Dashing Tweeds & UAL: Central Saint Martins Weave Department Live Project


Central Saint Martins College of Arts & Design, University of  The Arts London, second Year BA (Hons) Textile Design weave students worked on a menswear project set by Dashing Tweeds.

Dashing Tweeds create “a range of tweeds, accessories and clothing for the 21st century. The company was founded by photographer Guy Hills and Woven Textile Designer Kirsty McDougall, who share a dedication to challenging the menswear market with elegance, colour, heritage, technology, innovation and humour, developing fabrics and garments that will last a life time….” Dashing Tweeds website

Guy Hill and Kirsty McDougall briefed the students at the new Central Saint Martins Kings Cross campus, illustrating the companies’ work with images, talked about the history of tweeds and Guy Hill modeled a range of Dashing Tweeds clothing throughout the talk.

Keeping to the Dashing Tweeds urban influences, the students had to develop primary visual research choosing an area of London, being given the options of; exploring where they lived, an area that interested them or they had to find an interesting way of bringing together different aspects of London and capture the ‘flavour’ of the areas. This research was used to develop urban and textured tweed woven samples, which the students wove using 8 shaft looms. The students also had to develop computer aided design simulated weave shirting samples, to co ordinate with their tweeds, using specialist weave software.

Mid way through the project Dashing Tweeds visited the new Kings Cross site and talked to the students at their looms to see how they were progressing and gave advice. At the end of the project they attended a final critique, where each student had 5 minutes to present their projects alongside their sketchbooks, mood boards, customer profile boards, technical notes and final illustrations depicting their woven samples in a suiting context.

Dashing Tweeds stated “We were honoured to be asked to undertake a live project with second year woven textile students at Central Saint Martins. We set a project asking students to explore the use of texture and colour within menswear fabric. The results produced were wonderful. Each student had an individual take on the project, demonstrating fantastic contextual development, research and realisation into final fabric. We were so impressed that we bought a sample for development and have asked two of the students to undertake work placements over the summer.”

Stephanie Rolph one of the students who was awarded a work placement commented “working on the Dashing Tweeds live project was my first experience of working on an industry project. It was also my first time designing for a menswear brief. Due to this I found the project difficult at first. However working on a live project proved to be very rewarding. It pushed me to work outside of my comfort zone and challenged me to take risks.

The project taught me the importance of listening to the clients needs and exploring the project brief fully. Considering the commercial elements of the design as well as trying to make innovative fabrics. The project was set to an industry time scale so I learnt that organisation and planning was vital. I feel this experience benefited me as it gave me the first chance to work with people for the weave industry. Hearing their feedback was great and it was interesting to gain an industry perspective on my work. I also feel that I benefited from being challenged and gained an insight into menswear and tweed design. I discovered the wide variety of weaving that falls into menswear. Learning about this has changed my opinion of working within menswear and I am very excited about my placement at Dashing Tweeds. I can’t wait to work within the industry and get a chance to see first hand the design process.”

Taslima Sultana who was also awarded a work placement said “working with a client such as Dashing Tweeds was very exciting. They expected something that would fit in with their unique style but with something new to add to their collection. Throughout the project I have learned that experimenting with your designs is a must and then you may expect the unexpected. This project has been very beneficial to me as I have learnt a bit about what is expected in the design industry and of a designer. I can’t wait to start a work placement with them and am eager to learn more.”

Central Saint Martins BA (Hons) Textile Design – Weave Department would like to thank Kirsty and Guy for giving up their valuable time to write a project brief, delivering an in depth talk and fashion show, fit in an interim visit and for attending the final critique and giving the students feedback on their work.
All images and work shown are copyrighted to The University of The Arts London & the students
UAL: Central Saint Martins BA (Hons) Textile Design

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