Undulating sleeves create "optical effect" in
Katherine Roberts-Wood's fashion collection

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Bright waves of colour ripple through the sleeves of these garments held together with tabs and slots rather than stitching, designed by Royal College of Art graduate Katherine Roberts-Wood.

Katherine Roberts-Wood Royal College of Art graduate fashion collection 2014

Roberts-Wood added contrasting colours to the reverse of wavy sections of fabric that form arms and bodices. These are revealed as the wearer moves, causing the sleeves to bounce.

Katherine Roberts-Wood Royal College of Art graduate fashion collection 2014

The designer told Dezeen that her references came from repetitive patterns in nature such as murmurations – flocks of starlings that appear to coalesce and pulsate during an aerial display.

Katherine Roberts-Wood Royal College of Art graduate fashion collection 2014

"I wondered if I could create a visually interesting, confusing or curious effect by mimicking the amazing phenomenon of repetition and mathematical patterns, often found in nature, and translate it into a three-dimensional fabric structure," Roberts-Wood said.

Katherine Roberts-Wood Royal College of Art graduate fashion collection 2014

Purple, blue, green and coral colours feature on the underside of the darker navy and grey material. The fabrics are made from wool, felts and jersey, bonded together in different combinations and thicknesses to create various grades of stiffness and flexibility.

Katherine Roberts-Wood Royal College of Art graduate fashion collection 2014

"The building up and layering of these waves created both fluid and structural fabric forms, which I developed though draping and stand-work into my silhouettes," Roberts-Wood said.

Katherine Roberts-Wood Royal College of Art graduate fashion collection 2014

"I think the effect is both organic and quite digital which is an interesting contrast," she added.

Katherine Roberts-Wood Royal College of Art graduate fashion collection 2014

The garments were formed without the use of stitching, instead using a custom system of tabs and slots to link together the material.

Katherine Roberts-Wood Royal College of Art graduate fashion collection 2014

"Through experimentation I developed this technique of linking similar units of fabric together to create three-dimensional forms, using contrasting colours on the reverse side to create a shifting, optical effect as the wearer moves or turns," said the designer.

Katherine Roberts-Wood Royal College of Art graduate fashion collection 2014

Pieces of material were all laser cut and linked together by hand. In some outfits, the sleeves are detached from the dresses and coats.

Katherine Roberts-Wood Royal College of Art graduate fashion collection 2014

The garments in Robert-Woods' collection were created as experimental pieces, but the designer hopes to translate the stiff garments into more fluid clothing.

Katherine Roberts-Wood Royal College of Art graduate fashion collection 2014

"I would love to develop my fabric research using the same technique, but creating a softer and less-stiff version of the linked units, which I think would almost give the effect of knitwear to my pieces and would be a much more wearable form of the concept than the very structural pieces in my MA collection," she said.

The collection was shown at the Royal College of Art graduate show last month, along with Marta Jakubowski's train of linked garments and Louise Bennetts' designs constructed from cork and horsehair.

See more 2014 graduate projects »

Photographer: Max Barnett
Make-up artist/hair: Michelle Webb
Model: Demi Scott