Student Spotlight: Emma Whitworth, CSM (Textiles)
A couple of weeks ago during Graduate Fashion Week, we popped along to the Central Saint Martins BA (Hons) Textile Design exhibition. Whilst we where charmed with bewitching interactive wallpapers and what must have been hours of concentrated knit work and metres of geometric shapes...we made one significant discovery. Let us introduce to you to Emma Whitworth. A once Mary Katrantzou intern, during which she worked the nail-biting weeks leading up to her London Fashion Week show, and lover of all things spiked and neon, Emma's final collection work stood out with refreshing printed originality. We dove into the world of Whitworth as we met with her in the heart of Shoreditch, tucked away in the corner of an idyllic pub with pints of strawberry cider, to discuss her final collection, fashion influences and a few insider tips. Get ready to fall in love with her as much as we did...
Diving in at the deep end, what was your main source of inspiration for your final pieces?
My collection was highly influenced by the work of the prestigious pottery firm Wedgwood; their Jasperware collections in particular inspiring my relief work. I mixed this with detailing fantasy Toile de Jouy landscapes of rural China clashed with the cityscapes of London. I was inspired by Wedgwood's transcultural influences in both their European and Chinoiserie collections.
How would you describe the 'feel' of your pieces?
Whilst I was so inspired by every aspect of Wedgwood, I wanted to go down a route they wouldn't traditionally. I did this by mixing chalky hues against neon yellows and greens. I moulded designs into white leather against streaky black prints. I used pastel printed tassels against photographic collages incorporating clashing colour, textile and design all in one.
Here at the CQ Student Space, we're firm believers that no fashion student gets an easy ride...what were your complications along the way?
There were actually so many trials that lead to tribulations! Especially when testing properties of fabrics and materials that would lend themselves to moulding. I began moulding latex in search of a more economically sustainable alternative to beading and embroidery, but it was a challenge to find a material that fulfilled both what I wanted to achieve technically, and the look I wanted my pieces to reflect.
And where did you source your gorgeous materials for these pieces?
[Laughs] It probably took about 7 or 8 different fabric shops and hardware stores to find all the materials I needed and it's got to be about 10 different places for my fabric experimentation too. I've got to hand it to Alma Leathers and The Cloth House though, they seemed to become my locals.
Do you think your internship with the enchanting Mary Katrantzou influenced your collection?
I learnt so much from interning for Mary, it really changed the way I approach print design. I spent days helping to develop the beading in her A/W 2012 collection. My university course too, hugely encouraged me to look at new, innovative ways and processes of approaching things.
If you could collaborate with one designer...who would make the cut?
If you could pick one, which celebrity would you drench in your designs?
Oh, it has to be someone like Cara Delevigne or Kate Moss. Somebody who can dress classic but isn't too afraid of being bold.
Let's mix things up a bit...how would you describe your own personal style?
I would say I always follow fashion closely and am excited by the new, but I know what suits me and what I can get away with. I tend to keep the shapes quite classic and play with seasonal colours and I always have gold somewhere in the mix!
What's got to be your favourite purchase this month?
My new vintage knitted, cornflower blue skirt; it screams Chanel but was a steal at just a pound!
Name some things you really
should shouldn't have spent your student loan on (parents, look away now..)
Probably event and festival tickets for the summer and some really quite amazing gold, shiny brogues; the thought of them would keep me going at times where I was slowly losing the will to live or would hit artists block. So I guess all in all, money well spent!
How do you like your coffee?
Milk and one sugar; got to have just a little bit of sweetness!
What would be your perfect day?
A macaroon and champagne breakfast with my most treasured friends followed by sunning on the beach to Bonobo. Then perhaps a Christopher Kane fashion show finished with an outrageous warehouse party.. can that be arranged?
We'll see what we can do. Now, quickfire round.. puppies or kittens?
Karl Lagerfeld or Anna Wintour?
Anna, of course.
Christopher Kane or Mary Katrantzou?
How dare you! That is such a hard one. I follow them both like a hawk but after interning and experiencing how hard the team work, naturally I've got to hand it to Mary.
And finally.. saving the most important till last.. your superpower of choice?
To own Bernard's Watch!
You can see the rest of the magnificent talent at the CSM show here or to check out more of the enchanting Emma Whitworth and keep updated with her movements wander over here; we think the the future looks luminous for her.