This year’s Sun FM Style Awards are just days away, taking place at the Roker Hotel Sunderland on Friday 26. As this year’s Style Awards is the first year to host a fashion show, we took the time to speak to Katie Black, a Fashion Product and Promotion graduate from the University of Sunderland, who will be showcasing her Britain meets Africa collection
Name: Katie Black
From: Peterlee, Co.Durham
Favourite place to shop in the North East:
I would say Newcastle, there is such a vast variety of different stores there, its quite easy to go over the top and indulge.
What do you think of North East fashion?
I love North East fashion. Now that we have Newcastle Fashion Week, it has boosted the north’s image within the fashion industry and the creative talent that comes from the surrounding colleges and universities is very inspiring.
What’s your best feature?
I would say my hair. I always have different hairstyles and it grows extremely fast when I make the mistake of chopping it all off.
Tell us a bit about your collection:
The name of my collection is African Rose; it takes a twist on the classic English Rose phrase. It shows the juxtaposition between two different cultures such as classic British heritage and African culture. I have designed a 20-piece collection overall but only one design was made into a garment. The final piece infuses the two cultures by the use of materials, for instance I have used tweed, which is essentially British but by using bright coloured tweeds and combined them with authentic African batik fabric, gives a twist on the authentic British tailored suit. In addition to this I love millinery, so to give my collection an Avant-Garde, over the top feeling I created a pheasant feather headpiece which has turned out to be a bit of a showstopper.
What are the main influences for your collection?
I have always loved the idea of heritage, especially British, so I knew from the beginning I wanted to create a garment with tweed. I wanted to make my collection very different from what is out there, and then the idea of combining different cultures came into place. I loved the whole research and development phase as it enabled me to be extremely creative. Looking back on the design phase I did find it quite difficult to infuse the two cultures effectively, this is due to the neutral colour palette of British tweed and the vibrant, colour popping look of African batik fabric.
Where do I see myself in 5 years?
I am currently training to become a secondary school textiles teacher, as I really want to share my passion for design with the younger generation. As well as this I still have a passion for working within the industry, so at this moment in time it could go either way. Hopefully within the next five years I have the chance to travel around the world as it is something I have always wanted to do, I feel a lot of inspiration for designs is out there and I would love to see it first hand.
Describe my collection in three words:
Innovative, Avant-Garde, and Cultural
When did I decide I wanted to make fashion my career?
I always knew I wanted to pursue design from an early age. It was probably the only subject in school that I felt comfortable in and knew I could excel in. It wasn’t until I started college that I knew I wanted to pursue fashion. My interest for fashion rocketed within my two years at college, this is when I decided I wanted to do a foundation diploma in Art and Design to further my design skills which eventually got me onto the Fashion Product and Promotion course at the University of Sunderland. My three years on the fashion course have been absolutely life changing, also it has been a lot of hard work I wish I could turn back the clock and start again. University design courses really give you the chance to be extremely creative and the support and guidance from your tutors makes your ability stretch much further.
Tell us something about myself people might not know:
I love photography in my spare time, I am also taking photos even if they are extremely random ones. I believe everything can be turned into an interesting photograph.