17 February 2021

Global clothing brand French Connection UK (FCUK) has collaborated with fashion textile students from the University of East London (UEL) to develop new hoodie designs from concept to execution.

Three re-invented hoodies from the FCUK x UEL Student Collaboration project now appear on the retailer's website and social media channels.

The project was launched to support FCUK's athleisure wear capsule edit. Students received a series of online briefings and given creative control over the look of a plain FCUK hoodie.

Representatives of the retailers gave regular tutorials to ensure students were working to the brief, exposing students to the kind of challenges and guidance they would receive in a professional setting.

Ultimately student Jessica Joao's darkly humorous design (main picture) highlighting plastic use took the votes of the judging panel.

The team felt her tongue in cheek approach to her project responded well to all aspects of the brief. Inspired by current issues with plastic usage in the fashion industry and its impact on the planet, her overall project aimed to put the spotlight on this important topic, but in a way that followed FCUK's personality and appealing to a GEN Z audience, through ironic dark humour and tongue in cheek references. The team liked Jessica's use of waste plastic to create her final hoodie design, creating a sense of plastic dystopia and subtly mimicking the recent fast fashion behaviour in the industry."

The French Connection website blog said.

Jessica has received an internship with French Connection at FCUK's Camden head office, plus her design will feature on the company's digital channels.

Jessica said: "On the journey to reach my finished garments, I had a lot of trial and error. I jammed my machine several times and almost set fabric on fire with the 3D printer, but I'm glad that happened; this project taught me to not be afraid of experimentation."

The strength of the students' ideas in the FCUK x UEL project persuaded judges to give special recognition to two runners-up.

Gary Odufeso's "Vision of Blind" idea (below right) captured his experiences of being visually impaired. The team said they admired how he weaved his own vision, Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), into the concept to inspire his design. 

Kieran Hughes' "Denim Metaphor" concept (below left) highlighted the journey and life of a pair of denim jeans. The judges said they were also impressed by his use of a spectrum of design techniques and experiments. 

Lesley Robertson, course leader in BA (Hons) fashion textiles, said, "It has been an honour for our students to collaborate with French Connection. The idea of re-inventing the FCUK hoodie gave students the opportunity to be truly imaginative and use personal story-telling in the creation of their concepts."

Beatrice Newman, head of the fashion department at the School of Art and Creative Industries, said, "Collaborating with prestigious industry partners like French Connection gives our students a flavour of what life as a designer might look like and these experiences will be invaluable when they come to start their careers."

To find out more about fashion degrees go to the course website and see more student designs on Instagram @fashionuel

Pictures courtesy of French Connection UK, designers and model


Pictures courtesy of French Connection UK, designers and model

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