A few weeks ago Cass Art paired up with London College of Fashion to host DRAW FASHION, a competition that celebrated the emotions, abstract thinking and observations of fashion illustration.
Camila Lopes, final year student at LCF specialising in print, was announced the winner, for her colourful and expressive illustrations. Camila wins £1000 to spend on art supplies at Cass Art, and she met with us to give us a bit of background behind her beautiful fabrics and the art-fuelled inspiration behind her designs.
Read on for our interview with Camila and take a look at her fashion designs as you go.
Congratulations on winning DRAW FASHION – do you know what materials you want to stock up on?
How was the Draw Fashion competition?
It was great and a lot of fun, but quite intimidating to see all of the other entries. I didn't expect to win at all.
You printed your final collection with acid dying. Can you talk us through to process and some of the difficulties you faced?
The acid dying is a very long process. The colours require a lot of testing, because the colour on the powder is not the same you see when it comes out. Once it’s printed on the fabric, that’s the colour you get, so you spend a lot of time measuring the intensity of the colour. It’s like cooking, you have to get the right recipe. Once it’s dry, if the colour is not right you simply have to re-do it. But once you have the right colour, you steam it for an hour and let it dry; then it’s ready to become a garment.
It was a challenge working the collection for the press show because the garments were very big, so the prints had to be a lot bigger than my textile samples, and there's only so much pressure you can apply by hand on a screen! They were bigger than A0 size - bigger than me! So all the garments had to me hand painted after they were screen printed, which took a long time.
How did your design progress during your time at LCF?
I think I progressed a lot in my third year. I wasn’t the best student in my first year! But I decided to embrace what I was good at: colour. And I love messy process. I wanted to push that for my final collection, and I think it gave me a good result.
What is your fashion design inspired by?
My previous project was inspired by Fine Art painters. I did a foundation course in painting, and I’m interested in the art world, and artists like Henry Moore. I was looking at women, and the female form being seen as an object, and his sculptures were very relevant. My colour influences come from Pop Art and artists like Andy Warhol. The fashion industry needs to be slightly commercial so I also focused on the colour trends of the moment.
Do you draw any inspiration from contemporary designers, too?
I’m inspired by designers like Hussein Chalayan, who isn’t a print artist but a designer with sculptural influences. He has a very interesting collection. And Alexander McQueen, who just had a show at the V&A. But our course actually encouraged us not to copy designers, but to focus on our other interests, to inspire yourself in other ways. It’s important to keep an awareness of the fashion industry but it’s also important to decide what you can do differently in the market.
What are your plans now that you’ve graduated?
I’d love a job in the fashion industry! I want to work for a designer label, get the right experience and then when I’m ready, set up my own business. I want to do something less commercial, like set up my own print design label influenced by the arts, create themes inspired by artworks I’ve made. Something that would reflect me, so people would know instantly that it was my label.
There’s a shoe designer called Sophie Webster, for example. Her designs are really fun and colourful and I’m a fan of hers. You see one of her shoes and you know straight away that it’s a Sophie Webster. I’d like to do that with my fabrics.
Also I want to keep working on my own artwork, continuing with my illustrations and painting part time. I want to embrace a mixture of Fine Art, illustration and business.
What is your advice for any young people thinking of applying to art school to study fashion?
I would say be open minded, and look at things outside of the fashion industry. Also, it's a tough course; I was originally applying for painting, and I went for an interview at Goldsmiths and the tutor there told me to apply to fashion. I thought about it and decided he was right.
Also, before my course started, everyone told me “Oh you’re going to have so much fun, partying all the time…” but I didn’t party once! It was a lot of hard work! But it’s great to come to the end of it and see my work being appreciated.
You can view all of the DRAW FASHION entries here on our blog.