We are now five weeks into a thirteen week project for the most amazing brief that has been assigned to second year students at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). For the project, aptly titled Woollen Mermaids, QUT students have the opportunity to work in parallel on the same brief with some of Australia’s most celebrated designers.
In this conceptually led venture, the objective is for students to learn core skills of swimwear manufacture and then investigate and push the design boundaries for the iconic one-piece black swimsuit. Alongside this, students will investigate how computer graphics can enhance their design presentation and augment the visual articulation of their designs.
For the first two weeks of the project we have explored the basic principles of assembling swimwear and students became familiar with the requisite machinery (elasticator, coverstitch, binder and surger style sewing machines) that is required to produce commercial quality stretchwear. Then in week three students were required to present a range of conceptually based designs, alongside supporting graphic material, in order to determine the decisive design that will be produced for the project.
After this crucial decision point for the design, referred to as Design Selection, students then have three weeks to create a sample or first prototype in a test fabric – in this case, a black cotton lycra. In week seven the garment will be fitted on professional swimwear models to determine quality of fit and hone the finer grain details of the design. After that QUT fashion students have three weeks to fabricate the design in black wool jersey (it’s such a beautiful fabric) and then present to their peers and staff a suite of design work for possible selection for the ANMM Woollen Mermaids exhibition.