When it’s cold and wet outside, one place to find some sunshine is Kingston University fashion student David Smith’s latest clothing range. Challenged to come up with designs for his final-year collection, David drew his inspiration from a perennially favourite topic – the unpredictability of the British weather. His collection centres around staying dry while looking stylish and having fun, and features a selection of knitwear, men’s suits and outerwear in cheerful colours.
The 23 year old explained how taking photographs of his young nephews splashing around in puddles provided an intriguing starting point for his designs. “I wanted to give adults a second chance to recapture some of the energy and enjoyment we all once felt when growing up,” David said. “I collected handprints and paintings that my nephews had produced to give me ideas for my designs and a bright colour palette for my collection.
Buckinghamshire-born David wanted to produce a financially-friendly collection and sourced a lot of his fabrics from stalls on Shepherd’s Bush Market, although it took him longer to find a website where he could buy waterproof materials at reasonable prices. “I’ve made one of my raincoats out of a semi-transparent shower curtain so that the coat can be worn over a bright sweatshirt with the rainbow colours showing through,” he said.
David admits that, looking back, his decision to study at Kingston was a wise one. “I got a good feeling about it straight away when I had a tour of the place on an open day – plus it was a huge advantage that it’s only half an hour away from London and potential work opportunities,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot of new techniques on the course, especially as my collections cover such a wide range of garments.”
No stranger to seeing his designs come to life on a model, one of David’s outfits was recently featured in a show that was part of a student design competition run by American tailored clothing label Brooks Brothers. His Starsky and Hutch inspired ensemble featured a tailored jacket with a chunky collar, teamed with a pair of trousers, influenced by a 19th Century pattern, but given a modern twist to bring them bang up to date.
Kingston University fashion lecturer Satyenkumar Patel said that David had displayed enormous passion and drive in developing his quirky clothing. “This is a particularly hybrid collection that has a real innocence to it and I see David’s distinctive, playful and fun styling as something that will really catch the eyes of middle market UK heritage brands,” Mr Patel said.