PAUSE LCM Presentation: The Interviews

We spoke to the four designers at our PAUSE LCM Presentation to learn more about the inspiration behind their collections, their installations and what’s next for them after LCM.

Chelsea Bravo

How would you describe your SS16 collection and what did you want to achieve with it?

I would describe the SS16 collection as a raw depiction of my creative process and where I am currently both individually and with the brand. The collection explored the skeleton, surface, and shape of plants and cacti and I wanted to highlight these characteristics through fabric manipulation and texture.

With this collection I wanted to achieve a sense of freedom and un-restriction, I wanted to allow myself to really get immersed in the fabric and to leave a part of myself within it tangibly as possible.

What is it that organic tones bring to garments that other colours don’t?

The organic tones allows everything to be seen just as it is. The tones don’t say too much so instead you can focus on the detail and character of each piece like how you would a plant. I didn’t want anything to be hidden with this collection, I just wanted people to immediately connect with each piece just as it is right in front of them. This comes from the Wabi Sabi influence from last season that I used, in regards to not wanting to mask things to try and make them into something more beautiful or appealing to the eye, but allowing things to be left in their natural form and appreciated just as they are naturally.

In the production process toiles are made first, the toile is the first draft of that garment, you could say it is the ‘birth’ of a sketch. This collection for me is the birth of my next chapter, hence why I named it an interlude ‘somewhere between the beginning and the end.’

Tell us about your presentation set design, what inspired it?

The set design came about from my research. I was looking at botany, so paying a lot of attention to plants and cacti and visited a few conservatories and gardens. One day the idea is to have the models immersed in an almost mini jungle or garden and I quickly sketched down what I wanted to have in terms of a ‘set’. I titled it ‘maze jungle bush garden’! The paper is below. The set was created by The London Flower House.

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What’s next for Chelsea Bravo in terms of design direction?

I want to keep building on what we have. We have managed to create a signature and identity and now people are starting to identify our pieces which is really nice. So with the next collection I would like to develop and build on these shapes, making them more interesting to wear and layer with each other and to continue to challenge design for menswear.

We had three graduates at the PAUSE LCM presentation, what advice would you give to new design graduates?

My advice to the graduates would be to follow your heart and your vision and stay true to that. Be patient with your journey, but also persistent and work hard and be determined with everything.

Can you give us your thoughts on the PAUSE LCM Presentation?

The PAUSE LCM presentation was delightful! I was not stressed at all (which is how I like it) and I had a really great time, so thank you PAUSE and Jennifer Eleto.


Calum Whitley

How has this collection been received on social media?

The collection has had a good and bad response; initially the images from the catwalk at GFW were used as meme’s which went viral over social media blogs such as UNI LAD, LAD BIBLE ect, getting over 77,000 likes on one image. This wasn’t the type of attention you’d want as a designer, because really you’d want it to be taken seriously. But it was interesting to see people discussing, whether it’s fashion, art or just stupid. I think as a graduate this kind of dialogue is important in getting your work out there into the public view. After the PAUSE event I got a lot of love from all around the world and people seeing it a creative expression, which is what I used my graduate collection as. I designed, pattern cut and sewn the whole collection myself and I learnt so much about what I want to say as a designer and a creative in the process.

Where did the idea first come from to explore hyper masculinity?

This idea came about in the design stage, I was looking at the body and where it sits in social norms, used a tool of transgression and exploring masculinity in that. I used Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as a reference, using a mixture of body types from images of male and female, skinny and muscular, “beautiful” and “ugly”. Creating my own Frankenstein silhouette and distorting the human body as an idea; I used this silhouette in a very literal way to start the design process. As I was making and redesigning, the shapes developed and evolved organically through my own learning experience into the hyper masculine look it has today.

PAUSE wants to know what you’re planning to do next…

Right now, I’ve just moved back to my hometown of Nottingham to let the dust settle after my final year at uni, I’ll be applying for design assistant jobs for a contemporary menswear brand to gain experience and contacts in the industry before looking into doing an MA at one of the London universities.

In the meantime though, I’m in the process of getting a studio to keep working and thinking about next season. I think it’s important to keep working and growing as a creative to build a strong message of what you want your brand to carry.

Can you give us your thoughts on the PAUSE LCM Presentation?

It was great, it was the first time I’ve done anything like that so I was really nervous, but once the event started and the collection received really positive feedback I was able to relax and enjoy the event. In terms of press and contacts, I met people that I will hopefully be working with on collaborative projects soon and with future collections.



Bianca Saunders

Where did the initial thoughts for the ‘London is the place for me’ collection come from?

