Every year the Degree Shows at Norwich University of the Arts inspire and enthrall. With so much creativity here in Norwich, this event is just one of the many dates in the diary that highlight just how much creative talent we have here in Norfolk – and acts as a reminder of how businesses should be supporting the next generation.
The BA (Hons) Fashion course is just one of the many exhibitions at the Degree Shows that takes the level of creativity and skill up and notch year on year. This year’s graduates not only showcased high skills in pattern cutting and drape, but also how to combine colour, texture and commercialism to couture design. The exhibition of work impressed Jarrold fashion buyer Denise Green so much that we decided to feature one of her favourite designs in our windows this summer.
Nina Law’s collection - Survival AW18 features athleisure inspired designs that are brought together with the red colour palette – both key trends that have transcended the last few seasons.
We caught up with Nina to find out more about her designs:
What inspires your work?
My work is often inspired by literature and is designed to make a prominent social or cultural statement. My garments are dramatic and feature bold colour, print and unusual textures.
How has this inspiration influenced your graduate collection?
My graduate collection is based on a book of poetry titled ‘Questions for Ada’ by Ijeoma Umebinyuo. The first poem, titled ‘Genesis' consists of a single line - ‘In the beginning there were women.’ Therefore this collection is a story of the history of womanhood and a story of ‘Survival’, hence the name of the collection. This is the story of Eve, of Joan of Arc but also about me, about my grandmother, of my mother.
Your collection mixes soft fabrics with more rigid materials – why this contrast?
The collection, like most of my work, aims to contrast high femininity, hence the use of sheers and florals, with a harsh brutal reality. This is reflected in the fabric choices, thick and rigid scubas and wools are paired with delicate chiffon. The use of hand welded metal work creates a modern day armour for the modern day woman but also reflects on a main source of inspiration - Joan of Arc. Some pieces of the metal work reinvent medieval torture devices such as the scolds bridle which was used to physically silence a woman.
The collection from start to finish explores the female form and the different ways to manipulate and contour it. This is done through extensive panelling and use of line. The collection reaches the conclusion that the strongest form of woman is not one that is reconstructed, but one in its purest form. Hence the final look of the collection is a loose chiffon garment and exposes the body for what it truly is.
What was one of the challenges in creating your collection?
For me, learning to arc weld was an essential part of my collection progress but also a way for me, as a woman, to prove I was able to learn and perfect a skill found in a man’s world.