Earlier this year, luxury textile manufacturers AW Hainsworth tasked Fashion Design students from 4 northern-based Universities to create their own ultra-modern garments using classic British cloth, woven at the iconic Hainsworth Mill in Yorkshire.
As proud supporters of rising fashion talent, Hainsworth have worked closely with Universities since 2014, setting annual live briefs and projects to give students real-life experience of working to a client’s brief. Students not only benefit from visiting the mill and learning about the fabric production process, they gain practical and very valuable experience in presenting their garments, working with a client, and receiving feedback.
The 2020 competition brief, titled Respect the Past, Create the Future, challenged students to design and make a fashion garment that celebrated innovation and pushed boundaries, whilst respecting Hainsworth’s rich heritage.
The competition, like many things this year, was affected by the pandemic and two of the four Universities were unable to finish their final garments due to University closures. Judging was able to take place at the University of Huddersfield in person earlier in the year, and via video submission for Manchester Metropolitan University.
Georgina Walls was selected as the University of Huddersfield winner with her imaginative jacket made from Hainsworth Duffle fabric. Georgina took inspiration from heritage fencing garments and used a range of interesting and innovative techniques to construct her ultra-modern jacket.
Georgina said, “I first discovered Hainsworth when researching woollen fabrics suitable for tailoring. I was fascinated by the history behind the brand and Hainsworth’s strong connection to the Royal Family. As a fan of the Royal Family myself it was a great privilege to work with the same people that supply the fabrics used at the Royal wedding.
“After visiting the factory and seeing the journey from start to finish, it really inspired me to start designing. It was at the mill that I first saw the white Duffle fabric that I fell in love with, knowing instantly this was the cloth that I wanted to use for my final jacket. I love the heavy weight of the cloth and its luxurious woolly texture.
“Entering the Hainsworth competition has been both a fun and enjoyable experience which has really challenged my creative mind and push me out of my comfort zone. It helped me to create a final outcome that I am incredibly proud of. The competition has also taught me the importance of choosing the correct fabric and to design with fabric in mind.”
Rhianna Fisher, Manchester Metropolitan University winner, created a three-piece suit inspired by emeralds and the way the light refracts through the cut of the gemstones. Rhianna was selected due to her impressive approach to the brief, thorough research, and quality of the final garment.
Rhianna said, “I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the competition and developing my practice. I enjoyed not only learning the processes involved in tailoring but also working with high quality fabrics and understanding the properties required to achieve the best finish possible.
“British heritage was at the centre of my project, focusing particularly on the monarchy and the crown. I combined this with traditional tailoring to create a new innovative design idea focused on creative cut techniques.
“The fabric was a joy to work with, its quality ensured I was able to manipulate it with ease during construction of the garment. I was drawn to the richness of its colour, it was such a great fit for not only the brief, but my project on the whole.”
Each winner received a cash prize to support them in their final year projects at University. Hainsworth will continue to support rising fashion talent and believe in the importance of this at a grass roots level, allowing students to gain real-world experience to set them up for a successful career in the fashion industry.