Pushing the boundaries of performance materials is how Emilia Hall won the attention of the CIDA judges. They loved her take on reimagining the familiar and her playful sense of colour. Read on and find out more about her design process and approach to the relationships between materials, colour and the finished product.
Emilia Hall - One to watch 2019
University course -The Glasgow School of Art. Textile Design.
Course Tutor - Susan Telford, Head of Embroidery.
I am a process driven Colour & Materials designer whose passions lie within material innovation with a functional aesthetic. My work is strongly related to the performance and footwear industries, but can be applied across various markets due to its strong grounding in trend research and material exploration.
What is your main source of creative inspiration?
Throughout my work and own personal interests, I always look to trend articles for inspiration and I am most inspired by a ‘functional aesthetic’. A great example of this is article “How exactly did North Face become cool?” by Dazed which I chose to study as part of my final year written submission. I am intrigued by the debate surrounding functional fashion and the success of certain labels. Additionally, I enjoy seeking inspiration from a range of visual merchandise designers and installation artists.
How important is colour in your work and how do you choose and narrow down colours?
Initially materials and techniques stem the basis of my design work, and I’ve found that colour follows shortly to guide my exploration and development. I believe that building sets of colour palettes is essential in narrowing down choices and making sure I can realise these colours in further concepts.
Tell us about your creative process
My graduate collection initiated from my set-brief of using a range of utilitarian materials inherited from my Grandad, to ‘draw’ from photographs of city architecture I took whilst travelling China; both which represent themes of efficiency and functionality. Development followed through colour, material play, modular design, and laser-cutting. The outcome of this being; a series of concept samples and visualisations for the performance apparel, which suggest rather than define a final outcome.
What are you working on now?
I am currently interning as a CMF Designer at SAIC Motor. This is a three month placement in the ‘advanced concept’ studio, designing for the production of MG cars. The automotive industry has been something completely new to me and I’ve met a range of inspiring designers and studio engineers. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed fully engaging with the role; the trend forecasting, sourcing materials, colour developments, learning about new textile technologies (sustainability in particular), and I look forward to furthering these skills in my next professional placement.
Where do you want to be in 3 years’ time?
Working in the Colour and Materials division of preferably a performance / footwear based company. I also would love to engage in life-style trend research, which I believe is so important in the future of design.
Creative high point?
Successfully pairing together the two starting points of my graduate collection (the photographs of Chinese city architecture and utilitarian materials) to create my initial ‘drawings’. These focused on certain areas of my photographs to create what I would describe as ‘material schemes’, and hence explored colour ways, proportion and knot techniques.
Creative low point?
Graduating and entering the real professional world is a tricky process for all graduates. In the stress of this I began to regret how ‘wacky’ and ‘out there’ I had been in creating my graduate collection as it didn’t seem fit for industry. However, after my first professional placement I can genuinely say I have learnt to be proud of my work and trust that my education at GSA has given me many transferable skills I know I can take to a range of industries.
Is there one person during your studies/life who has really made a difference to you?
As discussed, the materials I explored for my graduate collection were inherited from my Grandad who was, up until an impressive age, a passionate hiker and camper. For all of his adventures, he would create EVERYTHING; from custom-made combats, to vintage tents, to high quality sleeping bags. Reflecting on this, it is clear that his creativity and textile expertise for the outdoors has played, and will continue to play, a huge influence in my own practise.
What makes you really happy?
When hard efforts pay off.
What is your favourite colour?
I’m always drawn to bold primary colours for the base of my design work and inspirations. I also love khaki in my work and style!
Image credits: Emilia Hall
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