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Shaghayegh Zavoshi - Photo by Venetia Alkema

Montage Graduate Fashion Show

Dazed Digital talks to three talented students from the Middlesex University's Fashion degree about their collections and plans for the future...

Montage Art and Design show is the showcase umbrella for Middlesex University's graduate exhibition this year. Student from all creative disciplines at this north London university come together at Brick Lane's Truman Brewery to showcase their collected talent. Also attended by Meadham Kirchhoff and Nasir Mazhar, Dazed Digital saw the BA fashion design show and spoke to three if of the students afterwards...

- Erin Lawrie -

Dazed Digital: Congrats to graduating, what are you going to do now?
Erin Lawrie: Well, at the moment I am just having to get any job to live off as this final year at college has totally drained my bank account but while doing that I am going to apply for jobs in fashion, I don't want my own label or to go down that route so ideally it would be within another house or label, staying in London at first and then maybe moving onto Paris, depending on the opportunities available.

DD: What inspired the collection?
Erin Lawrie: The look was quite girly but with an edge and I wanted the person who would wear the clothes to not be so obsessed with her look but enjoy layering in a subtle and styled way, a bit messy and with frays and layers but not to the point were the clothes no longer have a sophistication.

DD: How would you describe the look?
Erin Lawrie: I wanted to mix up various garments and styles to show how you can create a look that can have a smarter element mixed with a more relaxed and stylized output. I do feel that opposites attract and I feel that is important to not to be afraid to explore a range of styles in one look but that you have to make sure that the proportions work as well as how not over doing one aspect.

DD: Lots of scribbling, often about music - what music and why inspire you?
Erin Lawrie: A lot of the images that I researched had some sort of scribble, symbols, writing or drawing on them and so this inspired me to try re-create similar designs using my own writing and drawings, which has a particular dysfunctional look to it and as a result what worked best was a mixture between various writing styles and drawings in and between this. I wanted what I wrote to be a recognition of myself and maybe to also show in single words or sentences what else I enjoy or am inspired by - music being one of these - but some of the words were more personal sentences contextualizing my feelings and thoughts at the time, what was happening in my life.

DD: Quite a lot of black and a bits of white...
Erin Lawrie: Yeah, I feel that the colour black is a big part of me, I enjoy black and its strengths of subtle yet strong it can be, the idea of layering various black garments I think can always work and create a strong yet understated look, for me colour is sometimes only there to stop the use of black and I don't think it should be an approach just to not be used.   

DD: Many skirts had a high waist, did you want to challenge the notion of a 'normal' silhouette?
Erin Lawrie: The high-waisted skirts were never there to challenge this notion of a normal silhouette but came about as I wanted skirts that didn't only have to be worn one way but however you chose, and for me it was to be able to pull them up, tie them and pull them up, rouch and tug the garment around and seeing how his would react with the various layers, by tucking in the jumpers and putting them on top of each other.

- Shaghayegh Zavoshi -

DD: Congratulations to your graduation - what's next?
Shaghayegh Zavoshi: Thanks. Next is business and serious life, so I might move to New York, but I'd rather stay in London and see what happens. But it's all rolling!

DD: What inspired and influenced you?
Shaghayegh Zavoshi: The inspiration was the artist Sherin Neshat as I always imagined her in my head and it was also about her work as she deals with the position of women in the Iranian society. It's mainly her photographs of women in tchadors that I tried to translate in my collection.

DD: When and where does your love of leather come from?
Shaghayegh Zavoshi: My mother's family worked with leather for over 60 years, manufacturing bags and belts etc, so I wanted to follow the tradition without being traditional by using really thick cows leather which is not used for garments mainly for shoes and it was the only way to transform the image of strength vs fragile.

DD: The leather felt protective and supportive, was that the intention?
Shaghayegh Zavoshi: Wow! That was exactly what I wanted to express with the leather. My intention was to turn and twist the idea of the repression in the Islamic-Iranian society and reinvent or create my woman.

DD: The colour palette was focused on three shades; black, tan and off white. How come you chose them three?
Shaghayegh Zavoshi: My colour palette you could say is almost no colour. The black chiffon pieces which are attched to the leather pieces are my tchadors which give a certain fragility and the same time it has a dark mood.The leater pieces reflect power,strength. As you figured support like a shield. The tight nude dresses express sexuality. So altogether I am destroying any norm. And I guess a lot of religious people would want to kill me for doing so but that is why I called the collection Turbulent.

DD: The clothes were a mix of both the tight and flowing pieces - how would you describe your style?
Shaghayegh Zavoshi: My style is a mix and match. It might not make sense the first place but I would like to make more than just clothes. Culture, politics and social outcasts are my drive. So I guess I just take whatever I can and use it. I am a social pervert. Stalking everybody and everything...

-Helen Carney -

DD: What's up next after graduating?
Helen Carney: After graduation I will be searching for a possible internship and work experience. I have already completed several small designer placements but now I am looking for somewhere bigger and to be honest that has potential employment prospects. I’m going to the States for a month too at the end of June so I am also going to see what happens there.

DD: What inspired the collection?
Helen Carney: The collection was a bit self-indulgent really. It was very nostalgic in terms of childhood memories; when things were more homemade and less slick. I cut holes out in some of the tailored pieces perhaps because I was looking at fuzzy felts and those clean lines and more pure shapes you get from those old toys. I suppose the collection is a bit crafty, although I am wary of labeling it such because it can sound a bit naff - which is why I wanted it to be modern too!

Was that clog boots I saw the models wear?
Helen Carney: I’m very nostalgic probably because I had a great past and a very homemade ad hoc, childhood hence the wooden shoes and the wood neck chain on the shirt. I had the clog boots made at this amazing place up North, which is where I’m from. They are actually farmers clogs and I love them because they are a bit clompy and goofy.

DD: Tell us about the ruffled felt jacket? Was that hand made?
Helen Carney: The big chunk was fleece rag rug; which is a rug making technique, weaving fleece rectangles in and out of a mesh base and yes totally handmade.

DD: It felt quite classic but still modern - were you looking to redefine classics such shirts and coats?
Helen Carney: I don’t think I set out to re-design classics, I think I tend to just be interested in real clothes. I like to involve a textile technique or some surface treatment but on the whole I like simple lines and shapes which feel comfortable. You can do that with modern clothes.

Photos of Shaghayegh Zavoshi and Erin Lawrie's collections by Venetia Van Hoorn Alkema for Fox and Squirrel