The Aberdeen based womenswear designer Gemma Coutts brings her surroundings to life through her unique use of texture, print and only one colour. In light of her most recent feature as part of our Global Young Talent in the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK, we had the pleasure of speaking to the Heriot-Watt University alumna about the importance of storytelling.

1. What made you choose such large and bold shapes for your garments?

I got inspired from a trip to Rome. It was my first time in Rome, and I was both absolutely captivated and fascinated by the history, the buildings and the people. The asymmetric shapes and the boldness seen in my garments are an attempt to capture the visions, emotions and feelings I endured during that trip.
 
 
"I got inspired from a trip to Rome. It was my first time in Rome, and I was both absolutely captivated and fascinated by the history, the buildings and the people." 




 
2. Did any existing designers or artists inspire your work?

I encountered the work of Marion Baruch from an exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art. I was moved at how her unique simplicity in design could make such a daring statement. Also, elements of the Yoki Yamamoto RWT Fall 2018 collection also provided me with some inspiration for my design process. This collection includes similar silhouettes and large, bold geometry which I aimed to capture in its true light.
 
 

 
3. What led you to shoot your final garment imagery in Black and White?

There is no better medium to capture the somber moods, the intricate details and shaping of my collection than returning to the basics of shooting in black and white. Sometimes colour simply doesn’t work, adding unnecessary clutter and distractions to the focal point of the image. I have designed a pure black collection and keeping the final shoot in black and white enhances the depth and actuates the areas of shadow to stimulate the senses that I felt during the design process.

"There is no better medium to capture the somber moods, the intricate details and shaping of my collection than returning to the basics of shooting in black and white."


4. What will you take forward from this collection onto your future designs?

I am impetuous by nature and this collection and many others in previous years have emerged so differently in delivery than planned during conceptual design. Whilst I do not consider this a bad trait, experimentation and adaptations are key strengths for all designers, I am gaining in maturity with graduation and expect this to become apparent in my future work. Not wanting to be saddled with just one particular design style or theme I want to surprise my admiring followers with fresh and diverse concepts in the future.

5. What is the first step when designing and getting inspired for a new collection or garment?

I do not believe there is a fixed rulebook when it comes to the design process. It is exciting to embark on a new project and I find that inspiration can be drawn from anything in any place or setting, during the dullest of mundane days when life seems to stop or from the most exciting trips to far away cities. I like to capture my days using both photos captured by phone and words in my companion notebook, never wanting to miss any single moment of passion or inspiration which can become a prominent feature in my next collection.

"I like to capture my days using both photos captured by phone and words in my companion notebook, never wanting to miss any single moment of passion or inspiration which can become a prominent feature in my next collection."

Discover Gemma Coutts's full collection




Words by Reka Dala
 
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