BA (Hons) Textiles student Alana Macleod tell us about her placement at Zandra Rhodes.

“The internship was a really amazing experience! The design studio is very small and everybody works very closely together, so it was really interesting to see how the things we produced in the design room was worked upon in both the print room and the garment production room. I had not realised how valuable my position there would be – fortunately I had a much more important role there than just making cups of tea! We were working on designing the new collection which would be showcased at London Fashion Week and was Zandra’s first show there in many years.

As I was in the studio for 3 months, I was able to see how the collection developed, from just quick drawings and sketches into beautiful garments.  I was involved in many aspects of this journey- it was really exciting, and a great feeling to watch the success on the catwalk! I took part in some other fun projects whilst I was there also. My favourite was a charity project called ‘Travels to my elephant,’ where Zandra (along with many other designers) were asked to design and produce a Rickshaw taxi to be auctioned off. I was lucky enough to be given the role of painting the whole surface of the Rickshaw (in the lovely Zandra Rhodes ‘Acid Flower’ motif), and this project was a lovely couple of weeks for me. To see the publicity for this project in various magazines and newspapers was really exciting, knowing that I had been behind the colourful creation! 

One thing that made me slightly out of my comfort zone was having to learn how to draw in a Zandra Rhodes style – my own work is quite abstract and I enjoy collage and loose painterly mark-making approaches to creating imagery within textiles, so I had to really teach myself how to be delicate and intricate with a pen and paintbrush again. Despite this I definitely enjoyed designing for Zandra due to her use of colour- my work is very focussed upon strong, fun colour, and that is an aspect that we have in common. 

I specialise in fashion print, both digital and screen print, and I love for my outcomes to be confident, and most importantly fun. I like to add a textural quality to my flat prints- shiny foils and rough fuzzy surfaces- the contrast between different materials fascinates me. With my personal fashion sense, I enjoy the fact that my dress choices can make me feel a certain way, I can wake up and be whichever version of myself that I want to be, and I find it really fun. I try to portray this through my work, as i want to create prints that will give people the confidence to dress however they want.

The textiles course at AUB has been absolutely amazing to refine my skills and put me on track for where I now know that I want to be. I had no idea of the route I would be going down, but after being given the opportunity to experiment with every aspect of textiles, I have learnt my strengths and weaknesses, and now within third year I feel that I have finally found myself creatively! I could not have done this without all of the amazing opportunities I have been given within my course. We have had the ability to just go wild and explore whatever we like (although this did end in me setting the Uni fire alarms off once!) and the freedom within our course has really helped me to develop my experimental style.”