Initially, I aimed to just stick to exploring the subculture of the rudeboy. I was so inspired by the exhibition at the Somerset House in August I felt passionate about it especially because I have never seen a part of my heritage being displayed in this way. British Fashion subcultures has kind of smudge it out. You often hear about the punks or the MODs but not so much the Rudeboy.

How do you feel that West Indian culture is influencing British fashion?

It’s very prominent in terms of menswear styling, it is easy to spot the influence of it on the streets of London. The mix of tailored trousers with the rough edge of streetwear pieces is definitely West Indian influence and that is what made the subculture of the Rudeboy. Even the popularity of the Clarks dessert boot is of West Indians influence and now they are a trend.

You’ve went against traditional tailoring, instead going for oversized shapes, what was the thinking behind this?

For the actual suit I based it on the meaning of ‘integration’ using the fabric as a metaphor, I blended two different materials into one. I merged together the pinstripe suiting with the wool by needle felting. I designed the suit to have four separate layers so it definitely pieced together my idea. I wanted the suit to be a straight so it looked like a block of colour, making every layer wide to follow the same shape, leaving traditional tailored sharpest to be partly ruled out. For the large lace overcoat I took the shape from a zoot suit. The zoot suit was worn by West Indian men in the early 1950s. I took away the part of having wide shoulders and kept the idea of the narrow waist.

Tell us about your set design at the PAUSE Presentation, what inspired it?

I worked with a set designer called Ottillie Thompson, she previously worked with Ryan Lo for a set design so she was the best person to help me form and idea. I first told her my idea and showed her all the elements of research I had. Straight away she had a brilliant idea which was to use The film ‘This Britain – Pressure’ which was made in 1975 and set in that time. Before this I had never seen the film! After watching it I loved it as it is exactly what my collection is about! The film is about pressure as a powerful portrait of inter-generational tensions between first and second generation West Indian migrants in London’s Notting Hill area where Ottilie is from.

Ottilie picked out scenes from the film showing the black power meetings that the youth set up in the 50s and 60s. It was ideal to keep it simple so it was a setup with chairs and a stage for the models to alternate and stand as if they were leading the meeting. The set was very successful and I would like to work with Ottilie again in the future!

Where do you see things going for your next collection?

Hopefully attracting stockists press and a media following! I would probably have a few more commercial pieces thrown in to it, continuing with my aesthetic with the streetwear and the edge and of tailoring, small feminine hints.

Can you give us your thoughts on the PAUSE LCM Presentation?

Loved it! It had a great atmosphere and the venue was perfect! I am definitely looking forward to seeing the next talent you showcase for the next season.



Ruth Peterson

Why did you feel that zombie films would be a good influence for fashion?

I’ve been obsessed with zombie films ever since my brother first showed me George A Romero’s Dawn of the Dead when I was nine. It wasn’t until I got older and started to look into the meanings behind them that I noticed how much they reflect society. At first I wasn’t sure how to apply it to fashion without it being torn shirts and predictable gory graphics so I decided to apply the zombie theory to today’s society and identified my zombie gang. It’s weird because I said in first year that I wanted my collection to be inspired by zombies and I wanted the models to drag cricket bats down the catwalk and even though the collection I’ve made three years later isn’t quite as literal, it’s not far off!

Do you feel uniformity and lack of identity is something that’s becoming more apparent in society?

I think in today’s society it’s hard not to follow what everyone else is doing when there’s huge corporations like Apple telling you you need to que up at 6am like zombies to get the latest iPhone. We confuse what we want for what we need and it becomes more important for us to wear branded clothing and have the latest technology than to eat or sleep. This was the main reasoning behind the branding I used throughout the collection.

The jackets are great, why ASDA or should we say “ADSA”?

I chose two huge recognisable companies Tesco and Asda changing Tesco to TECco and Asda to ADsa as a reminder of the technology and advertising that has taken over our lives. Growing up you’d be laughed at by your mates if you brought your lunch into school in a supermarket bag so to make brand obsessed lads wear sports jackets with supermarket branding is quite funny really.

Do you feel like your future collections will look at other social issues?

I think it’s hard not to be inspired by things that are going on at the time because it’s what we’re experiencing first hand. I like to look at what’s real, it works for some designers to create a fictional concept but I don’t think that would work for me or the lads that I’m designing for.

Can you give us your thoughts on the PAUSE LCM Presentation?

The PAUSE LCM presentation was so fun, I didn’t know what to expect because it was last minute but the boys looked amazing in the clothes and really acted and looked like a gang – lucky that everyone suits beige! It was such a good opportunity to promote my brand and after speaking to people and hearing such good feedback it’s made me really positive about my next steps. Thank you for the opportunity!