May 26, 2017 | By Samuel Trotman
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2015 continues to be a fruitful year for denim design talent with yet another graduate student pushing the boundaries of denim design. This time round we met with Hollie Ward, a BA textiles student from Huddersfield University who ambitiously weaved her own denim fabric here in the UK.
Earlier last month London celebrated graduate fashion week with a schedule packed with the top collections from the UK’s best fashion designer students. No doubt many of our readers have read the article we ran on the 3 MA design students from Westminster and Royal College of Art, that received a special sponsorship from Kaihara (if not, check it out here). Shortly after writing the piece I came across another budding designer through Instragram, Hollie Ward, who I was amazed to read was weaving her own denim here in the UK as part of her final project. A BA Textiles student from Huddersfield University, Hollie was amongst the select few from her school to present as part of the New Designers presentation at the London Design Centre. There Hollie showcased her incredible portfolio of denim fabrics and garments that she has been developing and producing with a local mill in the North of England.
“I spent the first few months of my FMP handweaving denim and developing my fabric patterns and yarns and then worked with a mill in Huddersfield where I studied my degree to produce a length of denim woven on a 1954 shuttle loom. Something which I am planning to set up doing full time now I have completed my degree.”
What may seem as an overly ambitious project for even the most discerning British denim brand, and many have tried it I’m sure, Hollie was inspired predominately by the idea of slow, small batch domestic production using British resources and British materials to bring manufacturing back to the UK. In order to ensure provenance through materials, Ward used a blend of pre-consumer waste cotton and British wool sourced within the UK – the warp yarn is rope dyed indigo 100% cotton that was purchased from Fairfield yarns in Rochdale and the weft is 100% British Gotland and Lleyln wool purchased from The Natural Fibre Company.
The collection, produced entirely in Yorkshire, includes raw and treated selvedge denim woven in Huddersfield on a 1954 Hutchinson Hollingworth shuttle loom specifically woven for the collection as well as a selection of handwoven wool and cotton blends by Hollie herself on an ARM loom. The garments were then constructed by Harper and Carr, a contemporary clothing label specialising in designer collaborations based in York.
“The collection aims to highlight simple, utilitarian clothing that provides artisanal skill and production showcasing honesty in the entire process of production.”
Check out Hollie’s full collection here.
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