Representing the creative future

Dashing Tweeds x Central Saint Martins: a textiles match made in…

For their ‘live’ project — designing for the industry — second year BA Textile Design students from the weave pathway were given a menswear project to design tweed, taking inspiration from the Spitafields area of London, considering the history and culture as well as visual inspiration. The suggested theme was ‘Urban Movement’, which can include migration and mapping. The client was Dashing Tweeds, tweed textile and menswear company based in the prestigious Savile Row in Mayfair. The company was founded by photographer Guy Hills and Woven Textile Designer Kirsty McDougall.

Weaving is designing from scratch: it is the first step that leads to the production of masterpieces such as Jackie O’s Chanel’s jacket, and a discussion on weaving in Britain is incomplete without the mention of tweed. Coco Chanel, pioneer of tweed, was first introduced to it by Brit extraordinaire Duke of Westminster in the 1920s. The fabric is so ingrained in British culture that Guy Hills once referred to it as British denim.

For the Textile Design students at Central Saint Martins, this project was their initiation to the world of this now iconic British fabric. The students from the pathway all put their own spin on the project, and below you can see the work of 5 selected students.

António Castro

Castro’s starting point was a vintage tailored blazer bought in Spitalfields market. He then unpicked the blazer and tried to infuse the narrative of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Grey’ in it.

Amber Chen

For Chen, inspiration struck when she saw the ‘Return of the Rude Boy’ exhibit in Somerset House. From then, it was all about contrasts for her, whether it was the dull, grey English winter interspersed with bright colours from the streets, or the history of Spitalfields market with the new-ness of the people that reside there.

Eleanor A Henson

For Henson, customer comes first. She was designing for young professionals in the creative industry that subscribe to the work-hard-play-hard mantra and go from work to social gatherings in that precise period of time which is dusk hour.

She imagined them wearing the same clothes all day, clothes that go with their lifestyle. As they dash from one place to another, they don’t take in anything properly, but just get snapshots of their surroundings and by the end of it, afterwards or maybe later on, they get jumbled up images of things they absorbed during the day. She then used double exposure photography with colours that get picked out at dusk, colours that she finds nostalgic — a twilight-y grey that brings out the pinks and oranges of the sky for her tweed.

Chika Iwenofu

Middlesex street in Spitalfields is famous for its array of fabric shops, a lot of them carrying traditional African prints. Merging them with traditional British patterns like checks and stripes, Iwenofu tries to represent how immigrants try and create their own new identity when they move to a new country, interweaving their own heritage with their adoptive country’s.

Tasnim Begum

Begum used this project as an opportunity to explore her Bangladeshi roots. Her grandfather was one of the original Bangladeshi immigrants to the UK in the 1900s that moved to London to do silk weaving, but ended up moving away to Brick Lane and created their own little community due to the language barrier. A lot of these immigrants started to open restaurants offering traditional Bangladeshi cuisine. Begum’s project is titled East India, after her grandfather’s restaurant.