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Textile Design students set an inventive design challenge by artist Bruce Asbestos

Second year students create designs for a series of experimental costumes for the Bruce Asbestos A/W Collection 2018

The winning team members with artist Bruce Asbestos
The winning team with artist Bruce Asbestos

Students in their second year of the BA (Hons) Textile Design course at Nottingham Trent University have been working on a creative brief for Nottingham-based artist Bruce Asbestos. The brief challenged the students to devise concepts for the Bruce Asbestos A/W Collection 2018, a project which will see the production of twenty costumes, informed by the idea of a fashion collection. The project will culminate in a catwalk presentation at Nottingham Contemporary this May, drawing on Asbestos’ international research into textiles at the MET and The Fashion Institute (FIT) in New York.

Taking surreal elements of European folk tales, in particular Hansel and Gretel, Asbestos challenged the students to take the various details of the Brothers Grimm tale and reimagine them through using materials, prints and patterns in surprising ways. The catwalk show will take this story as a starting point, focusing on the transformative nature of things, from houses made of food to children who become murderers.

The students responded by creating an impressive array of mood boards, fabric samples and prototypes for their costume concepts, ensuring the outcomes met Asbestos’ requirement to be bizarre, sometimes sculptural and always unexpected.

Development work from the winning team's sketchbooks
Development work from the winning team's sketchbooks

Asbestos was hugely impressed by what he saw. “The students took loads of unexpected approaches to the brief, and there were elements which blew me away. Some of the things they’ve come up with are just incredible!” he said.

After deliberation, the winning team was decided, made up of students Lauren Brooks, Liam Clair, Laura Hutchins, Molly O’Doherty and Lauren Stacey. Asbestos will now work with the winning students to develop their concepts and prototypes into finished garments for the catwalk show in May, which promises to be entertaining and at times, shocking.

Student Lauren Brooks found the project to be a big learning experience. She commented: “It showed me that working as part of a group through different disciplines can change how you view your own samples, and having extra people to influence and support your ideas is extremely helpful!”

She particularly enjoyed the experimental element of the project: “Experimentation is something that’s important to me, and through the other live projects I wouldn’t have had the chance to be as creative. I have learnt to communicate more when being part of a group and ask for advice, as somebody else’s perspective can be a change for the better!” she said.

Published on 8 February 2018
  • Category: Culture; School of Art & Design