Taking Inspiration from the Harris

Something I don’t write a lot about on this blog, is where I get my inspiration from to help with my course. If you didn’t know, I’m currently coming towards the end of my first year of University, studying Fashion. Due to the creative nature of the degree, I’m always aware of what could inspire me. A couple months ago, I visited the Harris in Preston, in doing so a starting point for ideas was created.

Figure 1- ‘Beside the Brambled Ditch’ Painting 1983

After looking at numerous paintings in the museum, this one had my attention. Titled ‘Beside the Brambled Ditch’ by Ian Mckeever in 1983, I was in awe by the fluid brush strokes. Also, the module this was going to help with, is drawing based, so I knew immediately it would help with practising that free hand. Another reason this painting had my attention for so long, was because it is actually a photograph of a pond and the artist covers it with paint, to express how he felt. No matter how long I looked, I really couldn’t see the photograph. However, the painting had started the thought process for the module.

Figure 2- 1972 Garment

Arguably a piece that I got even more inspiration from; a luxurious seventy’s dress. When I saw it, I knew it was going to play a big part in my module, but the difficulty was, there wasn’t much information on it. After contacting the Art Curator of the Museum, I finally had the backstory; the dress was bought in Speights for £69 in 1972. The designer was Susan Small, apparently the retail arm of Maureen Baker, the designer of Princess Anne’s wedding dress.

From that point, I’ve developed the idea of the dress (observing colour, silhouette) and used the time period to research other 1970 dresses- that decade becoming almost a theme. Also, keeping the painting involved, that has helped with observational drawings and method of expression to inform my own prints for the 70’s themed dresses I’ve illustrated.

Figure 3- Example of my own work. 

Overall, the above painting and garment both became a starting point for my module. Since taking inspiration from them, I’ve been able to continue to develop and inform my ideas to help towards my work.



Broken Nature Exhibition- Milan

Today- 22nd April- is Earth day, therefore finding it very appropriate to write about an exhibition I visited at the Triennale di Milano titled ‘Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival’. I found each piece fascinating, so I thought I’d highlight a few of my favourites in a post.

Figure 1 & 2- Plastiglomerate

One of the first pieces to catch my attention were these, titled ‘Plastiglomerate’. These samples were described as ‘fossils of the future‘ because of all the plastic waste that ends up on our beaches, heavier pieces could end up being preserved in the sediment record. It was a stark shock to realise that’s what humans are doing to something that should be so natural.

Figure 3- Growing Varieties
Figure 4- Nanohana Heels

These heels were designed by British Japanese designer Sputniko, in collaboration with shoe designer Massaya Kushino. It started when scientists discovered rapeseed blossoms absorb radioactive substances from soil. These shoes have heels that plant rapeseeds with each step- ‘turning a stroll into a dynamic and reparative act’. I love the concept behind this, to think you could be helping the earth just by having a walk around.

Figure 5- Reliquaries

Titled ‘Reliquaries’ it was the idea of presenting natural elements because one day- at the rate the earth is dramatically changing- it may be that these things will become precious to us. Alluding to a moment where ‘a daisy might become more treasured than a diamond’. When I first looked at this, I was immediately confused, why was I standing in front of things that we have an abundance of? More importantly things I thought couldn’t be affected. But of course, with the way the world is going, everything is/will be affected and that’s a scary thought.

Figure 6- Sempione Park
Figure 7- Transitory Yarn

Designed by Alexandra Fruhstorfer, a system called ‘Transitory Yarn’ created to combat the fashion industry’s large waste issue and huge resource consumption. This makes it possible to dismantle and reknit items again, which I think is genius and something we need to see more of within the industry.

Figure 8- Sun Protection Clothing

Something I hadn’t thought of until coming across this piece, is the amount of sun cream bottles that end up in landfill, majority of them being made from plastic. However, protecting your skin against the sun’s rays is considered very important. So it was interesting to see garments that had been constructed with sun protection in mind.

Figure 9- The Black Forest

This chair, titled ‘The Black Forest’ reflects the suffering of forests and man’s involvement. It is made out of recycled plastic, iron and coal. What grasped my interest was the intricate detail that you wouldn’t pick up if you weren’t stood right in front of it. I think that with the dark, almost blurred marks you can tell it is representing torture.

Figure 10- Fishing Net Tops

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the Broken Nature Exhibition and only wish the Triennale Milan Museum was a frequent visit.

How I’m Stopping Contributing to Fast Fashion

Globally, the second most polluting industry is fashion.

