Designer Critique – Sophie Weymouth

Sophie is a 3rd year student studying the “Design” at Leeds Metropolitan University. Originally from Liverpool/Merseyside, she has been described by friends as a happy, laid back and humble individual all attributes of which i can see reflected in her approach to work and through the final pieces she has produced. During her time at Leeds Met she has put together a well thought out portfolio of work based primarily around the textiles pathway of the course with a main focus on using sustainable production techniques and recycled textiles.

Although having had numerous original ideas backed up by her portfolio outside influences have also played a part in shaping her work. After an interview this is what she mentioned about her influences.

“I admire fashion designers like Vivienne Westwood for her funky designs (especially during the 60’s and 70’s) and her completely individual style and approach to designing – she basically invented the punk look; and Stella McCartney for her strong views and ethos behind her work.”

“Someone else who has influenced me greatly is Lizzie Harrison. Her fashion label is called Antiform Industries and all the clothes are made by local Leeds people and the materials are sourced from factory offcuts and clothes exchanges – anything that isn’t exchanged will be made into something else – nothing is ever thrown away! She always puts a strong emphasis on the fact that all the clothes are 100% sustainable.”

“Someone who has really made me think differently about design and approaches to design is Jonathan Chapman. I have always believed in emotionally durable design but have never quite been able to explain myself. When I hear him talk about design I’m like “yes! That’s what I wanted to say!” “.

All of what was mentioned about influential characters within her work can be seen in what she has produced.  A good way to describe the collection of work that Sophie has put together would be “Hippy chic”. What i mean by this is that her work has an almost rustic feel to it. Not all the stitches are perfect and some of the edges are frayed but all of this adds to the character of what she has produced. Her work has a very earnest crafted feel to it, as if a bit of love has gone into each piece rather than it feeling as if it had just been churned off of a production line. In turn i feel that the love that has gone into what she has made also has the ability to rub off onto their potential new owners as it is within everyone’s grasps to be able to appreciate the levels of craftsmanship that have gone into producing the things they own or care for. Whether she realises it or not i feel Sophie’s work goes beyond just being sustainable as a result of the  materials and processes she has used but also in terms of it being designed for longevity and emotional durability through her methods of production and personal style as a designer.

There were a couple products that Sophie crafted herself as part of a second year projects that i took a particular interest in. This is what she said about the project, pictures of which can be seen below the text. ” My two favourite products I have made are the sustainable lizard bag and the under-the-sea seat. I love the aesthetics of both products and love the fact that the lizard bag used to be a jumper. I made the seat out of MDF and bought the blue base fabric but all the embellishments on the cover are recycled fabrics. I enjoyed making both of these products immensely and due to it’s label, I believe the lizard bag is emotionally durable.”

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Overall i enjoy Sophie’s work with the crafted nature of its production being a welcome change for the majority of products that are about nowadays that feel as if they have been clinically engineered in a lab somewhere. She has definitely chosen the right pathway for her with her work however showing how she has been able to apply what she knows about textiles and fashion to other areas of the course such as the furniture pathway. With aims of follows her influences she would love to maybe follow in Lizzie Harrisons footsteps and set up a workshop in which to hold clothes exchanges and make new clothes under my own fashion label. This is definitely a fully achievable aim for her and it wouldn’t suprise if she went even further than to just set up the one business. With the changing climate of design swaying towards ever more sustainable and environmentally friendly methods of design and production Sophie definitely knows a fair amount about it and i feel is going about the exact right way of successfully becoming a valuable part of the design industry.

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