Lili Sipeki’s graduate collection ‘KALOCSA’ was influenced by her Hungarian heritage exploring ways to incorporate traditional elements with contemporary fashion and sustainability. Lili wanted to create a collection that tells a story, evoking a nostalgic sense of history and tradition through heritage to provoke personal reflection and facilitate mindful consumption. With oversized shapes, denim workwear details mixed with feminine flower prints and applique, the collection reflects a sense of subversive femininity.

During her research Lili looked at traditional Hungarian embroidery pieces that she had in the family. Her grandmother used to do a lot of embroidery on tablecloths, pillowcases, place mats and other decorative pieces that her family kept as they hold a lot of sentimental value. These hand crafted pieces inspired her to design a collection that evokes an emotional connection achieved through the use of cultural heritage to improve the longevity of the garments.

Inspired by the tradition Hungarian embroidery Lili created her own motifs and repeat patterns. She experimented with various application methods to create textile samples and translated her 2D patterns into 3D work. She tried patch-work techniques, hand painting and bleaching the pattern on denim and various applique techniques using scrap denim.

The collection is based on reusing denim waste so the primary colour palette is blue. To help balance the contrast of textures and different shades of denim, Lili created digital prints using her motifs and repeat patterns to add some brighter colours into the palette. The prints complement the sustainable denim techniques and give the garments more texture.

One of the main constraints that Lili faced while developing her collection was the limitation of fabric choices. The main aspects of her concept was to be as sustainable as possible, so she wanted to use deadstock denim to create the garments. Sourcing waste material proved to be more difficult than she originally anticipated.

On the other hand, this challenge made her think of new creative ways to repurpose the scrap denim fabrics she had. Using patch-work techniques to utilise the smaller fabric scraps she created a chevron pattern which became a significant part of her designs.

Her research, design development, textile and print experimentation resulted in a line-up of 12 looks out of 4 pieces she produced. Applying the traditional embroidery patterns to prints and denim textile techniques and mixing them with modern silhouettes enabled Lili to create a collection that resembles elements of tradition and heritage while staying current and desirable for her target audience.