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The story behind the fashion of interpack 2017

The dilemma when you have been part of a successful event like K2016, is how to build on that achievement and develop a body of work that continues the story of the FaceOfInnovation?


Nine undergraduates and one post-graduate from a wide range of specialisms have worked together to produce this collection of work – From Fashion Communication to Illustration and Make-up & Hair design, this was a project that allowed the students to work in an industry led environment - one that meant deadlines had to be met, ideas shared and concepts developed fast! Each student contributed towards the progress of the outfits, plus the evolvement of the make-up and hair designs.

This time the aim of the catwalk collection created by students at Solent University was to present a different spin to the theme of plastic innovation. For interpack 2017 the students were challenged to create outfits capable of being in an aerial performance – two trapeze artists were the focus of the costuming here and the inspiration for both designs was the spectacular 1952 circus film ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’, where the storyline features trapeze artists competing for the center ring.  

Each garment for the performer has a different identity, but the overall message the students wanted for the interpack 2017 visitor was one that touched on entertainment, drama and spectacle.  James, Leah and Julia used these approaches as a theme to explore ideas surrounding traditional artist costumes and sixteenth century regal attire through the form of collars, ruffs and cloaks. 

The history of circus performance was important here and became key to developing details that were suggestive of flight such as feathers and ribbons of plastic, but with the addition of LED lights to add another dimension by lighting up the collar and enhancing the face. Jasmine’s halter top with handkerchief skirt has hints of a female ringmaster in blue, but it was certainly the printed packaging plastic that gave her the main inspiration to produce this and further garments, including the DJ’s denim style jacket. The jacket has a subtle ribbon effect incorporated into the sleeves, and in addition the sleeves have cut-out air holes to allow increased mobility.

In contrast Charlotte Cairn’s A-line tunic dress is a subtle take on the costumes for harlequins and clowns that use triangular and diamond shapes as decoration.  With its exaggerated shoulder pads and removable triangles, she sought to suggest experimentation and movement. Gabriela Britos has presented a more classic take on clowns however, and the extravagant ruffles are deliberately oversized to provide a more fashion forward aesthetic. 

Working as a team and using the initial inspiration for a tailored jacketed silhouette combined with the sporadic and clustering shapes that are associated with organic structures, Julia, Ella, Eloise, Stephanie and Katherine wanted to created clothing that was interchangeable with other textural elements and formations, surfaces that appear delicate are hard when touched, and woven surfaces become suggestive of movement.  

Teamed with a graphic classic kilt shape, historically considered to be a non-restrictive, transitioning garment - the look clearly relates to and reflects the innovative vision of plastics as fashion. The students have discovered that being applied to the world of contemporary design is what plastics do best, they are capable of inspiring unique formulations that force the audience to make what they will of the designs rather than impose an impression of how they should be worn.