This alarming information appeared in Stacey Dooley Investigates ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’ (BBC, 2018). Since then, I’ve gained a growing awareness to the state of the environment and the particular effect the fashion industry is having on it. After reading various sources, I’ve accumulated my own list of ways I can help alleviate the problem.

1. Don’t Throw Unwanted Clothes Away.

As tempting as it is to throw away old clothes- 3/4 of Britons do (Perry, 2018). It’s much better for the environment to take those garments to a charity shop or re-use them. Is it necessary it goes in the bin? Or is there a creative way it could get a new life? For me- on a fashion degree- any extra material can always be cut up and used in some way.

Figure 1- An example of my work, re-using a curtain.

2. Awareness of Where to Shop.

Do we always know the ethics of a store when we’re shopping in it? Of course not. But 5 minutes of research can give a plethora of information on where a store stands on sustainability. It seems simple, but I want to be supporting the brands that understand how important it is to be aware of the environmental state and be positively contributing to the issue. For example, & Other Stories have a ‘Textile Recycling‘ solution to help minimise the effect of fashion on the environment (& Other Stories, 2019).

Figure 2- & Other Stories top.

3. Quality of Clothes.

One of the main features of fast fashion is the price, clothes are more often than not on the cheaper side. Which in turn, happens to also be a downfall of the industry, the better the price, the more we buy. But we’re forgetting the garments aren’t as durable. I’ve always tried to make a conscious effort to save my money, to be able to buy the clothes I know I’ll get a lot of wear out of.

4. Shop When and as Needed.

If we all stopped falling for the next fast fashion deals, brands would have to listen to consumers. Production would slow down and there wouldn’t be as much waste going to landfill. By decreasing our shopping habits, we’d only be purchasing items when we needed them. Ideally, with less demand, designers could focus their energy on how to use less fabric for multiple garments.

5. Washing Polyester Fabrics in Bags

For £5.99 you can buy a set of laundry bags from Amazon. Washing polyester fabrics in bags, stops the microfibers coming off the fabric. Ultimately, when this happens the microfibers add to the already astonishing amount of plastic in our oceans and affects the sea life.

If we all just started one of these points, we’d be making a difference.


The Effect of Fast Fashion

Currently, the fast fashion industry is catastrophically damaging our environment, and whilst it’s doing so in numerous ways, I wanted to research a particular avenue; water. That being arguably one of the most important factors- we need to look after- that needs to also be sustained.

Figure 1- Jeans

Something that can be found in the majority of our wardrobes are jeans. But not all of us are aware of the true cost of owning them. According to the BBC: ‘it can take over 15,000 litres of water to grow the cotton to make a pair of jeans’ (Sanghani, 2018). Not only this, but because of the continual consumer need for these cotton garments we’re seeing whole lakes drying up. The Aral sea- once globally the fourth biggest lake- had ‘completely dried’ (Hoskins, 2014). Whilst this obviously leaves residents with no water, it also seriously affected their health. Pesticides were released from the exposed sea bed and affected people and farm land (Hoskins, 2014). Also, dust has replaced water, causing respiratory problems for people nearby (Hoskins, 2014). From watching a documentary a few months ago, I understand the surrounding residents have been slowly trying to recover the sea (BBC, 2018). However, I think that’s something that shouldn’t have to be done, the problem of water usage should have been addressed much sooner before a whole lake emptied.

Figure 2- Water

From the decrease of vast water to the quality of it: ‘fashion is the cause of 20 per cent of water pollution globally’ (World Bank cited in Nahyan, 2019). During the textile dyeing procedure, 85% of the water used pollutes the local water sources (Cotton inc cited in Nahyan, 2019). Greenpeace are seemingly very invested in this matter and have created a ‘Detox’ campaign: ‘which exposed the links between textile manufacturing facilities using toxic chemicals and water pollution’ and aims to encourage fashion brands to eliminate the hazardous portion of manufacturing (Greenpeace, 2012). The chemicals ending up in the water are highly toxic to the wildlife and people who rely on those water sources. Azo dyes are commonly used in the textile industry, when some break down during the process another chemical is released, that one being able to cause cancer (Greenpeace, 2019). Furthermore, heavy metals are used in certain dyes which once in the body, can have irreversible effects (Greenpeace, 2019). Overall, I think it is a basic human right to have clean drinking water and it leaves me feeling guilty to think many people don’t have that, just so we can have highly-toxic-made clothing.

The points I’ve put together in this post apply to fashion as a whole but with the alarming rate of the fast fashion industry, it’s safe to say the latter is also very much accountable. Finally, whilst I think we’re all starting to become more aware of the issues that lie within the fast fashion industry, I think we still have far to go.


