When itâ€™s cold and wet outside, one place to find some sunshine is Kingston University fashion student David Smithâ€™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, menâ€™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. â€œI wanted to give adults a second chance to recapture some of the energy and enjoyment we all once felt when growing up,â€ David said. â€œI 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 Shepherdâ€™s Bush Market, although it took him longer to find a website where he could buy waterproof materials at reasonable prices. â€œIâ€™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,â€ he said.
David admits that, looking back, his decision to study at Kingston was a wise one. â€œI 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 itâ€™s only half an hour away from London and potential work opportunities,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™ve learned a lot of new techniques on the course, especially as my collections cover such a wide range of garments.â€
No stranger to seeing his designs come to life on a model, one of Davidâ€™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. â€œThis is a particularly hybrid collection that has a real innocence to it and I see Davidâ€™s distinctive, playful and fun styling as something that will really catch the eyes of middle market UK heritage brands,â€ Mr Patel said.