“Luxury and Feminine”: Sunderland fashion design students showcase new exhibition with brand Barbour

By Seohyun Kwun and Kira Hunter

FASHION design students have impressed a team from international retailer Barbour, with a showcase of unique tailoring designs.

The University of Sunderland’s new exhibition – a collaboration between Barbour and the BA Hons Fashion Design and Promotion students opened on February 12.

Barbour gave students a brief to design a collection, specifically a tailored jacket garment, and donated fabrics for the initiative. The students had to think about the brand’s colour palette and were asked to keep in mind the vibe of Barbour and their heritage. 

Diianeria Zympoulaki with her design

Third-year Fashion Design and Promotion student, Diianeria Zympoulaki worked on her garment for two months for the exhibition. 

The garment featured in the exhibition

Inspired by British nature, she used green as her main shade, which is a key Barbour heritage colour.

The student  wanted to take a feminine approach to her outfit linking femininity to nature as ‘in some cultures, nature is referred to as ‘mother nature’. Diianeria said: ” I wanted to make it more feminine to kind of show that and honour the femininity”. She added that Barbour tends not to do these type of styles but she desired to “put my own thing into it by making it more feminine”.

The design process

After receiving the brief, she felt nervous and scared as making something with a brand in mind required her to do research. She said: ” I researched how they do things usually so I could follow some of their styles and incorporate them in my design and not go all out and do whatever you want with your creativity you have to stick with some guidelines.”

Jayne Smith, Programme Leader for the Fashion Design and Promotion programme, said:

“Local company Barbour, has given final year students a wonderful opportunity to design and create  for the Barbour brand.

“The students enjoyed the challenge of designing for such a prestigious brand, with a rich heritage here in the North East, and we are grateful to Barbour for coming to the opening of the exhibition, here at the university, and seeing the designs for themselves.”

Photo shoot of the garment

Talking about the design and making process, the hardest part was the wax fabric Barbour is known for.

She said: “I found that this is like their go-to fabric, so I challenged myself to use the wax fabric as well, but there were difficulties using this complicated fabric specifically the ironing.

“I couldn’t iron it which made it very very hard for me to place and have the outfit the way I wanted to lay it on the body.” 

The exhibition will be on the first floor of the Priestman building until 23 February, keep an eye on @Fashion North for exclusive interviews and pictures with the students and their artistic tailored work. 


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