- Sophie Blakeman
M&F X LAU: A foot in the Fashion industry
As a fellow LAU graduate, Samantha recognises how difficult it can be to get your foot in the door in the fashion industry. Whilst studying, Samantha remembers industry visits being inspirational and like a real opportunity. So, it only felt right she gave back and began running an annual competition with the fashion design course at Leeds Arts university herself.
The second-year students are each asked to send in styled photos of their final tailoring module garments, along with a short-written piece about the concept of their design, what they liked about the tailoring module and what they hope to learn at Morgan & Fenwick if they are selected as a winner!
Samantha judges the final designs and selects one student to complete 2-4 weeks work experience with M&F. Whilst working with us they get the chance to have their garment remade using M&F fabrics and have their garments shot with a professional photographer – a dream come true for an aspiring designer.
There was such a high quality of work delivered by the students at Leeds Arts uni that Samantha struggled to initially pick a winner! Once all of the entries were in she then revised LAU to interview the 4 finalists, discover more about each candidate and selected a winner. The winner for 2022 was Kamaal Barwany and he completed his work experience in May 2022, it was his styling and keen eye for design that captured Samantha’s attention. She particularly loved the extreme contrast of fabrics and styles and was particularly intrigued by the shape of the front panel. Imogen-jade Argyle-ross was also given a 2-week work placement for her tremendous passion for the industry.
'The concept for my jacket was influenced by the contrast between brutalist and modern architecture. Each side bears reference to the silhouette, colour and materials used in the buildings. The brutalist, grey side was designed to be oversized with a square block silhouette, and the rough wool is intended to represent concrete. The other side is well-tailored, alluding to modern features through statement curves and an elegant pinstripe. The interior features a 50/50 divide. The grey side has bound seams to mimic the “ugly” aesthetic of brutalism whilst the other side is lined with soft pink satin.
My favourite part of the project was the design process and selecting the fabrics. The actual construction of the garment was more difficult than I had anticipated and the technicalities of drafting certain pattern pieces from scratch took considerable amounts of time. Once the jacket could be viewed on a mannequin it was very satisfying to see it come together. Overall, the experience was very enjoyable once the hard work paid off and I look forward to developing my tailoring skills and knowledge at Morgan & Fenwick.’
At present, LAU second year students are getting close to completing their tailoring project meaning Samantha’s judging skills will be in practice again shortly. We’re looking forward to judging the entries and finding this year’s winner for another two-week placement!
Kamaal Barwany - @barwanyy
Imogen-Jade Argyle-Ross - @artaroonie
Leeds Arts University - @leedsartsuniversity_fashion
Photography by Camille Hewitt - @camillehewittcreative