Class Of 2020: Laoise Hamilton

Name: Laoise Hamilton

Age: 24

University: Sheffield Hallam University

Course: BA (Hons) Fashion Design

Describe your design aesthetic in 3 words? Expressive, luxury, contemporary

What message or story do your designs portray?

They portray that it is okay to wear what you please, my concept was built around homelessness and honouring a person’s ‘make do’ look that is created with assorted garments. Therefore, wear what makes you happy and comfortable, but also take some initiative from someone who is without a home by getting the most out of garments. 

What is one career aspiration that you’d most like to achieve? 

I aspire to start my own brand in the fashion industry and for it to make a positive environmental impact in the future. I would love to promote sustainable morals, to make people realise that a sustainable selection of fabrics and sustainable way of manufacturing is in no way ugly!

What do you think is the biggest issue facing the fashion industry today?   

I think the lack of sustainability is a problem! However, brands in the limelight seem to be becoming more aware of their actions that affect the environment, such as Gucci going season-less. Hopefully this will trickle down to most brands! Fast fashion brands are very popular amongst the younger generation, as they are easily influenced in following the latest trends in a cheap way. The younger generation should be educated more on the impact that fast fashion brands have on the environment, as clothing sites are easily accessible to anyone with a smartphone. Fast fashion brands are advertised on social media all day andevery day for anyone to see along with discount codes. The consumer is led to believe that they are in need of 6 items that won’t create much of a hole in their pocket, possibly to only be worn once. Why not buy one item of better quality once every 3 months from an independent business who promote sustainable values? It ties in with over consumption as we as a society have so much choice in terms of consuming fashion goods, too much choice in fact! Fast fashion brands should start educating themselves on sustainability and in turn regular consumers will hopefully become more conscious. 

How do you think the pandemic is going to change the way we consume fashion?

I think it will change it dramatically! I would like to think in a positive way, in terms of sustainability and consumers becoming more aware of the ethical aspects of their shopping experiences.                                      

However, there is no doubt that shopping online has been the dominant shopping experience during the pandemic, and this will probably continue for some time! Online shopping has been on the rise for a while, but even more so now. This will have an impact on shops and the economy, it’s already apparent that some shops within chains are having to close down for good. I also think that fashion brands have had a lot of time to reflect on their practices and morals, this will have a positive impact on the fashion industry and hopefully it will bring about some change to elements such as the supply chain. The issues are with: worker exploitation involving low wages, unpaid overtime, bad working conditions and toxic chemical use. 

How is your concept design going to translate to something people can wear in everyday life?                                 

Because of comfort, the jumper dress is very warm especially with the hood draping over the head. This can also be styled as a shawl if it is pulled downwards over the shoulders. I think consumers prefer items that can be styled in different waysto create a different look out of the same garment. 

What has been your biggest inspiration to create fashion?           

If I’m being totally honest my time at University always inspired me to do better and from there the love for fashion blossomed as I really saw it in a different light. Thanks to my tutors, technicians and friends there was always room to improve! I also love reading books and watching documentaries, based on howhigh-end designers have manifested their own fashion world. If you really put your mind to it, nothing is impossible. Watching other people being creative inspires me as there is always something new to see, and that’s what is good but also challenging about designing, you can never quite be finished! 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?                       

I thoroughly enjoyed my placement year in London working in the fashion industry, now that I’ve had my foot in the door, in 5 years’ time I’d like to be seen as someone with deep expertise and knowledge within the industry. ‘Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life’ is the goal! I would like to have some sufficient experience under my belt by this time, and perhaps in the first stages of creating own brand.

Words: Sophie Roberts