Zoë’s graduate collection explores craft, the visceral way in which craftsmen approach design and how traditional clothing is informed by necessity, practicality and a need for longevity. During time spent working in The Netherlands Zoë became fascinated by fishing communities, and being raised by the sea, felt a kinship with the landscape and the unique way of life found on the coast. She has explored with particular focus on women, often the unsung designers and makers of these communities, who were creating and mending out of necessity.

Visual cues like baskets (creels) and nets influenced the detailed appliqué pattern that adorns the dress skirt. A dark stripe references the traditional skirts ‘fisher-wives’ wore. Smocked leather is a reference to the patches used to toughen areas of stress in knitwear - unique to each fisherman, and the wife that had to mend them. Coins of leather have been woven and linked within the smocking - inspired by the fishermen’s individual customisations: symbols and family motifs knitted into their clothing as well as village ‘crests’ to help identification should they be found drowned.

All the cloth in the collection is second-hand, up-cycled, found, or in some way repurposed. For the collection Zoë was able to work with donated fabric from the Alexander McQueen studio which would have otherwise been discarded: silk chiffon, rough tweed, and wools. The leathers used are offcuts from a local leather goods business, the linens and cotton were purchased from a market and are vintage dead-stock from British cloth and manufacturing factories. Zoë has considered the sources of all of the fabrics and trims - even managing to find second-hand grosgrain which has been used to bind the seams and hems. The resulting textiles and garments reflect this history, the provenance; the landscape they come from and the people who created them.