In the past few years, there’s been a push from established plus size brands to support & encourage the education of upcoming design talent. A fresh new crop of young designers with the passion & skills to design for plus size women? Someone alert the CFDA!
To foster this talent, Evans partners with universities to host a design competition, with the winner designing a capsule collection under the brand CUT for EVANS. The program is in its fifth season, and for SS2016 the winner was designer Gabriella Seal from Nottingham Trend University. Her collection focuses on festival wear with bohemian influences.
The collection is tightly edited and on-trend, featuring an original print created by Gabriella. To gain more insight into her design process, I asked her a few questions.
- What’s your design aesthetic? Where would you love to design after graduation?
- “I like to pull together inspiration from different cultures and eras. I am particularly interested in Asian culture and artifacts as well as everyday surroundings. I like my designs to say something or make you think something rather than be purely about surface beauty. This year I have been interning at several high-end womenswear designers in London and I definitely want to pursue a career designing at this level.”
- What was the process of designing the print featured in the collection like? Did you use any specific technology?
- “Several years ago I did some fabric dying at a village I lived in for a few months in Tanzania. I scanned in these prints I created and manipulated them in Photoshop to create a kaleidoscope-like, slightly psychedelic effect which I then digitally printed onto various fabrics.”
- Were there any special considerations during the design process for the Evans customer?
- “When doing my collection for The Cut I initially noticed there wasn’t a huge variety of plus size “festival wear” unlike the rest of the high street market. I came across several plus size bloggers expressing their frustration with not being able to follow this huge summer trend, which I also didn’t think was fair. I also carefully considered how the customer would feel the most physically comfortable and also make them feel confident at the same time. For example, I incorporated extra support into the cropped top and made the sleeves out of printed sheer fabric so the shape of the arm is still visible but the customer feels confident.”
- What’s the most valuable piece of advice you received from the Evans team during the design process?
- “During the design process, the best feedback I received from the Evans team was that they really liked the body positive attitude my collection has. Plus size doesn’t mean that you have to cover up, it is about showing off a plus size figure in a way that makes the customer feel empowered and confident.”
The CUT For EVANS SS2016 collection ranges from $55 to $99.50. I’m not a fan of traditional “festival clothing”, but I’m particularly fond of the Denim Tassel Skirt (you know I love fringe!) and the Denim Dress. Both pieces would transition beautifully into fall with a Chelsea boot.