A design for life

This spring saw the second group of students pass through the Performance Sportswear Design course at University College Falmouth. David Pittman went along to the graduate fashion show to see their final collections and speak to some of the students about their aspirations.

The second annual fashion show for students graduating through University College Falmouth’s (UCF’s) Performance Sportswear Design course took place at the end of May, and showcased the work of some of the minds and hands that it is hoped will shape the future of performance sportswear design.

The course was launched in 2007, with its first intake of students graduating in 2010. This year’s collections, from the second set of graduating students, ranged from Inuit-inspired children’s lines to science-infused running wear. Performance Sportswear Design students were joined by UCF Fashion Design students in displaying their final collections, some of whom had taken inspiration from the world of sport to come up with their final year work.

Fashion Design student Sarah Howlett’s ‘luxury British sportswear’ fused functional design with contemporary fashion aesthetics; technical fabrics were treated to ultrasonic welding, seam taping and other modern manufacturing techniques and combined with ‘innovative silhouettes’ to ‘bridge the gap between fashion and function’.

Performance Sportswear Design student Hazel Wakefield’s collection for women took inspiration from her love for cycling and awareness of maintaining femininity; ‘practical clothing without compromising on style’. This saw her use her own textile print and a blend of traditional and technical fabrics in the collection.

There was also Betty Blackwell, who attempted to bridge the gap between surfing and sailing style, using colour, shape and function to appeal to sailing’s growing youth culture; Annaleigh Hockaday, whose technical outerwear took inspiration from her rural and coastal upbringing to produce a collection for the ‘discerning outdoor enthusiast’; and Hannah Curson, whose collection was designed to meet the technical demands of being outdoors with day-to-day style.

Lynsey Campbell’s final collection was described as: “A cutting-edge running wear collection with a fresh and streamline aesthetic.” This included the use of digital printing, glow-in-the-dark materials and flat glued seams for ‘comfort and simplicity’.

Campbell was also awarded the Finisterre Award at the event in ‘recognition of excellence and true creative achievement in performance sportswear and design’.

Speaking after the fashion show, she said: “I’ve achieved what I wanted to with my collection. I like introducing science into my designs and using the latest technologies, such as sonic welding, flat seaming and others to lift my collections and, hopefully, revitalise design.”

Campbell said she wants to add other scientific disciplines into her designs, as well assaying she wants to branch out beyond running wear.

“I want to get into swimwear. My final collection was based on running, but I’m open to working in all fields; I don’t want to pigeonhole myself.”

Nettie Scott’s garments were designed with the space tourism and high altitude sports markets in mind, splitting the collection in two to suit both cosmonauts and sports enthusiasts alike. This included experimenting with oxytubing to deliver oxygen to the wearer.

Danish-born student Mette Larsen took her inspiration from Inuit clothing to derive a children’s outdoor clothing collection that drew on artic culture through prints, materials and referencing a gut parka.

Larsen is moving to Sweden to carry on developing children’s lines, saying: “There are not a lot of people that specify in that area as companies tend to just add a children’s line on to their existing collections.

“A lot of time has been spent researching and developing this final collection, and I would say I’ve achieved what I wanted with this and over the three-year course.”

Jun Kamo’s collection took inspiration from tshirts, backpacks and jeans, all interests of his, and mixed them together with his other love: illustration.

He said he had been advised throughout his studies to integrate his passion for illustration into his designs, and that is what he had aimed to achieve with his final collection.

He added that he was in the lucky position of having Nike’s backpack design department interested in his services, but that he’d been able to spurn its advances for a more senior design position with American surf brand Hurley.

Kamo said: “The Nike position was a more junior position, but they’ve said there’s always a position open for me there if I want it. I’m pretty stoked about that.”

Patrick Gottelier, head of UCF’s Department of Design, said he was most proud of the individuality shown by the students. “You can recognise the collections without knowing the name, which is very pleasing.

“It was an eclectic mix which we liked and gave us a good show, which we’re very proud of.”