On Wednesday 24th February, I attended The Second International Conference for Creative Pattern Cutting at Huddersfield University.
I was deeply interested in what Dr. Timo Rissanen spoke about in the opening speech.
“SLOW DOWN! WE ARE CREATIVE”
I am now a Sole Trader, I have my own business doing what I was born to do! Creating art to make people happy and make myself happy! Designing, pattern cutting and manufacturing by myself all in my little studio situated in the quaint countryside of Pleasley Vale.
I also have a full time job. Which as you can imagine is very frustrating sometimes when you have to push aside your creative flow to focus on the main money maker.
What I get stressed about is seeing new fashion brands churning out all these new designs, tops, trousers, dresses, coats. I find myself thinking how the hell are you managing to design, cut and manufacture all these garments and afford to buy surplus fabrics for them plus all the other costs involved?
I see this happening and I feel that this is what I need to be doing!
But I’m wrong!
Timo Rissanen’s speech made me feel a whole lot better about how I am running my business and what my brand is all about.
Timo spoke about how he believes Fashion is in crisis, how designers have resigned and recently Paul Smith announced that they will only be showing two collections per year.
Fast Fashion is getting faster and with this fastness, quality is lost along the way.
How is a designer supposed to perfect a design or pattern when they only have a short amount of time to finish it ready for production? Corners are cut. I know this from experience.
There was a lot of inspiring quotes used during the speech that I connected with.
“TO CUT IS TO THINK AND SEE.” Celant (1997:21)
I truly believe that in order to be a brilliant designer you need to understand how to pattern cut and understand the body. Without those skills…well, you will have problems. And I do believe that higher education at BA level should focus a little more on creative pattern cutting. During my time at NTU at BA stage I struggled with understanding pattern cutting, I didn’t actually enjoy it, but I wanted to! It was obvious to me, I can draw my pretty little pictures but without a good understanding of pattern cutting I wouldn’t be able to transform it into 3D.
So, I waved goodbye to my very few friends and I stayed at NTU and did a PGCert in Creative Pattern Cutting. This was one of the best decisions of my life and I recommend any Fashion student to do this after their BA. My tutor was Maria Stafford one of the Senior Lecturers at NTU – brilliant pattern cutter and mentor!
Throughout the short projects I did during this, I was taught how to cut from draping on the stand (something I wasn’t at that point very comfortable with), cutting from scratch and creating our own basic blocks, recreating a Vionnet garment and the final project was using your chosen technique but relating it what I wanted to specialise in – Plus Size Womenswear.
After these 15 weeks were over I again stayed at NTU and did a Part Time Masters Degree specialising in Plus Size Womenswear. Again, a very good decision and this was the best two years in education I had! I undertook extensive research, I moulded my friends body in mod rock and fibre
glassed it to create my own tailors dummy – which was a more realistic view of todays body. I even won an award for Highly Commended Clothing Design; which was from the first All Walks Beyond the Catwalk: Diversity NOW! competition in Association with i-D Magazine. I am very passionate about the quality of my pattern cutting and the construction and finishings of every design. To hear these words from somebody else in the industry was like music to my ears. I worry to much – it’s a fault of mine – however from now on I will be concentrating on sticking to what I believe in and making garments for my niche without worrying how long it takes to perfect it – along as it is beautiful and made to last then I am happy!
Here is a link for the full notes on Timo Rissanen’s speech.
A good read.