Italy Photography

Towards the end of March, I went on a University organised trip to Italy. Each day was very different but also packed with a plethora of places to visit. I of course, took many pictures that inevitably were going to end up in a blog post- this one if you hadn’t guessed by the title.

Sunday 24th March

We arrived at Como in the early evening, so we had little time to explore. But we did manage to have our first taste of the mouth-watering ice-cream.

Monday 25th March

Figure 1- Funicolare Como- Brunate

The morning of our first full day started with a trip up a hill. It’s actually called Funicolare Como- Brunate which sounds much better than a hill. Once at the top, it was breathtakingly beautiful and it was really surreal that that was our view.

Figure 2- Villa Carlotta

Around lunch, we got a boat to Tremezzo to look around Villa Carlotta. It was fascinating to walk around a place that started to be built back in the 16th century.

Figure 3-  View from Villa Carlotta
Figure 4- Villa Carlotta Gardens

The villa sits on about 8 hectares of botanical gardens and I can’t imagine how much more beautiful it is once all of the flowers have blossomed.

Figure 5- Bellagio

Late afternoon we arrived at our final stop of the day; Bellagio. It was a stereotypical Italian town; narrow, cobbled streets and colourful quaint buildings.

Tuesday 26th March

This day, we travelled to the Comocrea Textile Trade Show. It was so inspiring (and kind of intimidating) to see the vast amount of work from so many designers.

Figure 6- Villa Erba

Understandably, I couldn’t take pictures inside the trade show. However, right next door was the beautiful Villa Erba. Collectively, we all decided that this would be the place we’d all very much like our wedding to be held.

Figure 7- Cernobbio
Figure 8- Cernobbio view

We then got to explore the rest of Cernobbio (whilst eating ice-cream) and I was beginning to wonder if its at all possible to find a place in Italy that isn’t picturesque?!

A highlight of the day was having the opportunity to go into a Como design studio. Watching people hand paint their designs was captivating and slightly therapeutic. It was also eye opening to see their work ethic and how quickly they can get their designs out there (around 2 a day).

Wednesday 27th March

We had a tour of Mantero- a textile company- which was easily the most inspiring part of the whole trip. I watched Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton fabric all being printed, so to say I was in awe would be an understatement. We also got a look-in at their archive room, which looked like it easily went on for miles! I’d love to work in such a large open plan office like there’s, with so many people everyday! And I loved how the factory was attached to the offices, I’d never thought of that before but I like the concept of it all happening in one place.

Figure 9- Duomo Cathedral

Then it was off to Milan! The top tourist spot is definitely the Duomo and was one of the first things we saw, stepping off the metro. It is architecturally beautiful and leaves you speechless with its structure.

Figure 10- Duomo View
Figure 11- View from the top of the Duomo

After 200-something steps we made it to the top to look over the city.

Thursday 28th March

Figure 12- Entrance to the Fashion Houses
Figure 13- Centre of Milan

Our last full day was all about SHOP, SHOP AND MORE SHOPPING. Being in the fashion district, we couldn’t not treat ourselves and window shop at the big brands like Louis Vuitton.


Figure 14 & 15- Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Figure 16- Milano Design Museum

We ended the day at the Milan Design Museum, where I found the whole exhibition ‘Broken Nature’ very thought provoking.

Friday 29th March

We flew home! It was such an incredibly inspiring and interesting trip, I’d love to go back and explore more of the beautiful country.

Figure 17- Duomo at Sunset


What I Wore In A Week: Italy

I’m back from an unintentional hiatus (Wi-Fi problems) and I’m so excited to share pictures from my trip. On Friday, I got back from Italy! I started the week off in Lake Como and ended it in Milan. It is such a beautiful country.

Anyways, to start off the Italy themed posts, I thought I’d share what I wore whilst I was there.


3We arrived on the Sunday but we were all far too tired to get any decent pictures.

For the first day, I ended up wearing a skirt because it was supposed to be the warmest day of the whole week. I really loved this outfit and I was much more comfortable than I thought I was going to be wearing a skirt.

Stradivarius Skirt

H&M Top


1The following day I wanted to dress a bit smarter because we were going to a Textiles Trade show.

New Look Top

Topshop Trousers


4I didn’t want to wear the whole suit together as I thought it would look too dressy. Instead, I wore the pieces separately and I think this worked well.

Pull & Bear Jeans

Pull & Bear Sweater

Topshop Suit Jacket


2For the last full day, I wore a top I haven’t worn since my 18th. I’m not sure why its taken me over a year to wear it again but I really love it.

H&M Top

Pull & Bear Jeans (Same as above)

Things I had with me Everyday:

Yoki Bag

Park Lane Trainers

Lots of Love,