This year’s Fashion Show celebrated two significant international collaborations. Opening the event, Bradford College Principal Michele Sutton OBE welcomed distinguished representatives from the British Council, India and Sri Lanka and remarked, “At the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October 2010, Bradford College Fashion and Photography students worked with the International Institute of Fashion Technology students to deliver ‘The Enchanted Splendour Fashion Show’. I delighted that Mr Ratnadeep Lal Founder & Chairman of the International Institute of Fashion Technology is with us this evening and a collection from the Institute will be showcased this evening. Exciting work has also taken place with our Sri Lankan partner, the outstanding Academy of Design in Colombo. College Fashion & Textile students undertook a three month placement with major brand companies in Sri Lanka, working with traditional crafts. This culminated in student collections and exhibitions being showcased at the Sri Lanka Design Festival 2010. Representing the Academy of Design I am pleased to welcome Mr Stuart Macleod Head of Fashion at the Academy of Design and students Dinukshi Hettige and Arunika Ranawana. Collections from the academy will also be showcased this evening.
Our international guests revealed the background their collections:
Stuart McLeod, Head of Fashion Design at the Academy of Design in Colombo, Sri Lanka said, “Since I took up this post last September I have been aiming for diversity of design and that students communicate their ideas in an expressive way; showing their personality but being commercial at the same time. The three collections we are showing in Bradford were shown at the Sri Lanka Design Festival last November. Prior to the collections the students, who have completed the HND in Fashion Design and are starting the BA top-up in September, had already developed skills in the three principles of craft studied within textiles: hand loom, batik and beeralu lace. Their final collections were then based on pushing the limits and were developed regarding a muse figure. The result was the idea of bringing craft into a contemporary situation which is part of the Academy of Design’s DNA. Sri Lanka has hi-tech manufacturing industry with green credentials and also a low tech craft industry. Our students work on projects for many major UK brands with one of the many integrated design studios in Sri Lanka, who work with all the major labels including Next, Abercrombie & Fitch etc.
The Academy of Design shouldn’t just be offering fashion courses but should also bring on board respect for local industry, bringing together more of a dynamic fashion idea, building design quality into communities and the work they are doing. We want to find ways to enhance and rejuvenate crafts needing support by building an identity and developing a local style which is at once international, following fashion trends and inventing new ones, while working with local craftspeople. It is about adding the human element back to the textile trades. This has been a very positive trip for students who have been on internships before starting the BA. To show the collection to an outside audience is fantastic for them. When you have an island culture you can become insular. It was nice to have students from Bradford and reciprocal visit allows them to gain an understanding of UK culture and the diversity of the retail environment, from price structure to product development. This opportunity shows them all that is out there but also that they have a valuable place in the outside world.”
Ratnadeep Lal Founder & Chairman of the International Institute of Fashion Technology in New Delhi, India said, “We are showcasing student collections which were designed as the result of a competition. We held a competition in which over four hundred students participated. They submitted drawings, fabrics and colour schemes which was good practice for them. A jury of institute and industry people selected five winners to show their costumes in Bradford and twenty finalist received certificates. All twenty costumes will be shown in New Delhi in August. Unfortunately our students couldn’t come as they were unable to secure visas in time but the product is more important than their physical presence. They are delighted that their creations will be seen and appreciated.”