Tess is a womenswear fashion design graduate from UCA, whose final year collection centres around the shapes, details and colours of fungi. This led to her innovating a handcrafted lace and seaming technique inspired by the thread-like effect of fungi mycelium, a key feature on all garments.
Tess' love for texture, elegance, and draping is reflected in her collection. Her aim was to create something feminine and delicate, but with some quirk and fun at the same time. Through the use of 3D standwork and draping, she designed and emulated the organic shapes she could see in her favourite mushrooms. Especially the puffball-'I found it so exciting to manipulate fabric to create such a seemingly effortless silhouette'.
Tess kickstarted her research by being hands on, and spent three dedicated days looking for different sorts of fungi in different states that she could photograph and reference. Alongside this, she used field guides and an online fungi forum to help identify each mushroom, so she could learn more about it and use that to further her research and design ideas.
'Once I felt like I had enough primary research to work with, I immediately began sourcing fabrics to play with to create textures and shapes on my half scale mannequin that I could use as a starting point for design development. I always like to work really practically like that, it immerses me and gets the creative juices flowing!' This led her to the key elements in her collection: the mycelium inspired lace, the puffball silhouette, and the gill-like pleats.
Tess' freehand embroidered lace serves not only as a fabric, but also as a method of seaming fabrics together and finishing edges.