Woolmark Prize Collection
This collection is about youth, growing up and is a celebration of my own upbringing and heritage. In the three years since graduating and setting up my label I have had a lot of growing up to do, and in a time of political uncertainty, when it often feels like the world is turning the wrong way, it is up to the youth of today to fight back; this collection is a uniform to do this in.
The rich history of textile manufacturing in the North of England was a starting point for my designs, the area’s influence permeates the collection through the use of fine fabrics from British mills, super-fine merino wools in Prince of Wales check, boating stripes for tailoring and lamb’s wool scarves made at Yorkshire’s historic Abraham Moon & Sons mill.
John Bulmer’s late 1970s photographs of the North of England provide the backdrop, illustrating a time of mass industrial and social change. His photographs don’t feel dissimilar to the uncertain socio-political climate that Britain faces today. Many parts of the collection nod to this period; the striped vests layered over more stripes and underpinned with extra-fine merino polo necks which appear traditional at first, but on closer inspection they reveal something new, it’s a look that feels familiar, but simultaneously unexpected.
Whilst taking inspiration from British heritage garments, in particular school uniforms and sports kits, this collection takes a modern approach to dressing and rejects tradition in favour of progression. Tailoring is slim and rendered in striped suiting woven with superfine silk stripes and trousers have been split up the sides; a sign of the rebellion to come. Denim style jackets and jeans are re-imagined with contrast stitching in merino wool and mixed with sporting base layers. This is not a collection to be quiet in, or that of a model student, this is a collection of teenage angst and want’s it’s voice heard.
It feels especially important to talk about arts education in the UK at this time when creative subjects are being cut back in many schools. Current advice explains that ‘academic subjects are the best route to higher-level study’ despite