“Saved by the grunge”
Scott Bramley was “Saved by the grunge”. A graduate from Heriot Watt, Scott received a Bachelor of Arts in Design for Textiles (Fashion, Interior, Art) with First Class honours in 2013. His AW14 debut collection boasts oversized silhouettes, splashes of 90’s colour and a unique knitting style relying on both machine and hand-knit techniques.
Scott’s practice is thoroughly researched and committed to creativity; his pieces are not only of a high quality technically but also culturally relevant. Scott met with Modeconnect to discuss his graduate collection, give advice to those following in his footsteps and share his hopes for the future.
Scott, can you talk us through your collection: “Saved by the grunge”?
Well, the collection consists of five knitted menswear tops and supporting knitted swatches, consisting of 2 long sleeved jumpers, 2 short sleeved ones and a cardigan. Each garment is oversized to fit in with that grungy, baggy and dishevelled style. My colour scheme was inspired by bright African patterns and early 90s TV credits. It features hot pinks, neon yellows and electric blues which I contrasted against a hefty quantity of black. The textures of the yarns I used also work in contrast, with furry bulk mohair’s and high shine Lurex against smooth cottons and matt wools. I put a lot of myself in the project. I hope a sense of fun and colour, and a passion for what I do, can be seen in the garments.
Looking back at your collection what do you feel is successful in term of design and with insight, what would you change?
I feel that I have used my love of colour and a real understanding of the way knit structure works to its full advantage. The knit technique is key to the collection; each garment explores a different approach, from using a fine gauge on a knitting machine to chunky hand knit. I am proud to have been able to introduce and showcase many different methods and techniques.
If I was to come back to this work, I think that garment construction would be something I’d reconsider; perhaps creating some other shapes to complement those already in the collection.
What kind of feedback has your collection received?
Most people are wowed by the collection; they are overwhelmed by the exaggerated scale and colour of the pieces. This suits me, as a designer you want a strong reaction. The feedback is positive which is really encouraging; though I imagine that there would be equally as many people who would find the garments too much. I’ve learned to accept that.
What was your inspiration for this collection? Who is it aimed at?
When I started the project I looked back at different cultural trends of the early 1990s as well as traditional African patterning. I then tied these influences with contemporary fashion designers. 90s aesthetics started interesting me when I found old pictures of myself as a really young kid.
I looked at those bright patterned clothes I used to wear and wished I still had some of them … and that they would fit!To be honest, I could not remember this era in much detail and I did not know it that well. It was great to be able to go back and research it and pick out particular trends that I liked and inspired me.
The outcome of the design process depends on who your customers might be. Your designs should be coherent and you must ask: would they wear this? In this instance, my customer is certainly a man who wants to stand out from the crowd.
Can you talk us through your creative process?
I like to draw out in a very fluid way what I would like the knitwear to look like, without thinking about how it could be achieved technically. That comes later when I have to bring what has been drawn into reality. I love when something seems impossible to make. I get excited by the challenge; finding a way to make this impossible design is very rewarding.
With this particular collection the biggest challenge was in fact, time management, fitting everything I wanted to do into the time scale provided. The solutions I came up with to make my designs work were often slow, hand manipulation techniques, such as having to hand link hundreds of triangles together, or laddering sections of knit to re-knit them back up. Patience and dedication were key, but it’s what gives the textiles their USP, their Unique Selling Proposition!
What other difficulties did you face with this collection?
Choosing the yarns also took a lot of time. I quickly came up with the colour palette I had used in my designs, through swatching. The difficulty was in repeating these choices for different gauges. I had to be able to use those selected colours, from the finest machine to the chunkiest hand knit, so that all the different scales would pull together. The problem was in fact the sizes of thread available with manufacturers for each colour. It was really difficult to get the exact shades in the finest silk, right through to the chunkiest mohair in the quantities I required.
What advice would you give to others when facing their graduate collections?
I think it is important throughout your textiles course and especially with your final collection to never lose the creative flair that has drawn you to the subject.
My own experience showed that conversations with people who could look at what I was doing with fresh eyes would bring ideas which I would never have come to on my own, from a different influence to another solution to a technical problem. So talking with your peers is important. Equally I found that helping someone else, giving someone a hand, was a real boost to me and my own work.
But maybe the best advice I could give would be to really get ahead of the game as soon as possible. Researching your themes and where to source your materials early on, is a smart move.
Now that you’ve graduated what’s next?
Since graduating, the biggest challenge has been establishing connections with the people – some of big names – I would love to work with. Being in London for New Designers in June certainly helped in meeting some of the right people. I’ve tried to get my work to the widest possible – but appropriate – audience after the show, to make myself visibly available to the right people. I’ve set up a website and sent online portfolios to some of the companies I would love to work with. I have also been featured on a few blogs, where people have had a lot of very positive and exciting things to say about my collection.
What are your hopes for your textile designing career?
Ideally, I would like to be employed in a position which involves design, and physically knitting, as that is what I really love. During that time I would hopefully build up experience and connections which would aid me to progress in the industry. I hope one day to be a real expert in the field of knitwear.
Since this interview, Scott has secured a job at the specialist knitwear company Eribe as an “innovation knitwear designer”. We wish him all the best with this next exciting step into his career, and we cannot wait to see what he comes up with under Eribe’s creative umbrella.