Thursday, 7 June 2012

Bouquet of ideas

New ideas often arrive in parties – tagging along each with another.  And there will be plenty of new ideas to celebrate as we enter the season of degree shows at Britain’s art and fashion colleges.  The Royal College of Art has already had their fashion show, but still to come are many more ranging from DeMontfort to the London College of Fashion.  The best of the new designers will assemble at Graduate Fashion Week, which starts this coming Sunday with the four-day extravaganza at London’s Earl’s Court. 

Some of the most intriguing ideas marrying materials and other disciplines are coming from institutions like Central St Martin’s Textile Futures group, taking textiles to a completely different level.  Personally I’ll be very interested to see what comes from the launch of the sustainability-promoting Textile Toolbox next Tuesday 12th, which aims, it says, to create:  systemic change within the fashion industry through interconnected design thinking and processes for sustainable textiles and fashion’.  Can’t wait to see what that’s all about.  Let’s hope it brings greater recognition right across the textile sector of the ethical and environmental impacts, sometimes unwittingly created, along the supply chain from sheep (or other animal or plant) to finished products.  

At this time of year, ideas for me are all around the garden.  Last weekend, a family 60th wedding anniversary provided an inspirational bouquet to take home, which set me thinking of where we’d be without the interaction of green with other colours, in both the plant and craft worlds.  Look at this Astrantia:  perfection in its structure, yet it’s the interplay between the green and the wine-red of its venation that lifts the spirits and intrigues the eye.  This week has also seen another spirit-lifter, the first rose in my summer, coming into bloom despite the constant rain:  David Austin’s English Rose, Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’.  I’m inhaling its heavy scent in my mind as I look at my photo. 

Combining the ideas nature bring us is never easy for mere human beings, but, like the new young fashion designers launching their careers this coming week, I go forward in faith.  I hope somehow to create something that does small justice to what I find around me.  Just as the small inputs of green ‘make’ the bouquet, I’m experimenting with small inputs of green to offset the other summer flower colours in the yarn basket.  I hope it works:  the skein is now drying in the airing cupboard, along with the scented rose petals from my ‘Gertrude’ rose. 

I can see the buds coming on my Philadelphus too:  I wonder whether the scent will be any more or any less because of last winter’s extreme temperatures?  More inspiration and scent to come!  Here’s wishing you and inspirational week whatever you’re creating.  And here’s wishing a sustainable future and a constant bouquet of ideas to all the young designers taking part in Graduate Fashion Week.

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