We all know how important education is, but few of us know how important fashion graduates are for setting the seasons trend in fashion. The final push is over and most have handed in for show selection. In my recollection this may have been the most stressful day of my life. This years GFW will be attended by all the head honchos in the fashion industry, talent scouts, bloggers and journalists and is the best way to get your career in fashion off the ground ! Not that it is needed for Hawthorne & Heaney’s latest darling Claire Barrow.
Claire Barrow is a 22 year old fashion design Graduate. During her compulsory year out at Westminster University Claire was supposed to take on an internship like most fashion design students. Internships are a valuable way to learn about the industry and I myself do endorse them very highly, but some cannot afford them or like Claire have more creative ideas on how to spend their time out. “I wanted to do something else, I was into my illustration and watching a lot of films starring bikers and punks with band names scratched into the backs of their jackets and the two came together some how“. Whilst waiting for some part time bar work to ‘come along’ Claire bought a leather jacket from a charity shop and began painting on it. She then posted the image on her Tumblr and Facebook and it was seen by Vogues fashion editor Francesca Burns and Mel Ottenburg, who was styling Rihanna for her Loud tour. Rihanna has gone on to buy two more leather jackets and she has just finished a capsule collection for the luxury label, Joseph. Hawthorne & Heaney were lucky enough to work with Claire on her graduate collection. After being brought together by Robert Leach a tutor, who has had the pleasure of teaching many of the young upcoming stars in London, Claire worked on creating the full colour pattern pieces for the fully beaded dresses and head pieces in her collection. She then brought them to Hawthorne & Heaney where they were translated into tambour beaded panels with hanging paint drips off the exposed edges. After nearly two weeks of stitching from up to five embroiderers the panels were completed and totally blew us away.
We thoroughly enjoyed working with Claire and our other students this year and wish them all the luck in the world.
The combination of skilled craftsmanship and a young innovative design is something that H&H is very passionate about and supports with our young designers sponsorship scheme.
Keep your eyes peeled at Graduate Fashion Week beginning 10th June. www.gfw.org.uk. With thanks to the Evening Standard and Matt Writtle.
Claire Barrett is an embroidery designer who has been working in the embroidery industry for six years. A former Creative Director at Hand & Lock, Claire runs Hawthorne & Heaney, dealing with celebrity clients such as Kanye West and high profile companies such as Henry Poole & Company Savile Row tailors. Claire is passionate about making embroidery accessible to everyone by offering sponsorships to young designers and even running the London Embroidery School to teach beginners classes to those who are interested in getting a taste of what embroidery has to offer.