A Collection in Flux
Louise Bennetts is a designer with huge ambition and even greater potential. Her graduate collection has quickly shown itself to be commercially viable with bespoke pieces already commissioned by private clients. Having graduated from Edinburgh College of Art with 1st Class Honours, she will now go on to continue her studies at the prestigious Royal College of Art.
Louise’s graduate collection, Flux, is a master class in striking the fine balance between creativity and commerciality. A wearable collection underpinned by core tailoring in jackets, trousers and shirts, Louise plays with block colours and fabric properties to create garments which incorporate bold, graphic lines yet retain feminine fluidity.
ModeConnect interviews Louise.
Louise, your collection has a strong cohesive aesthetic running through it. What were your influences for this?
My collection originated from research into the way we use and change the buildings around us. Both of my parents are architects and I’m fascinated by the built environment. I went to Italy last year. In Siena I took a series of photographs documenting fragmented facades. They were so inspirational. Each told a historical story of change and adaptation undergone by the building. You could see arcades that had been built, blocked in, windows added, doorways taken away. Instead of being ugly scars, each mutation was worn as a proud mark of sustained functionality and bore evidence of the real people who used these buildings.
Is this sustained functionality something you strived to achieve in your collection then?
Yes, the looks consist of multiple layers of garments that are seamed, constructed and combined in unusual and unpredictable ways. I built the clothes allowing the traces of their construction to become evident. Their design is open to the person wearing them. They behave differently with different wearers – much like the built environment around us – so each piece is ultimately unique.
Did you ever envision a specific type of woman wearing your collection?
I just set out to create beautiful clothes that women would feel intrigued by, and want to wear as a result. I’m interested in the way in which people wear clothes – how they style them, how they incorporate them into their existing wardrobe and how they make items their own. I think that’s one of the most interesting aspects of fashion design.
Whilst many of the ideas behind the collection were conceptual, it’s not a concept collection. It’s an eminently wearable one. It’s really nice for me to see how many different types of women the clothes appeal to. I’ve had women in their 20s and women in their 60s approach me to buy pieces, which is some reassurance that I’ve achieved what I set out to!
It sounds like you had a very strong creative base for the collection. What challenges arose when it came to realising the pieces?
By its nature, this collection had to be a much more unpremeditated process than I’m used to. For me, this was a challenge as I couldn’t allow myself to form too specific an idea of how the final piece might look. However, such an approach really fuelled the creative process.
The pieces are engaging and tell a story. They have a kind of life to them which would have been squeezed out by over planning. There’s a lot of benefit in letting go – I find the garments are, even to me, much more intriguing as a result.
Looking to the future, to your MA course, do you feel you will take your final collection with you or, on the contrary, that you would like a clean break as you start the next stage of your development?
I feel my collection could be worked on further. I named it Flux because it’s all about things that are incomplete or open to adaptation so I might add to the collection over time. In fact I’m still working with the collection at the moment, as I have a few private commissions. I see it more as a starting point for a career’s worth of work than the end of a stage in my education.
At the moment, however, I am also working with a choreographer to make completely new costume designs. The collaborative aspect really appeals to me. It will allow me to explore a whole new application of my work.