Northbrook Front

The developmental use of materials and fabrics

Northbrook College Sussex’s GFW 2015 show demonstrated innovation and technique. The student’s enthusiasm to experiment and develop their techniques was evident from the get go. Northbrook College’s Fashion Design course encourages its small cohort of students to drive their work through the developmental use of materials and fabrics.

Jonathan Miller incorporated his passion for landscape photography into the design of his fabric. He screen-printed his own pictures onto a jacket featuring Elizabethan style sleeves. The cut of the jacket may have been traditional, but the modern print gave the garment a contemporary edge. Miller continued this old-fashioned style on two knee-length jackets. His final outfits featured black shorts and a mix of a black and white block printed jackets very modern in its cut and colour and ideal for the high street. In summary, Miller used traditional construction methods, updating them with contemporary colourings.

All Images by Debbie Martin



Miller’s final outfit brought some light to the overarching dark mood of the collection.They featured full-length trousers and a matching long sleeve top, with an almost metal-like finish to the body of the clothing.

This focus on material and process were visible in the collection of Sarah Anne Lewis. The core idea to her pieces was the embellishment of deep purple crystals on the shoulders of a dress, and the front of a mohair jumper.

These crystals were not simply purchased by Lewis in her local Brighton haberdashery. Instead she underwent the process of making the crystals from scratch. And the development process did not stop there. Lewis also dyed fabrics herself, experimenting with colour manipulation of the mohair and neoprene.


These diverse forms of production amounted to an ensemble of separates, featuring lustrous high neck cropped tops, and a mixture of piece-dyed flares and structured mid-length skirts.

Lewis’ use of pointed black heels was a little predictable. The production methods visible in the fabrics and decorations of the garments were the highlight of the collection.

The finale to the show demonstrated the kind of innovation Northbrook College Sussex promotes. Curtis Fullman empowered his design with an unusual use of horsehair. The inspiration was taken from Fullman’s own moth farm particularly by the directions in which the moths escape the farms.

Curtis incorporated this escapement as a stylistic feature for the horsehairs draping.


Paired with a dark and medieval mid-length skirt, this ensemble was certainly eye-catching. The use of the horsehair was toned down compared to other outfits, focusing more on layers of leather like material.

Embellishments in the form of black, blue and silver flowers and lustrous circles, linked the pieces together. Overall, Fullman’s dark and moody collection was uniquely eye-catching.

Northbrook College kept the crowd awake with its innovation and unusual techniques. By allowing students to experiment, the college has excelled in equipping students with a variety of skills, unique to each student. Paired with Liverpool John Moore for GFW 2015, the students’ collections at GFW 2015 brought innovation to the catwalk.




Written by Safah Ahmed

Safah Ahmed

Safah Ahmed is a student at the London College of Fashion, studying MA Fashion Media Practice and Criticism. She has always had a passion for creativity, and channels this through her love for writing about fashion. She hopes to pursue a career in fashion writing and criticism, in the future.