Blackpool fashion student Hannah Sykes is hoping her First World War-inspired collection will create an impact at Graduate Fashion Week.
Each year, the best fashion students nationally are chosen to show their final year collections at Graduate Fashion Week, in London, which includes 22 catwalk shows over the four days.
Hannah is in her final year of a fashion degree at the Manchester School Of Art, part of Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).
The 21-year-old’s work formed part of a show by 21 students from the Manchester School Of Art, at London’s Truman Brewery, last night.
Hannah, from Warbreck, drew on ideas of the military and camouflage to create an androgynous collection she describes as “intelligent pieces of art.”
Her jackets are reversible, or fold into bags, and her leather accessories change colour in the rain.
The collection was inspired by Hannah’s travels in China and by research she conducted into women during the First World War.
The former St Mary’s Catholic High School student said: “The idea is it’s androgynous – based on the idea of a woman disguising herself as a man, so she could go to war and be with her lover.
“My collection began with a material I had sourced on my travels in China.
“The material was a bold, geometric pattern and, through research, this led me to the dazzle camouflage used in the First World War.
“My design philosophy blended well with my military research relating to the First World War uniforms and women at war.
“There was also the idea of resources at that time being sparse, of people having to make-do, so all the items have a dual purpose – the jackets are reversible or fold into bags. When beginning a collection or brief, I have to form myself a narrative, to allow me to get fully involved into my work.
“After creating a story for my muse, this allows me to have purposeful details in my work and have a strong connection between my research and my designs.
“Even though I am a women’s wear designer, my work is very androgynous and allows the wearer to also be male.”
Hannah has already completed a three-month internship in China, where she worked at the label Kashion and was part of the design team which designed, sourced fabrics and organised the collections.
Louise Adkins, senior lecturer for BA Fashion at MMU, said: “The competition to show at Graduate Fashion Week was high this year as we had some really diverse and talented students, so Hannah did fantastically well to be picked for the catwalk at GFW.
“The event provides students with a unique opportunity to showcase their talent, make great contacts and springboard their career.”
Hannah said: “I couldn’t believe it when my collection was picked for the catwalk, I really did not expect it. There was a lot of competition.
“This is the next step, really, and chance to get some exposure. I’m interested in working alongside designers to get experience.
“In a few years, I would ideally like to have established my own label – in accessories.”