Sophie Wilkinson-Cooper is a Menswear and Childrenswear designer from Grimsby. Her northern home town is divided into different communities, which has influenced her collection by taking inspiration from existing garment details such as football memorabilia and knitwear, Fishermen’s garment silhouettes from raincoats and sou wester hats, as well as designing clashing prints to juxtapose the cultures together.
Graduating in Summer 2021 with a BA Honours in Fashion Design, Sophie had always had the idea of basing her final collection about her expatriate experience moving away from Grimsby at the age of 6. Her experience was very rare at the time within her community, to have moved aboard for 13 years, to two foreign countries. This collection allowed Sophie to relearn and reconnect with her Grimsby routes, to fully understand her heritage and to make up for lost time.
Being inspired by old family photos, one of her last memories came from being at a Grimsby Town (GTFC) football match at Wembley with her dad and uncles, where she wore an old fan collectable scarf, to which she was immediately drawn to the downward arrows on the scarf. She wanted to incorporate this feature into her collection, by repeating it, as if it was a chevron, by developing her own Grimbarian knitted scarf. Another feature she incorporated into her collection were red threaded cover seaming techniques, which she had seen in the old GTFC sportswear and wanted to merge this element into the garments of her collection that wouldn’t traditionally have this finish.
Using key themes from football hooliganism, Grimsby’s fishermen and the northern chav sub-culture, Sophie wanted to incorporate sustainable fabrics that linked to these themes, such as recycled Bamboo towelling, which she used on her shorts to make the link to the use of towels within a football changing room after a match. Further to this, her knitwear is made from a mix of Merino and recycled yarn, which due to the different weights of yarn used, created softness, strength and vivid detail within her knitwear.