Regent’s second year Fashion Design students have been working on a collaborative project as part of their degree with Nicole Bischofer, Head of Womenswear at COS.
The students were given a brief and expected to design a full collection of clothing and construct at least two outfits, which aligned with COS’ distinct brand identity. Through their use of fabric, colour, texture, silhouette, shape, and garment construction techniques, students had to demonstrate their skills and ability to meet the client’s design brief.
Students were asked to create a collection – classic, casual or evening wear – to target the COS customer; timeless/modern, functional and eclectic, said student, Natalie Wong. Her design, Airceptual, is ‘a concept driven by air, inspired by curtains in the wind. Silhouettes made with sinuous organic shapes to construct the soft structures. Slicing and layering techniques to create volumes and spaces.
‘In the beginning, I wanted to create a formal wear collection inspired by a sportswear approach. One major challenge in this project was to include my design aesthetic that also fits with COS’ identity and branding - from zero to no background in evening wear, I gladly accepted the challenge but adding an unexpected twist of my signature aesthetic of sportswear elements.’
Brianna Genthe said after brainstorming initial ideas, students decided on the colour scheme and fabrics they would use for the collection, before Bischofer would provide feedback.
Genthe’s inspiration stemmed from Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron, mixing hard and soft lines to create something modern and innovative. ‘I felt that this could be an interesting thing to focus on for the COS brand, staying true to their modern and clean aesthetic.
‘Although I picked this as my inspiration, I still had to think of how I could adapt my design aesthetic to fit COS’s style. I constantly looked back at their website and what silhouettes they tend to design. I didn’t want to design something that has already been done, but at the same time I didn’t want to over-design something that wouldn’t sell. I had to think of the right balance and think about the COS customer.’
Shuntaro Ogawa, whose collection was inspired by modern wooden architecture, said that as a result of the project he now feels he can adapt to designing within certain parameters more easily.
‘Working on this module has helped me articulate my research into a cohesive story so my collaborates can understand why my designs are the way they are. Outside the classroom, and also within the industry, one often works in teams. Communicating in an engaging, cohesive, and succinct way to your teammates is critical.
‘These brand-prompt projects are a way to show our fresh perspective and design DNA using the brand's established aesthetics as a baseline. They're not interested in seeing what they already create.’
This real world experience is crucial to students’ learning, said Course Leader, Steven Dell. ‘The framework we teach equips students with essential skills and tools to use beyond university to pursue their own goals and entrepreneurial ambitions.
‘Live industry projects give students a taster of what it feels like to be working for an international brand, it’s not only important for students to hear constructive criticism but we, as fashion educators, must retain a close relationship between the university learning experience and its relevance to what is a continually changing industry both in practice and demands.’
Nicole Bischofer, Head of Womenswear at COS added: ‘It was very exciting to follow the students’ development in this project. They have great energy and understanding of research and concept development. I hope that through our industry collaboration they got inspired to further explore the craftsmanship of garment making and 3D development, as understanding and learning the techniques of tradition will help them to grow into mature designers.’