Katie Billingsley’s graduate collection ‘Shade’ was influenced by her childhood hobby and lockdown. During lockdown, Katie watched her old dancing show videos and decided to recreate them in her living room, sparking her inspiration to look at the surrounding different objects and details. Katie’s message is to show that we are so consumed in our everyday lives, that we forget the objects that make up our homes and the stories behind each item. Lockdown has taught her that you can gain so much inspiration from everyday objects in our homes, which we normally forget about and end up walking past. Katie's collection is pushing boundaries between fashion and everyday objects.
Taking inspiration from the silhouettes of lampshades and folds in curtains Katie experimented with different shapes, silhouettes and materials on the body. Pushing the limitations of what the human body can wear and how it can move. Due to a lack of resources during lockdown, Katie had to find various objects and materials to experiment with from around her home. She started experimenting by draping them on herself for silhouette and design ideas. Being stuck at home, encouraged Katie to innovate because she had never thought about designing and draping on herself with only objects that she had found at home.
After playing around with drape and looking at different shapes, Katie found the shape and construction of lamps exciting. She then decided to explore further with the construction of a lamp. She created a body size form that resembles the construction of a lampshade which could be fastened around the body, this was made from boning and chiffon fabric. The structure was light and bouncy resembling the movement of tutus Katie used to wear when dancing. Katie wanted to push the limits of this form and decided to learn the technique of MIG welding. After a lot of sessions, practice and determination Katie was able to produce the welded form. It was made from metal, it fit the body around the neck and the waist because both had hinges to open. It also had a second layer of spikes, so Katie could hand sewn on two layers of gathered chiffon creating a lampshade effect.
This is Katie's final collection lineup. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Katie was only able to create two looks from her lineup, she was gutted about this as she would love to have seen what the rest of her collection would have looked like together. Katie's collection design was based on the welded form she created. The rest of the collection would have been designed using the bouncy, lightweight form she created out of boning. This form would have been draped and laid on the body in a different way for each design to push the boundaries of silhouettes on the body. As Katie was inspired by dancing her collection was made up of lightweight sportswear materials designed with lycra, reflective tape, toggles, waterproof and stretch fabrics in mind. Curtain tape with larger eyelets was a larger part of Katie's collection to exaggerate the sportswear theme and everyday objects in Katie's concept.