideas just aren’t coming to me.

Any other advice you can give to fashion students?
I would advise them to utilise all the departments they have at their disposal. We had many great facilities at Edinburgh College of Art. I frequently used the laser cutting, digital print and textile studios in my fourth year.

What’s next for you professionally?

I received a scholarship to study a master in Textiles at Edinburgh College of Art which starts in September.


Written by Rhys McKenna

Rhys McKenna

Going straight from school to study BA (Hons) in Fashion at Edinburgh College of Art, Straight-A student Rhys McKenna is particularly interested in the use of new and inventive materials in Fashion not commonly associated with the discipline, as well as film and technology. He also works on fine art commissions and is interested in the relationship between fine art and design. Rhys has a strong belief that knowing your materials and working hands on, help to better personal design development and keep ideas fresh and modern. Having been Head Boy at Stirling High School and bringing a creative influence to the role (revitalizing the house system and designing house banners) he believes that you can bring artistic flare to whatever you do. Through training in the art of Tae Kwon Do for 12 years and having been to Beijing, Shanghai and Xian in China, Rhys believes his own work draws heavily upon Asian principles of elegance, strength of line and sharp cuts which he knows will remain central to his work as he aspires to pursue a career in design.