Process is a Beautiful Thing

Collaborative Project and Exhibition at Lime Grove (until 19 June)

“Behind every design image is the back story, one we never normally see.  The resarch, concept development and testing of new approaches, forms and processes goes on invisibly, unseen by the fashion consumer – yet these stages are vital to the evolution of new ideas.  This exhibition sets out to reveal some of the processes that take place behind images making and fashion design.  Presenting work produced collaboratively from the School of Media and Communication and the School of Design Technology,  the elements normally consigned to the cutting room floor or hidden in sketchbooks are displayed, alongside the final fashion outputs, in all of their glory.”

This show is the result of a collaborative project led by Lindsey Riley (Programme Director, Product)  and Justyna Mysior (Specialist Technician, Fashion Styling) at London College of Fashion (LCF).  After an open call to second year undergraduates and master students, the final show is the result of the combined efforts of 33 participants from across 11 courses at LCF alongside the support of another dozen LCF staff.

The project ran over the period of approximately 5 weeks. Students were allocated randomly into groups and participated in a workshop to create a storyboard and decide on their preferred props for their shoot.  After about another 2 weeks of planning and preparation time they came together over 2-3 days for the shoot itself, working with professional models.  At the end there was a crit and a reflective element to the project, and the final aim is for students to have strong images to add to their portfolios.

The students committed to participate in this project as an extra-curricular activity. For that investment of time and effort they gained an introduction to a real world scenario where their individual vision and expertise is required to overlap and combine with that of others in related disciplines. The student groupings work smoothly in the majority of cases, with networks and alliances being formed across courses and taken on into future projects, both within and outside UAL.  A minority find the process more challenging, having to resolve differences in creative vision and/or working practices to produce the final contribution to the show.

The show itself displays the garments and accessories used alongside the final images, against a background of behind the scenes images and contact sheets printed onto brown paper.  More information on the students in the different groups is accessible online, via QR codes displayed in the show.

Lindsey and Justyna both feel that this project and a similar previous one were demonstrably beneficial to students’ development, and discussions are underway at LCF about how this type of collaboration can be developed and further incorporated into the curriculum.

This exhibition was part funded by the UAL Learning and Teaching Fund.

All images are copyright UAL, and work shown is copyright to the students involved

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