Beyond the Final Collection: Creating a Brand

 

Not satisfied with simply creating a graduate collection, Nottingham Trent University graduate Janine Clark, has turned hers into an entire brand. NE NE is a high concept range of minimal separates with just one aim: making the life of the jet setter more comfortable. Utilitarian in its design and ethos, Janine has produced a collection which reflects the climate of the time in which it was designed.

Created with a commercial market in mind, the needs of the consumer were unusually important to Janine’s design process. I had fifteen garments and making sure the balance of colour, silhouette and fabric was ideal for my customer was challenging. The cut of the clothes became really important. It was something I had never had to take into consideration before as I had never made so many clothes.

 

Read the full interview below…



You seem to have taken your graduate collection beyond the usual requirements. Where did the motivation to create a whole brand come from?
Before starting at NTU I took a year out to travel and work. I wanted to look expensive, important and fashionable but this wasn’t the comfiest way to travel. I decided to design a women’s travelwear collection that took this into consideration. I was also really interested in starting my own luxury brand. I mixed the two and created NE NE.

What is the concept of the NE NE brand?
NE NE is about looking your best and feeling your best whatever the occasion, whatever the season. It is a passion that strives for perfection and style. It has a vibrant innovative attitude towards minimal design. I considered every tiny detail during the design process to create beautiful timeless pieces.

Through extensive research into what makes an essential wardrobe I created a fifteen garment capsule collection. The pieces are designed to be integrated with one another to create over 100 refined looks. It is not just about looking expensive, it is about feeling expensive.

The pieces are very structural but also minimal in their design and palette; where did the inspiration for this come from?
When researching the silhouettes I looked at constructivism and came across a costume design by Luibov Popova. It was drawn using geometric shapes. I loved the idea of making my own interpretation of the design from the drawing.



I used the same technique. I drew a female silhouette and over the top I drew random squares, triangles and circles across the body. I then developed each drawing on until I came up with a final design. It really let my imagination design key shapes that I hadn’t thought of before. It was great fun!

What sort of person do you envision as an NE NE customer?
She is an empowered woman; she is strong and independent, ambitious and successful. She has a well paid job that enables her to travel regularly. She is highly respected by friends, family and peers. She is adventurous and knows exactly what she wants.

You have created a strong brand, is it something you are going to develop now you have graduated?
My goal was to create a capsule collection that appealed to many women. I think I achieved this and am confident I have completed the SS13 collection. The concept and the brand are things I would like to develop. I’d love to try using technical fabrics. Garments that offered no creases, 100% freshness and are breathable would be great.

Your collection earned you a 1st class honours, congratulations! What’s next for you?
Earlier on this year I won the Alfa Romeo Young Designer of the Year competition. It has opened so many doors for me. I’ve had some great exposure which is really important for a new designer.



I have also been asked to give the Graduation Speech this year. It is an honour to have been chosen by the Dean of NTU. Graduate Fashion Week gained me an exciting opportunity with Abercrombie & Fitch. The prospects there are very exciting. I am very driven; I really want to make it in the fashion industry and will fight to be successful!

You’ve done so well during your time at NTU – what advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
My advice for anyone about to start studying fashion would be to knuckle down. You will have to work for what you want – but if you want something that bad, fighting for it is not a problem. You certainly have to put in the hours and really believe in what you are trying to achieve.

In terms of the final collection I would say: Find your target customer and realise what you as a designer would like to achieve. Be decisive and have strong time management skills because there is a lot to be done. Enjoy it. It will take over your life but if you are passionate about your ideas you won’t mind. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your designs come to life.
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