Burnside Business & Enterprise College, 7th December 2016. It’s cold outside, and the ground is frosty. It’s the day of my second ever Tice Fashion Insight stage and today I’m working with Fashion Mentor and Illustrator, Lottie. We’ve managed to set up the room, we’re defrosting nicely and, as the bell rings and the students arrive, we’re raring to go.
The TiCE Fashion Insight day starts with a Powerpoint presentation about the fashion industry which leads into a discussion with the students about their thoughts on the difference between fashion and textiles as fields of study and employment.
It was fascinating to hear the Burnside students’ views and opinions and their take on such a vast and varied industry. We discussed the influence of digital communications and technology like digital printing – and how cool it would be to be able to design and print your outfit for a Saturday night out.
The day then became a little more practical as the students got into three groups for the first exercise, a foray into the world of fashion illustration and design. We gave each group a selection of industry trend forecasting mood boards and fashion illustration templates, then asked each student to create two different designs.
From Parisien-inspired details to Egyptian colour schemes, there was lots of talk about ruching, pleating, skirt lengths, fastenings and waistbands as coloured pens were exchanged, rubbers were borrowed, and advice on fabrics was sought.
Once everyone was happy with their designs – and there were some beautiful ones – the groups were asked to work as a team and choose one person to amalgamate the best bits and details of each of the drawings.
This request is always a hard one to fulfil as it requires careful negotiation, teamwork, sensitivity and also enthusiasm. After a few moments of discussion, though, each team had chosen their designated designer, and they were off. Lottie and I then added to the challenge by introducing a celebrity that each team had to dress, from a selection of famous faces that included Ellie Goulding, Kylie Jenner and Pharrell Williams.
The students looked at their work, looked at their groups’ work and soon they were deep in discussions about who would work well with a French trend, who was more suited to something sleeker and who could carry off a pretty rose pink number.
Once they had decided on their celebrity and their trend they were off. The groups got the hang of pinning and darting a calico bodice with ease and soon they were coating their bodices with strips of papier maché.
Soon the room was filled with the sounds of ripping newspaper, squirty glue and calls for more pins. Lottie and I watched as slowly but surely, each mannequin was given a shapely, structured bodice that was helped to dry by the introduction of a box full of hairdryers from the science lab (thank you, science lab!!).
After lunch, the creative juices really started to flow and paint pots were filled, ready for the decorating stage. Of the three groups, one had chosen to dress Nikki Minaj, one to dress Ellie Goulding and the others to dress Kylie Jenner. As the costumes began to come together on the mannequins, it was clear to see who had chosen whom and the amount of thought and consideration that had gone into each of the beautiful designs.
The students had great fun decorating their designs. One group went for an Egyptian theme with a bold gold neckpiece; that was for Kylie. Ellie Goulding was to be the proud owner of a romantic pale pink nipped-waisted dress, and Nikki Minaj would have been proud of her Eiffel Tower-inspired dress – with its cheeky handprint on the bottom.
As the end of the day drew near the students did an excellent job of packing away, washing the sticky glue brushes and cleaning out the copious number of paint pots. Their introduction to fashion complete, we left their beautiful creations behind, so that they could dry fully for display in the school.
Thanks for having us, Burnside. It was a brilliant day.