02 Jul 2019

Fashion Journalism

Steve Salter: Always A Fan, Never a Critic

i-D's Fashion Features Editor discusses how social media has changed fashion journalism, navigating mental health as a writer, and just what he's looking for in a pitch.

24 Jun 2019

Fashion Educators

Priska Morger, Institute of Fashion Design Basel

"There should be less design, but better design."

05 Jun 2019

Opinion

Learning to Live on a Sinking Ship

This is the story of being in fashion while battling serious depression.

13 Dec 2018

Fashion Educators

San Francisco's Simon Ungless

“Do you have a sex tape? Otherwise, I suggest you start designing.”

25 May 2018

How to

Build An Independent Fashion Brand

Ahead of tomorrow's festival, the Bridge Co. founder Katie Rose gives young designers advice on where to start.

29 Oct 2017

Fashion Educators

Fleet Bigwood

"Trends to me are things that other people make up."

03 Jul 2017

Business Insiders

Jenny Meirens

Business and creativity merged with Jenny Meirens

23 Feb 2016

Graduate Shows

Central Saint Martins MA Fashion 2016

FULL LINE-UPS

The Masters: Tracey Lewis

2016
30th May

In order to keep the momentum of the design process going, Tracey Lewis decided to do the MA Fashion Knitwear at Central Saint Martins straight after her funky BA looks hit the press show runway, worn by an eclectic mix of men — including one of CSM’s very own tutors. Able to focus on her work without any distractions, her MA collection entitled Subverted Tradition was born after two years of grinding the knit machine.

Initially, Tracey’s research process does not seem particularly different to that of any other designer. Drawing inspiration from everyday life, she enjoys cooking, reading, travelling, and taking walks around Petersham Nurseries and Richmond Park. She looks at both contemporary and historical art periods, and frequently visits various exhibitions and galleries in and around London, such as the Photographer’s Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts.

Researching for Subverted Tradition, Tracey mostly looked at photography from the 1950s and 1960s — specifically Bill Brandt — and explored the work of Surrealist artists such as Man Ray, who often created pieces that are not immediately understood, and which ask something of the viewer. She also investigated vintage pattern books for knitting, as she likes the oddity and weirdness of these images. With traditional knitting books, Tracey focuses on looking at the actual garments and thinking about ways to interpret it in a more contemporary and modern way.

Each one of her designs is personalised for a specific wearer. Rather than planning her collection to cater to a vague personality, she chose specific individuals out of the images she worked from. “It’s like a book with different chapters,” Tracey explains. For one of the garments, which she designed for a frumpy character, she focused on the gross and hairy aspect captured in the photograph, and embroidered a plain white shirt to look like a ‘hairy chest’ along with a woollen wife beater vest. “It’s all about interpreting the images,” she continues. An interesting approach Tracey took for this particular collection, is looking at how people used to wear garments in times bygone, and trying to recreate them in the most authentic way possible. “If the bottom of the jumper was bunched up in a certain way, I would intentionally incorporate that aspect into the design of the garment.” She also finds it important for her garments to have a sense of humour, as it helps people to be more relaxed in them.

Although she faced many challenges during the labour-intensive MA, Tracey smoothly adapted to the situations. For example, sourcing her yarns, which mostly come from Italy or Japan, can become an issue during the stages of creating, as Tracey is responsible for calculating the timing of delivery, and needs to take potential delays into account. She also has to consider the amount of time spent on the machines, especially the Stoll machines, which are only available for use Mondays through Wednesdays. As each piece takes a long time to create, making a mock piece can be time consuming. This means that creating toiles leads directly into the production phase, so if something works or does not work; she has to deal with it accordingly and make adjustments. However, by finding a way around her problems and not being stumped by the situation, whether it is a creative or technical issue, she is able to power her way through the process: “I’ve learned to be calm and remember why I’m here,” she concludes.

Words Grace Ahn

Featured image Ryan Skelton

All images courtesy of Tracey Lewis