Photo Fabric

Student textile designs on show at V&A Dundee

Free-to-use images available Credit: Alan Richardson

Photo Fabric, a showcase of coats, jackets and accessories created by Dundee & Angus College HN Textile students, has opened at V&A Dundee in response to the exhibition Photo City: How Images Shape the Urban World.

When V&A Dundee asked Dundee & Angus College lecturers Ruth Conisbee and Susan Curnyn if their HN Textile students could create work inspired by the new exhibition Photo City: How Images Shape the Urban World they jumped at the chance.

Ruth Conisbee said: “Creating a ‘live’ project and linking with the Photo City exhibition is a great opportunity for our students to think outside the box and experience a slice of what it is like to work as a textile designer. Not only designing and making the work but getting involved in setting up and promoting the work on this scale is invaluable.

“Over the last six months the students have worked incredibly hard to design and make a collection of coats, jackets and accessories. The processes taught and used in production of their work had to be carefully woven into the units, ensuring that they also covered the key learning objectives and outcomes required for them to produce enough evidence to gain their SQA qualification at the end of the course.”

Following the college’s mission to embed sustainability across all courses, reusing fabrics was key.

The garments incorporated dead stock fabric gifted by Dundee firm Halley Stevensons – who are the world's leading manufacturers and innovators in waxed cotton and weatherproofed fabrics.

Dundee designer-maker Kerrie Alexander (returning student and Textile graduate from the college 2009 and ambassador of sustainability) was invited to present a masterclass in working with waxed cotton, which she uses in her signature KerrieAldo raincoats that she sells all over the world.

On returning to her college, Kerrie Alexander said: “It was great to be asked back to the college as a professional. I loved talking to all the students about their ideas, it was an exciting brief for them and an amazing opportunity to work with a quality fabric from a local supplier.”

Students were asked to design a unique collection of coats and accessories inspired by their own photographs and original observational drawings of objects, places, events and people that have shaped who they are. From Dundee’s architecture and the nomadic journey of life, to a grandmother’s garden and light trails in night photography, an ambitious body of work has emerged and these themes are evident in the colours, textures and narratives in the final pieces.

Primary research informed colour palette, choice of fabric and all detailing for design development through surface experimentation. Textile techniques such as applique, patchwork, hand stitching, free machine embroidery, felting, dyeing, printing and cut through techniques were sampled before becoming part of the final garment designs and construction. The garment silhouette along with concept collars, hoods, fastenings, pockets, decorative elements were linked to current Fashion trends.

Joanna Mawdsley, Head of Learning at V&A Dundee, said: “This is a brilliant project and a great opportunity for us to support young talent in the city, we’re so delighted to have the students’ work on display at V&A Dundee and hope visitors enjoy seeing it.”

The show is free and open daily until 2nd June (10-5pm) in the Designer in Residence Studio.

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