As part of our celebration of new fashion talent in the run-up to London Fashion Week, we chatted to fashion graduate Rose Brown, as she prepares to showcase her collection at Fashions Finest SS20.
Rose grew up in the Welsh countryside and graduated from the Manchester School of Art in 2018. Her goal is to create things that are truly never seen before, using unconventional textiles and concepts derived from the weird and wonderful place that is the inside of her head. She strives to find out what it means to be truly different and to be it.
Her collection is called Aprés Lunar, which means ‘After the Moon’. Taking inspiration from 1980s skiers and WW2 flight suits, it brings the excitement of adventure from the Space Race, back to the 21st century. The main inspiration is a light-art installation by Christopher Schardt, which was displayed at the festival Burning Man. The piece is called ‘Firmament’ consisting of a series of LEDs, draped in triangular form across the sky. This inspired her angular pattern cut and her use of reflective materials that represent electric light.
Her realisation moment was when she was dancing on a stable in the French Alps. It helped her to understand how skiwear can morph into party wear and vice versa. She had to live it, to make it. Each look has reflective properties that come to life under the flash of a camera, transforming the collection. Her metallic spacemen dance the night away, lighting up the slopes as the go.
The six look collection is a glowing series of blues, coppers, silvers and metallics. It is outerwear heavy, mixed with shining leggings, scuba tops and salopettes. She made her own fabric by bonding aluminium and copper onto cottons to create garments treading the line between wearable and unwearable. After graduating, she was selected and flown to China for the International Youth design competition (IYCD) in the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology. She has also attended charity fashion shows with her collection in London, Glasgow, Manchester and Wolverhampton. She now has a studio space so that she can continue her work, with a new collection to be released AW19.
Rose, how did you first get interested in fashion?
When I was younger, I made clothes for my stuffed toys by cutting armholes in a tea towel. I wore my brothers hand me downs and cut them up so they would fit me better. My school was very academic and so after getting As in Psychology, Biology and Art, I knew I needed to be creative or I would be miserable. In art class we were asked to make a shoe, I made a whole bodysuit. In my last art project, I painted my best friend in 2D, wearing something weird. Little did I know at the time, that this was my very first design.
Did you always dream of becoming a designer?
To be honest, no. I knew I loved art and that I was creative but I loved science too and was torn between the two. But after weighing my options, I realised that your career should be what you love and being in a laboratory was not. I get bored and the creativity is what I live for. It excites me, it energises me. Making my ideas a reality is like an itch that needs to be scratched.
Where does the love for fashion come from?
I just love wearing beautiful things. I love to experiment and cross the lines of convention. Why not wear a swimming costume as a top? Why not wear Pajamas in the daytime? I like to express my ideas in what I wear. Now that I can make things, I plan to share my ideas with the world and introduce them to the beauty inside my head that others cannot see.
When you first started, did you have any specific ambition?
When I was 19, my ambition was to go to uni, get a first, create something amazing, display my work on a catwalk, be famous and work for Hussein Chalayan. I wanted success. Three years later, my plans have changed but they follow the same path. One day I will create beautiful things and make a name for myself. Having recently got my hands on a studio, I am now able to show the world what I can do. New collections are imminent.
What makes a good design?
It needs to tell a story and to work, visually. It sounds silly but sometimes it can take weeks to find the correct combination of details. There is no definition, if it looks good, it looks good. Can’t get more complicated than that.
How do you balance your career with your personal life?
It’s important to work hard but to also spend time with friends and maintain relationships. I work in hospitality a few days a week and work in my studio in my spare time in Manchester. I work with eight other creatives, which is a healthy environment. I also make sure that I go to a few festivals a year with my friends from home, to not only have fun but to research trends. I also have two lovely cats and a dog at my home in Wales, which I try to visit every couple of weeks. I’m a country bumpkin at heart and need to touch base sometimes.
Who from the fashion industry do you find inspiring?
Hussein Chalayan has been my inspiration from day one (it’s been about 5 years now). I love how his work is totally unique and never seen before to quite an extreme degree. His narratives are fascinating and he pushes the boundaries of what can be worn on the human body. I always wanted to stand out and it was he who showed me that it can be done and that there is a place for it (and me) in the industry. Joshua Kane is another designer I have been watching for a few years. He built his business from the ground up and I have always planned to follow in his footsteps.
Name five things you cannot live without: my cats, a notebook/phone, friends, coffee, and camera.
Where do you see the brand and yourself going in the future?
I hope to find success in whichever way I can. I want to find my niche, find my path and I know it will reveal itself as I work. I hope to make never seen before collections, that live on the runway. I want the world to see what I can do. I hope to gain press, the spotlight and an appreciation for my work. I want people to know who I am and see the quality and beauty that I can provide and to most importantly, wear it.
Image credits: Rose Brown | photographer: @vickychambers