Yet another academic year has come and gone and with it a new class of Fashion students graduate. This year’s standard of BA collections was as high as ever, making it exceptionally hard to focus on key individuals. But we couldn’t help but be overly impressed, enthused and curious by a handful of students certainly set to take the industry in their stride… over to you Maisie Edge.
Maisie Edge – University of Brighton
Maisie Edge, or should I say Queen of the Catwalk, perfectly sussed how to look at creative inspirations and costume to influence her in creating designs that can be adapted to be striking on the runway.
What was the basic path that your research took to form your final concept?
I decided quite early on that I wanted to use my Polish heritage as the main starting point for my collection. I think this may have been as a reaction to Brexit: a way to show solidarity with Europe and make a political statement. I started researching Polish folk clothing. Each provenance in Poland has its own style of folkloric dress, so there was so much variety of pieces to research. I was lucky enough to be able to get an interview with dress historian Professor Lou Taylor, who has been researching Polish folk clothing for many years. She kindly gave me some Polish folk dress atlases, which had actual clothing patterns for the pieces. I decided to take these traditional folk clothing patterns and put them in a contemporary men’s sportswear context. I think the unusual silhouettes that these folkloric patterns produce add a new perspective to menswear. During this time, I was also writing my dissertation on how the Communist regime affected the fashion industry in Poland, and this also provided me with lots of research for my collection. I spent a lot of time in the British Library finding sources and reading about Polish culture. I was really inspired by the Polish art magazine that was produced in the 1950s called Ty I Ja. I loved their bold, graphic covers and I knew that I wanted to use bold colour and graphic lines in my collection. Also, there was a sub-culture in the 1950s in Poland called the Bikini Boys that used hand painted ties, featuring Americana images, to rebel against the Communist system. This rebellious attitude was also really inspirational and I wanted to channel the defiance that this subculture through my collection.
Where did your initial idea come from?
The initial idea came from my heritage and so something very personal to me. My collection is called Babcia Boys, Babcia meaning grandmother in Polish, and the styling in my collection featured my own Babcia’s headscarves that she would always wear. I always think that the more personal a starting point is the more unique the outcome will be.
Have any internships influenced you taking the menswear design path and style you have?
I interned at Christopher Raeburn and Craig Green, and I think they both influenced the style and path I have taken with my collection. Christopher Raeburn in terms of the wear-ability of garments and practical detailing, and also sourcing sustainable materials. All the T-shirts produced in the collection are made from ethical jersey made by the company Lebenskleidung, and my statement oversized red coat is made from wool produced by the Heritage brand Hainsworth. Whilst Craig Green influenced me in terms of forming textiles through handcrafted fabrication. I worked on the brand’s S/S 18 collection and was so inspired by the hand patch-working the graphic prints and channelling the fabric to create texture. I wanted to use tapes and grosgrains in a similar way in my collection, to add another dimension to the garments through slightly odd use of fabrication.
Off The Cuff LDN particularly love look five with that amazing denim jacket! Can you talk us through the garment please?
Thank you! The denim jacket in look 5 was actually a spin off piece of the oversized red coat in look 6. It was inspired by images I found of Hungarian shepherds and these amazing, oversized coats that they wore. The pattern for the coat is very geometric, basically all squared, to give it that boxy, odd shape. For the denim jacket, I just made the silhouette shorter and slimmer. I wanted to make it more grounded in an already established garment by adding traditional denim jacket features. I think the idiosyncrasy of the folk pattern and the odd, boxy silhouette it achieves, alongside the practical, recognisable detailing of the denim jacket created a nice balance in the piece.
What direction has this inspired you to take with your future career?
My collection definitely cemented my infatuation with menswear and men’s clothing. I think it is still such an emerging market with so much undiscovered territory and boundaries that are still yet to be pushed. I would also love to go into sportswear design, as I love the practicality that it is grounded in, but there is also so much room for energetic and playful design.
What inspired your colour pallet?
My colour palette mainly came from Soviet photographers Chris Niendenthal’s and Boris Mikhailov’s work. They both documented life in Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe under the communist regime. Their work heavily features the colour red, and so I knew that I wanted red to be my most prominent colour. Then the turquoise and black and white stripe came from folkloric images, Ty I Ja covers and modern artist Masha Reva’s work.
What direction would you take the follow on collection were you to do so?
I think if I were to follow on my collection I would investigate the fabrication more; how to create a textile.
Fabrics used in the collection:
- Cotton velvet
- Striped Satin
- Nylon Satin
- Cotton Denim
- Ethical Cotton Jersey
Maisie Edge – Fashion Design Student, University of Brighton
Instagram – @maisieedgedesigns
Check out more of our GFW 2018 articles here.