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July 2011


01   /   07   /   2011


Upcycle was a collaboration with Concept Contour Forecasting Agency based in Paris who manage the trend areas at Interfiliere International Trade fairs and a staff student team from Northumbria University.

Interfilière events are an industry benchmark, recognised for their selective range, trend-setting and forecasting and tailored to support the strategies of brands and garment-manufacturers working in intimates and beachwear worldwide. They have been established for nearly 30 years in Paris and since 2005 and 2006 in Shanghai and Hong Kong. The exhibition attracts over 304 exhibitors  of which 82.5 percent international, from 28 different countries. Over 27,000 Visitors attend the trade show.

Concepts: The worlds leading Lingerie Design Source was established in 1987 by Jos Berry. The Fashion Marketing Programme at Northumbria has had a long established relationship with Jos Berry where students would undertake a year long industrial placement. In May 2011 Jos approached Fashion Design and Marketing and asked if we would look to collaborate with them to work with a variety of Lingerie fabric and trim specialists in a project to Upcycle ‘Forgotten Stock’ - ‘Forgotten Stock’ held in both fabric and design manufacturers warehouses'.

Amongst the companies involved in donating fabrics were Hamerle and Vogel, Bischoff Texil, Noyen/Darquer, Cheynet, Codentel, Dentelles Clement, Liebaert, Brunonoli Giovanni, TianHai Lace, E.Bosselli, Freetex, Greuter Jersey, Junior by Zibetti, Klauber, Louis Vidon, Odea, Pizval, PT.  Kewalram , Roche, Solstiss, Takeda and Broderie Deschamps.

This was an experiment in open collaboration with final year students who were just about to graduate and an opportunity for staff to evidence design practice as research for outside agencies; Concepts, Interfiliere and the fabric manufacturers.

The staff and students worked as a design team in a collegiate and open sharing way to use the  ‘Forgotten Stock’ from these leading lingerie embroidery and fabric manufacturers and add value to the materials through considered design; to Upcycle.  The team of experts and fledgling professional practioners shared insights on print and surface decoration, embroidery, new forms of ‘cut’, and the addition of trim and construction techniques. Over 55 individual garments were made to meet the brief. The pieces were curated in a separate section in the main exhibition and were part of the overall trend information sector. Each piece labelled appropriately in order for manufacturers and designer from industry to track contributor’s fabric and trims for possible purchase. All the fabric manufacturers were pleased with the design ethos and innovation that met the brief’s description.

Trade fairs offer an opportunity for designers from industry to view the latest fabrications and trends forecast for the next season. This is a time when designers try to feed themselves with visuals on shape, colour, print and innovative ideas to help them transform their own companies ‘style’ for the next season. In the present climate of recession and global economic downturn designers in industry under tight deadlines and constraints do not always have the time to undertake primary research themselves and rely on forecasting agencies such as Concepts Paris.

Fabric designers have specialist skills in innovating for an invariably flat 2D surface to which they hope to entice and sell to garment designers. Unlike branding in mainstream consumer products, many fabric manufacturers have not looked to evolve how they present their fabrications for innovative consumption. The collaboration between students staff at Northumbria and the outside agencies form an intellectual realisation of experimental product for these garment designers to view and emulate or be ‘inspired from’.

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