Sunday, 30 September 2012

WSP Future Cities: work in progress video #2

As promised, here is the second of the two videos we made documenting my progress throughout the WSP Future Cities project:

Saturday, 29 September 2012

WSP Future Cities: work in progress video #1

WSP asked me to make some videos where I discuss my ideas and work in progress. I'm not a huge fan of being filmed (!), but here's the first one:

Thursday, 27 September 2012

WSP Future Cities: Buildings, Energy, Regeneration

I was asked to make some videos for WSP while I was working on this project, which I will post here by the end of the week. In the meantime, here are the final studio shots of my three pieces that they shot in Stockholm at the end of August.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

WSP Future Cities: how the Regeneration gown came to be

This is the last of three posts where I explain how I came to create each of my pieces for WSP's Future Cities project

The third theme I was set was Regeneration.  It was the one that excited me the most, as my mind instantly went to recycling, which is important both in my work and my life. This became the basis for the piece before I even knew what the design would be - to me, it was crucial that the yarns used to create this piece were recycled, or reclaimed.

I started out with a chunky jersey yarn, which is salvaged from the floors of t-shirt factories.  Before sheets of jersey are cut for garments they automatically trim 1cm strips from the edges. This would be thrown away, but some clever person realised that it could be collected up and stitched together to create cones of yarn. I then asked a talented recent Central Saint Martins graduate, Irem Arig, to hand spin the yarns with some home-dyed British mohair.  What she came up with was an incredibly chunky and unusual yarn with which to build a textured, structured garment.

Having done some extensive research into the origin of the word 'regeneration', the concept that came up over and over was rebirth. I wanted to create a silhouette where one part of the garment emerged from something else - one being born from another. From there, I crocheted some swatches and realised I could make a heavy, sculpted bodice in one piece which would envelop the torso, with a long flowing skirt emerging from the bottom, to create a gown.  The yarn I used to knit the skirt is from British yarn company Rowan and is made from recycled silk and cotton. It has a beautiful drape, so compliments the armour-like quality of the bodice beautifully.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

WSP Future Cities: how the Energy piece came to be

As I said in yesterday's post, I want to give you a bit of background on how each of my pieces for WSP came about.

While researching this piece, I looked at all of the different ways the word 'energy' can be interpreted, from fuel (in all it's forms) and power, to human energy and movement. 

While trawling through all of the images I had accumulated, I was most drawn to the silhouette of a contemporary dancer - the energy and grace was so apparent it was almost coming off the page. I knew therefore that the Energy piece had to be form-fitting so that you could see the lines of the body.

A couple of weeks later I was in a cafe where they had one of those '70s inspired beaded curtains hanging in a doorway. It was moving in the breeze and looked so graceful. Thus, the fringed 'cape' was born!  I knew it would look great swinging around the model's body as she walked down the runway, so from there I decided to keep the rest of the piece incredibly simple - I knitted a bikini with clean lines that complimented the cape (and protected the model's modesty!) without detracting from it.  I then trimmed everything in a neon yellow to give it some 'pop', as a nod to electric energy.

Monday, 24 September 2012

WSP Future Cities: how the Buildings dress came to be

In the next few posts I'd like to share some images that explain how each of my pieces for WSP's Future Cities Came about.  First up: buildings. 

When I first started researching and brainstorming the idea of buildings, I went out on my bike armed with my camera and headed straight for the City to get my creative juices flowing. It's where some of the highest buildings in London are, as well as my favourite London landmark: the Gherkin. It ended up influencing the shape of the skirt section of this dress, which wouldn't exist without the expertise of Elodie Ganga, my intern over the last few months. She built the crinoline that sits underneath the skirt to give it it's brilliant dome shape.

I have also included an unexpected element into this piece, having experimented with crocheting into some lengths of chain I had.  I felt the 'hardware' element represented the idea of buildings from a different angle.

Friday, 21 September 2012

WSP Future Cities: catwalk shots

As promised, here are a few shots of the catwalk models from Wednesday afternoon's WSP Future Cities show in Stockholm. I'll be uploading video footage soon, too.

Press coverage: WSP Future Cities #2

Coverage on my involvement with Future Cities on Womenswear Buyer online:

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Press coverage: WSP Future Cities

Brilliant coverage this week for Future Cities in Dagens industri, Sweden's answer to the Financial Times, plus one of my pieces on the front page, which I'm very pleased about.

I stupidly left my camera cable in London so catwalk shots from yesterday's show will be delayed until tomorrow - keep an eye out!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Future Cities collaboration for WSP

Sustainability has been an important issue for me ever since I launched Amy Hall in 2010. In many ways it was one of the reasons I started the brand in the first place: a reaction against the mass production that is rife in the fashion industry. It was and still is hugely important to me that all of my pieces are handmade and the best quality possible.

Which is why, when I was approached a few months ago by engineering consultancy WSP and asked to participate in an international fashion project as part of their Future Cities campaign specifically to raise awareness of sustainability, I leapt at the chance.

The plan was to invite a designer from each of the six countries (UK, USA, Germany, Sweden, South Africa and Australia) involved in Future Cities to represent their own city and design three garments in keeping with themes set by WSP. The themes represent some of the critical issues that need to be addressed in order to deliver sustainable future cities.

My three themes were buildings, regeneration & energy. From May to August I spent a huge amount of time researching the themes, experimenting with a vast array of materials and then creating the three pieces.  Yesterday we all flew to Sweden and in a few hours' time all of the pieces from each of the designers will come together and be shown for the first time to a huge audience on a catwalk in Stockholm. This is incredibly exciting, not least because it will be the first time my work will ever have appeared on a catwalk.  Needless to say, I'm feeling a little bit nervous....!

WiFi permitting, I'll be live-tweeting images from the event this afternoon, so keep an eye on our twitter feed for a first glance!

Over the next few days I will also be uploading images and video of the whole process, showing how each of the pieces came together.

Monday, 17 September 2012

SS13 shoot - behind the scenes

Yesterday, in the midst of all the London Fashion Week madness, we shot the Spring/Summer 2013 lookbook.  It was a fantastic shoot, with all of the pieces looking absolutely stunning on our gorgeous model Roxanne (who you might recognise from the current series of Sky Living's Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model).  I thought I'd share a few sneaky behind-the-scenes shots with you all, but watch this space for the final looks....