Holy Handbags for Twin Magazine blog

Amy Davidson, a BA (Hons) Fashion student at Manchester School of Art, recent won the Mulberry Accessories Award at Graduate Fashion Week for her intricate wood and laser cut leather men’s accessories. Twin spoke to the young designer about her gothic architecture and French cathedral-inspired collection and post graduate plans…

How did it feel to win the Mulberry Accessories Award at 

I couldn’t believe it, the competition was tough this year so I was 
overwhelmed with joy. It also gave me the confidence to keep designing and
 thinking of new ideas. I want to use the same methods from making these bags 
into something new.

What inspired you to pursue womenswear and men’s accessories?

Throughout university and college I enjoyed designing and making feminine
 clothes. I love lace and girly printed fabrics. As I grew and developed my
 design philosophy, I began to love the idea of having these same designs on a
 man. Sometimes designing traditional feminine shapes on a woman can be quite 
predictable and bland, however if you put this on a man it becomes edgy and 
unusual. I chose accessories as a career choice because my work is very 3D. I am 
always trying to place unusual fabrications around the body, so it made more
 sense to study accessories. It’s important for me to find a career I enjoy
 and feel comfortable in.

You mentioned that you like to question why and how we wear fashion 
and how you can influence others. Would you like to elaborate on how 
this ethos feeds into your designs?

This ethos feeds into my designs by taking a generic garment and using it in a new way. In my final degree project I started making a
 traditional corset shape out of boning, then covered it in knitting and 
twisted it into new mysterious shapes around the body. The idea that we have
 to dress a certain way with certain rules doesn’t apply to my designs. I 
would much rather create an art form on the body then a generic shirt and
 pants collection.

Where do you find your inspiration and which designers do you look 
up to?

The inspiration for my collection came from my travels in France last
 summer. I visited a few cathedrals and fell in love with the intricate
 details found around the buildings and on the ceilings. I also love things 
that are delicate like lace, you can see the skill and time that went into
 making something like that. My fascination with both these things lead me to
 design detailed laser cut patterns inspired by gothic imagery.

I chose to 
use the colours black and silver because they are the colours most used in
 my research and work best with the look I tried to achieve.
 The designer I look at the most is Iris Van Herpen, she uses multiple textile techniques and unusual fashion materials to create beautiful
 garments that shock and inspire her audience.
 Another designer is Sandra Backlund, her visionary knitwear breaks the
 mould and shows how sometimes the best way to create exciting garments is to
 let the fabric inform the designs, not flat 2D drawings.

What was the process of creating your graduate accessories 
collection like?

The process of creating my graduate accessories collection was mainly trial 
and error. With most of my technical knowledge in pattern cutting and
sewing, I was faced with the challenge of using wood to create my bags. The most
 logical way for me was to have small holes around each piece of wood and sew 
them together with thick leather thread. Luckily this technique worked well
 and fitted in with the rest of my design.

How would you describe your aesthetic and how would you like to 
further develop as a designer in the future?

My design aesthetic is a real mix of my love for history, be it 
architecture or costume, and modern art. I keep my designs contemporary by 
mixing both research areas to create something original. 
I would like to further develop as a designer in the future by finding new
 ways to use my inspirational imagery. I think I would like to not be so
 literal in my design themes in the future. I enjoy collections that are not 
too overstated, where you can’t see straight away where there designs came from, and that are a mix of ideas or a different take on the brand’s own
 signature style.

What are your postgraduate plans?

My post graduate plans are to do some freelance design work and then a
 Masters in accessories at the Royal College of Art in September.
 My dream career scenario would be to work for Mulberry or Marc Jacobs, I 
love the quality of finish and the craftsmanship in each item. They design
 stylish accessories that are clean and sophisticated which I’m really 
interested in.


Read the full article here.

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