Some of you will know that we hold an annual student sponsorship programme, whereby we invite final year students on design-led courses to submit their sustainably orientated project. This year’s winner, as voted by you lovely lot – our Eco Designer of The Future 2017 – is the wonderful wonderful Elizabeth Walkling! Elizabeth has been incredibly busy with her final project, and is now on the home stretch for her degree show which opens this week!
We caught up with Elizabeth this week to hear and see a little more about the aesthetic and ideological themes behind her final textile design project, and how she links that with her strive for sustainable design. Over to Elizabeth…
My collection is aimed at women aged between 21-31 who want to have a fashionable, functional and considerate wardrobe that doesn’t leave them feeling dissatisfied with the constant stream of fast fashion trends. Instead, they will enjoy a timeless collection of fashion fabrics made with quality eco-friendly materials.
I am committed to the idea of designing with a sense of purpose, a focus on craftsmanship and with sustainable materials of high quality. This approach to design offers savvy consumers the opportunity to forge a deeper connection with their purchases, creating a sense of longevity in regards to the relationship between the design and the consumer.
In my collection I have used the Recycled Polyester Satin (2nd, 3rd and 13th fabric along in the first photo) that has been dispersed and screen printed onto. I have also used the Undyed Cream Twill (7th along) which I dyed naturally using avocado skins and which I then screen printed onto. I used Jersey fabrics and hand dyed these to act as the co-ordinating fabrics to my digital prints to balance out colour and texture. I then used the Medium Weight Charmeuse Satin (above) to hand dye and add a sense of sophistication and bright pops of colour as they really held the dye well. I explored the use of colourings of fabric to balance out my heavily printed designs and I enjoyed making sample boards with the fabrics I ordered from Offset Warehouse.
To extend the flexibility of the collection, a combination of soft, warm and cool tones that merge into a season-less colour palette is used. In order to coincide with the concept of steering away from ever-changing trends that constantly leave the consumer feeling dissatisfied, as they key into fashion rather than style, the theme of abstracting imagery informed by mineralogy and stratigraphy was explored. From my research I extracted printed textile design ideas which I combined with my personal hand writing style. The notion of slow living influences the idea of trans-seasonal versatility within women’s fashion. As the seasons of the weather start to blur, conscious consumers find themselves in need of a wardrobe that transcends seasonal change yet remains relative to the weather and to fashion. This reinforces the awareness and importance that sustainability has on my design ethos.
I love the idea of using geological aesthetics to inform fashion; an ancient and slow process embedded deep within the Earth’s form – creating the soils and topogpraphies of the planet that give life to our complex and beautiful ecosystems, providing us with sustenance, beauty, seasons and life. You can’t get much more ideologically in tune with the planet than that when it comes to taking inspiration for trans-seasonal style! You can see all of Elizabeth’s delicious designs at her upcoming degree show:
Private view 9th June
Open to the public from 12th-15th June
Leeds College of Art, Blenheim Walk, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9AQ
Elizabeth’s degree show is open to anyone who can and would like to go, so please do if you’re in the area of if you’re looking for a wonderful new surface designer for your brand! We’ll be back with more on Elizabeth’s design journey soon, as she steps out of university and into the world of industry.