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How it started vs. How it’s going: Rebecca Brown, BA Fashion

Have you ever looked at an artist’s work and thought that they must have always been that good and sure of what they’re doing? It’s easy to look at a piece of creative and not understand the development that leads up to the finished product. How it started vs. How it’s going aims to highlight what goes on in the background of each creative project, as well as comparing the artist’s personal growth over time. In this episode we speak to BA (Hons) Fashion student Rebecca Brown, and look at the development of her final collection – from the first scamp to final lineup. Rebecca tells us about the inspiration for her collection, and how it’s vital to trust the process.

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What was your initial idea for your final collection?

I knew I wanted it to be based on my childhood growing up in Zimbabwe. I wanted to capture that part of my life because it is such a big part of who I am today.

What inspired it?

I was inspired by many things! Firstly my own experience and old photos of me and my family exploring these incredible places, as well as day to day life. My old journals were another source of inspiration, longing for that adventure and creative freedom during the pandemic.

How it started: Rebecca’s initial sketch for her collection:

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What advice were you given in crits to move your collection along?

My lecturers gave me so much great advice, the best being that I needed to narrow down my focus.

I lived in Zimbabwe for 10 years, that’s a lot of memories for a six look capsule collection. Being advised to focus on one specific aspect of my experience was really helpful. It meant that I was more considerate in my design choices.

Below: Rebecca’s second version of her lineup, and a sheet of all her design changes

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How many times have you redesigned your collection?

Hundreds, honestly I’ve lost count. I’d create a lineup, and something wouldn’t look right, or the colours were off, or id just come back a few days and it no longer resonated with me.  It was a lot, but hey that’s how I developed it!

Did you get stuck on anything while developing your collection?

Yes – I found myself stuck creating looks that stood out but didn’t work well as a cohesive collection.

I realised it was mostly because I was trying to do too many different things. I had to sort my concept out so each piece complimented each other.

How it’s going: Rebecca’s lineup now

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Tell us about your final lineup

My final line-up is inspired by safari – with influence of camping, from ropes and wooden toggles to an actual tent dress!

Each outfit is coloured with natural dyes and focuses on natural fibres to further explore the idea of being in nature. The bright colours also contrast the typical earth tones found in safari clothing to spark the imagination.

Exploring Eden is about a perfect adventure. It blends functionality with imagination. It still focuses on my childhood, but the safari, camping and exploring side.

I am happy with it, I think with any art form you could keep altering it forever, but I think it’s at a point I love.

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What is your process for fashion illustration?

I love to switch between markers, paints and digital illustration. I like to play around with different styles to find what works with the mood of the collection.

Finding interesting ways to showcase your fabrics and finishes in the illustrations is a great idea.

What advice would you give future fashion students when they come to design their final collection?

Do something that sparks joy for you, it’s a long process and can be stressful, so sticking to something that you really love helps.

Also, take proper breaks! Burnout is a massive issue so make time in your week to have a day off.

Finally, know that everyone is in the same boat as you, even if their Instagram account has more stuff on it!

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