Bath Spa Passionate Graduate Chloe Victoria Jones
As a fashion graduate, Chloe Jones is as good as they come. This is certainly what the industry thinks. The Bath Spa graduate received the Gold prize at London Graduate Fashion Week 2012. This is one of the highest accolades a student designer can hope to receive in the UK; this year it was awarded by a panel of fashion heavyweights which included Daphne Guinness, Suzy Menkes and Fiona Lambert from sponsor George at Asda,.
Judges, fashion critics and the audience alike were wowed by Jones’ modern take on luxe sportswear, which stood out in a season dominated by pastels and floral prints. Jones is a truly a student designer for whom the future looks bright.
ModeConnect interviews Chloe Jones…
Congratulations on your Gold award! That must have been such an incredible moment for you.
The reaction to my collection has been incredibly positive. It’s amazing. When you have spent so long on a collection and really put your heart and soul into it, it can be very daunting presenting it to the industry. To have it so well received is so rewarding. I was so pleased that it provoked the exact mood and atmosphere I was after; people got exactly what the collection was about.
One of the most highly praised features of your collection was its take on sportswear, tell us a little about that.
I think my take on sportswear is different. The collection uses typical sweatshirt jersey, but in very different shapes and silhouettes to normal hoodies. They are also heavily hand-embroidered and embellished which creates a sportswear garment of a couture nature. When worn with the floor length silk dresses it creates a very different aesthetic. I wanted to create something new and unique by mixing traditional sportswear elements with more couture and ethereal qualities.
Where did the inspiration for this aesthetic come from?
As well as being about beautiful clothing, I wanted to create a collection that had a soul too. The collection started with Gothic and Cathedral Architecture. It’s something I’ve always found so beautiful, incredibly atmospheric and intriguing. The places I visited were almost haunting; it was very powerful mood on which to build the collection.
From the architecture I began to reference a lot of religious and spiritual imagery such as monks, friars and archangels. The concept for the collection stemmed from the idea of bringing the ethereal figures that inhabited the stunning stained glass windows to life in the 21st Century. This was when I began to mix the historical and biblical influences with a sportswear quality inspired by hip hop style.
This is quite an unusual inspiration for a fashion collection, what led you towards this?
Although I’m not particularly ‘religious’ as such, religion, spirituality and a sense of other worldliness have always interested me. They are subjects that are very important and relevant in my family and have played an important part in my personal upbringing and attitude towards life. The collection wasn’t about ‘religion’ or imposing the ideas of a specific faith, but about the idea of having faith in something; something that is very personal for so many.
This sounds like a huge undertaking, did you face many challenges in the design process?
There was a real temptation to design a collection more typically ‘sportswear’. I have sketches of garments that are more technical; more panels, more pockets, more zips etc. At one point the silhouettes became a lot more typical of traditional sportswear and had quite a hard, obnoxious quality. I came to a crossroads and had to decide what I wanted the collection to be about. I had to be strong enough to really strip the collection back and let the silhouette and embroidery speak for itself.
You’ve done incredibly well, what’s next for you?
I will be doing some work with George following the awards at Graduate Fashion Week. Following this, I am still considering different opportunities but am looking forward to getting straight into industry. I am open to the future and what direction I might go in, but I am looking forward to having the opportunity to contribute to it in one-way or another.
You sound very passionate about the industry!
I honestly cannot imagine doing anything not fashion related! I’ve never questioned or considered any other route – it is something that is just ‘in you’. I think people often underestimate what fashion as a career has to offer. Aside from design, I also find other areas really interesting such as Buying and Merchandising and Fashion Journalism. There are so many opportunities within fashion. The beauty is that all your interests and passions can be incorporated into your work.
Finally, what advice would you give to a new fashion student wishing to follow in your footsteps?
Studying fashion has definitely taught me to trust my instincts and my own creativity, and have courage of conviction when it comes to my work. I’d tell a new student to find a source of inspiration that holds personal meaning. If it something that really excites and intrigues you, then you will have so many ideas to work with and possible paths you could follow.
Above all, trust your instinct. Everyone will give you a different opinion on your work. Listen, absorb the opinions and consider different points of view, but remember that it is your collection and ultimately you are creating a collection that represents you and your own ideas and aesthetic.