To support the launch of our new FCUK athleisure wear capsule edit, we are proud to have partnered with the University Of East London (UEL) on a student collaboration project. Over the course of the past two months with various Zoom briefings and virtual presentations, students have worked alongside French Connection on a product development project, from concept to execution.
Following a brief set out by French Connection, the students were then given creative control and tasked to customise a plain FCUK hoodie with their own style and design. From initial mood boards and concepts to design development and then customising the physical hoodie; this project showcased a spectrum of skills.
Regular virtual tutorials with French Connection, ensured the students stuck to the brief, whilst giving the students the opportunity to learn and get guidance from industry experts along the way.
From all the designs submitted as part of this project, there was one overall winner, selected by a French Connection judging panel.
The winner of the FCUK x UEL student project was Jessica; with her FCUK Planet design. The team felt her tongue in cheek approach to her project responded well to all aspects of the brief. Inspired by current issues with plastic usage in the fashion industry and its impact on the planet, her overall project aimed to put the spotlight on this important topic, but in a way that followed FCUK’s personality and appealing to a GEN Z audience, through ironic dark humour and tongue in cheek references. She also used popular culture creatives, such as social memes, to convey her idea as a metaphor for consumerism in today’s world.
Credit: @jessicajoaoart // Model: @michael_chibueze
The runners up
The judging panel were so impressed with the quality of work and final designs, that alongside the overall winner, they also selected two runners up who they wanted to give special recognition to.
Gary’s ‘Vision of Blind’ themed project captured the team’s attention, through sharing his own personal experiences of being visually impaired and how he goes through life with his current vision. The team admired how he weaved his own vision, Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), into the concept to inspire his design.
Kieran’s ‘Denim Metaphor’ concept was another project that impressed the team, highlighting the journey and life of a pair of denim jeans. Using denim as his canvas, he delved into the fabric's imperfections, natural weathering; destruction and repair, plus researching differing types of washes and colour processes. Following this, the team thought Kieran was very fashion aware and were also impressed by his use of a spectrum of design techniques and experiments.
"It has been an honour for our University of East London Fashion Textiles students to collaborate with French Connection. The idea of re-inventing the FCUK hoodie gave students the opportunity to be truly imaginative and use personal story-telling in the creation of their concepts. We would like to thank you for all your support".
Lesley Robertson // Course Leader BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles
University of East London
Q&A with the students
What did you enjoy most about this FCUK x UEL collaboration project?
Jessica: The challenge in general, it was amazing to find out what I could produce week after week and what I could improve with every piece of feedback.
Kieran: What I enjoyed most about this collaboration project was that French Connection let us have the freedom to explore whatever we wanted, giving us personal creative control of our work.
Gary: I enjoyed this project as it allowed me to take risks, explore and experiment with different design techniques to express myself, plus it allowed me to enjoy the process even if it doesn’t go my way, it’s all part of the fun.
What skills/experience will you take from this project into your future work?
Jessica: On the journey to reach my finished garments, I had a lot of trial and error. I jammed my machine several times and almost set fabric on fire with the 3D printer, but I'm glad that happened; this project taught me to not be afraid of experimentation.
Kieran: The skills I think I’ll take forward from this project would be to come with a clearer approach and simplify the idea. Also to design with the customer in mind.
Gary: Definitely screen printing and natural dying processes, plus hopefully in the future I can expand and learn how to do other print techniques on my work, for example, digital and lino print.
If you were to customise another piece from the FCUK collection, what style would you choose & why?
Jessica: I would choose the dropped crotch joggers, they've become a lockdown essential and like the hoodie, it’s a blank canvas to work on.
Kieran: If I was going to customise another piece from the FCUK collection, I would choose the sweats, as they’d be a great garment to play with.
Gary: If I were to customise another garment, it would be called #NORMALDIFFERENT. Again, I want to continue to express myself going through my life as an autistic person and how I fit in with other people.
As a brand it was great to work with the students on this project, learning from their experiences, and approach to current affairs alongside seeing their creativity and design skills.
Thank you to everyone involved in this FCUK x UEL student project.