Monday, 17 January 2011

Alfa Romeo Design Award 2011

I have recently reached the semi final of the 2011 Alfa Romeo Design Awards. Having being chosen from over 200 applicants i was shortlisted as part of the final ten who were given the finalists brief and two weeks to carry out all of the work, research and preparation before being interviewed in front of a panel of judges including the head of pr at ISSA, the FS 2011 creative team and members of the design team from PPQ. The Alfa Romeo Design Award currently in its first year, an international design competition running in conjunction with the annual St Andrews FS 2011 fashion show. The competition has been featured on who also sponsor the event. With the winning candidate receiving £1000 prize money, designing a range of tshirts for TrekStock, a spread in FS magazine aswel as publicity through i was extremely excited to have reached this stage in the competition.
The finalists creative brief entitled "The colour of Fashion" asked us to design a collection which defined the importance of the nature of colour to a designers work displaying that through the use of colour we can express the original research and inspiration behind our designs. Whilst incorporating an awareness and key understanding of the iconic brand Alfa Romeo into the design process. We were asked to pay particular attention to the sporty compact "MiTo" the newest model of Alfa Romeo's range.

I started off by heavily researching the brand contacting the company arranging visits to the show room where i was kindly given samples and swatches of fabric used within the car aswel as a number of booklets which explained different aspects of the cars functional aesthetics. Coming from a fashion background i really didn't know where to begin with this project considering i really don't have a clue about automotive design! However reading the manual from a designer perspective i started to see interesting features within the MiTos design which i wanted to carry forward into a collection. The fact the car was compact and lightweight made me begin to think of performance fabrics and possibly leaning towards a sportswear collection. Discovering the cars safety features and the fact it had six airbags led me on to the idea of inflated aspects within my design. Possible concealed pockets which then billowed down to the ground reinforcing the aspect of hidden storage.

I knew that whatever way i planned to interpret the brief and design the collection it was extremely important to consider and reinforce Alfa Romeos brand history. This was also my first encounter of reaching the semi finals of an international design competition, knowing that i was being interviewed alongside candidates from schools in New York and Paris was nerve racking to say the least! I planned on using luxurious fabrics throughout the collection silk jersey, dutchess satin, and organic cotton all dyed to the brightest colours and then worked on top of with embroidery, lazer cutting and clashing prints. I had the original Alfa Romeo crest modernised to fit into the 18 - 35 year old market. Simplifying the famous emblem down to a single geometric cross i then had this lazer cut onto the pattern pieces experimenting with different fabrics. Considering the collection if chosen would be shown alongside several designers including Nicole Farhi, Amanda Wakeley, William Tempest and Future Classics i knew the fabrics and colour would be key in determining the winning collection. I also wanted the collection to stay true to my design style using oversized patterns and silhouettes similar to my Honours collection although simplifying the designs to fit into the FS market.

As part of the competition it was also necessary to design a range of tshirts for the charity Trekstock which would be sold alongside designers such as Sass and Bide, House of Holland as well as a number of tshirts designed by celebrity's. I designed the tshirts with an illustrative approach although still displaying key features of the final collection. Some of the illustrations below:

Unfortunately i wasn't chosen as one of the final few to go through to the last stage of the competition. However it was an amazing experience taking part and getting to the Semi Finals!

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