This week we meet Gwen Harris, a final year fashion design student from Nottingham Trent university. Gwen’s final collection is a nostalgic trip into a teenager’s bedroom, tapping into her memories of her own bedroom replete with stacks of CD’s, posters and band tees which celebrates the “awkward teenage years that help us become who we are as adults.”

What was the starting point of your inspiration for your final project?

My inspiration often comes from a nostalgic starting point. For my final project, I was really inspired by teenage bedrooms. I began by looking at my own bedroom, which contained stacks of CDs, posters, band t-shirts and childhood memorabilia.

I also looked at conceptual artists Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas who have both produced work relating to beds and bedrooms. My project will consist of a range of garments, presented as a collection of four outfits.

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How has it evolved from your initial ideas and what have you learnt along the way?

I quickly realised whilst at research stage that this project was becoming a really personal one, so I began to embrace this and have been focusing on producing work that is representative of my own teenage experiences.

I am combining diary entries, coming-of-age slogans and references to my interest in music as a teenager, with exciting textiles and silhouettes. I’ve learnt that allowing time for design development is absolutely key, as often an idea you love can be elevated even further to produce a more exciting outcome. I’ve also learnt that taking risk is really important; some of my strongest work has come from trying something totally new. 

What is the message behind your project that you want people to take away?

I’d love for my collection to spark a sense of nostalgia and joy; it is really a celebration of those awkward teenage years that help us become who we are as adults. I’m striving to create garments that are emotionally durable and feel special to the wearer. My collection is also totally fur, leather and animal fibre free. I’d love to help communicate that great fashion can be cruelty free. 

What is your plan once you finish your BA?

I’m really interested in print design, so I’d love to work for a high street brand that combines great design with wearability, to build up experience. However, after dabbling in different areas of design in my year out in industry, I’d be really excited at the prospect of other roles, too. I’d also love to collaborate with some other creatives to build my portfolio.