As we near the start of a new academic year, we’re looking back at some recent LCF graduates who worked or studied closely with the Centre during their time at LCF, and reflect on their successes on BA, MA and PhD courses across the university.
Alyson Tobin, BA Cordwainers Footwear
Alyson Tobin was one of the Kering Award finalists this year, working closely with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion to present her idea about design for disassembly to Stella McCartney.
‘When I first started thinking about sustainability I went to the obvious starting point of material substitution but after speaking to some of the members at the Centre I realised that sustainability is not just about the immediate and small future, but that I had to think about the bigger picture. The sessions and mentoring that I received made me see fashion in a completely different way and really consider its impact globally and how each step in the supply chain could be improved sustainably and ethically.’
She graduated from her BA in her mother’s vintage floral dress from the ‘80s, and is now working as an accessories intern at Reiss, and looking for a more permanent position, hopefully in a sustainable footwear company.
Read more about Aly’s Kering Award project on the CSF blog soon!
Fiona Fung, MA Fashion Futures
Fiona Fung studied on MA Fashion Futures, and took part in the first year of the Kering Award, getting to the final stage and presenting her concept of seaweed as a sustainable resource for the fashion industry to Stella McCartney. She finished her MA in January 2016, and, since then has been working closely with the Centre on delivering the second year of the Award.
‘Working with CSF helped me to stay relevant on current topics surrounding sustainability, which informs how I approach my creative practice. They’re leaders in their field within the fashion industry (culturally, socially, and politically) and they’re always taking on such interesting projects. The Centre encouraged me to see the potential of interdisciplinary thinking that is visible in other design disciplines, but not always in fashion.’
Fiona came to the London College of Fashion with a background in fashion design and pattern cutting, and over five years experience in luxury ready-to-wear, and was quick to get involved with as many different projects and activities as she could.
‘My favourite thing about LCF is the variety of fashion departments available, such as CSF, The Digital Anthropology Lab, and the Mare Street tailoring studio — they’re all so unique. I really like the academic support network available too.’
Fiona graduated in a Victoria Beckham sample that she bought at a car book sale in Dalston, which, in her words ‘fit like a glove!’ She now hopes to ‘infiltrate a variety of businesses and organizations with my MA training and new design philosophies.’
Agraj Jain, BA Menswear
Agraj Jain came from Agra in India to study BA Menswear at the London College of Fashion, and has been involved with sustainability for the duration of his course. In his final year, he took part in the Kering Award, and presented a concept around ‘peace silk’ to Brioni.
‘Working with CSF made me more focused and serious, increased my awareness of sustainability and taught me how to work more professionally.’
Agraj is now back in India, applying for jobs and researching for his next collection. He graduated in his own design faux leather shoes and belt, which reflected his current sustainable and vegetarian work ethic!
Watch this space for more info about Agraj’s Kering Award project- and of course, to hear who the winners are when they’re announced!
PhD students graduating in 2016
By Prof Sandy Black, Professor of Fashion & Textile Design & Technology
Congratulations to three graduates each awarded their PhD this academic year – and all linked to the Centre for Sustainable Fashion.
Flavia Amadeu is a Brazilian designer working in the area of accessories, whose PhD focus was developing a methodology for mediating sustainable design practices with artisans in rubber tapping communities from the Amazon Rainforest, seeking to enhance their autonomy and financial stability through design. Flavia’s Director of Studies was Prof Kate Fletcher, with co-supervision by myself and Prof Dilys Williams.
Anne Prahl is a designer with over 20 years professional experience working in the fashion, textiles and sportswear sector. Her PhD combined sustainability values with wellbeing and preventative healthy lifestyles to investigate the potential for sensing key indicators from the body or the atmosphere, through material means such as responsive fashionable accessories. I was Anne’s Director of Studies with recent co-supervision by Prof Ian King.
Maria Tsakalides is a bespoke designer and pattern maker based in Greece, who studied the specialist area of adapted patternmaking for young girls with scoliosis, to enhance their wellbeing, surveying 75 people as a comprehensive basis for her new body shape classification and pattern modifications to support fashionability. I was Maria’s Director of Studies with co-supervision by former LCF research colleague, pattern and fit specialist Dr Penelope Watkins.
Graduation is always a proud moment for any student and their tutor, but having three of my PhD students graduate in one year is particularly wonderful! As most people realize, studying for a PhD is a huge commitment in time and energy from the candidate over a period of years. The impact on their family who provide support shouldn’t be underestimated either, with changes in priorities and roles commonplace. And of course the supervisory team is there to guide all the way through the journey, with an increasing amount of responsibility taken over by the candidate as time progresses, until with the award of PhD they are fully recognised as independent researchers!
I’m particularly proud to see the success of PhD candidates who have made the journey from being practitioners in fashion – designers and pattern makers – to researchers able to understand and express a more theoretical perspective on their work, and seeing the bigger context in order to contribute to both practical and academic knowledge. These studies extend the field of fashion research through practice-based understanding, and graduates like Flavia, Anne and Maria are capable of integrating both areas – a true hybrid of practice and theory, pioneers in the relatively new academic area of practice-based and practice-led fashion research. We wish them the best of luck in their future careers.