Claire Tiplady’s research started by looking at historical archives at the London Transport Museum. The First London Underground tube journey was on the 9th January 1863. Now over 150 years down the track, it has 270 stations, 11 underground lines which covers 402 kilometres of London, with 5 million passenger journeys every single day. The tube has become apart of a commuters lifestyle. The London underground has so much character as a network contrasting the uniqueness of each individual station. This was a key aspect to Claire’s design process as she wanted each piece to be strong, as a standalone garment, but also cohesive together as a full collection. Her collection highlights the design and detail of the underground which the oblivious average commuter passes everyday. Iconic items that make the underground recognisable including the iconic roundel, the original tube map, the various different woven moquette fabrics on the seats used everyday and the shapes of the individual carriages.
Claire used various mixed media techniques in her design process, from collaging to draping on a stand and projecting images onto a mannequin, which all provided useful when the design development moved onto sampling with embroidery and printing techniques. The key shape component evolved as the circle. This then developed into connecting the circles, just like each stop on a tube line is shown on the map. Scale, colour and texture such as beading was then added to this print, used throughout her collection.
Claire’s main fabric used, sponsored by a British ribbons manufacturer, is a mixture of velvet and organza ribbons in bright, contrasting colours. A lot of experimenting occurred with the ribbons to ensure the best width, weight and type of ribbon was used in her collection. Once the idea of using ribbon to create a woven checkerboard style fabric was chosen, the application process of logistically keeping the ribbon pieces woven into the correct shapes, whilst still giving the correct amount of drape included bonding and sewing them together. The woven ribbons signify the underground where the tube lines pass over and underneath each other. Layering was the last key component to Claire’s design process, it enabled the embroidery, print and woven technique to combine together as a full collection whilst adding the luxurious layers of beading and detail onto the core bold shapes and colours the repeated throughout her collection.