‘Karina and I would probably spend the prize money on Uber trips to the nail salon,’ Natasha says unapologetically. After six weeks of hearing the Ab-Fab duo of Central Saint Martins compare whose nails look the most hideous on camera, I can justify their spending on mani-pedis. Angelica would also follow the self-love route and revive her vibrant red curls. 'I've been meaning to re-dye my hair- it's grown out!' The designers have worked tirelessly over the last six weeks to create a sustainable trio of garments that they hope Puma will swoon over. Here is what they have to say about the experience.
‘Usually, sustainability is just a topic of a lecture, but, for this project, we actually had the opportunity to research and use innovative materials, which is much more exciting and visual,’ Hana tells me. As for Natasha, the project was a crucial eye-opener to the repercussions of her chosen profession. ‘I didn’t realise the severe impact that the fashion industry has on the environment. You get taught a lot about recycling when it comes to food packaging but its a bit of a grey area when it comes down to clothes.’
Collaborative work, as trying as it can be to your friendships and emotional stability, has proven to be invaluable for the designers. ‘I learned so much from the group, whether it's colour aesthetic or even working and sewing knit, which I have never done before,’ Karina says. Natasha has a similarly positive outlook on the experience. ‘We express everything visually so it’s been interesting to have our imagination translated into words,’ Natasha refers to working with Fashion Communication students, Simone and Dayna.
To say the project has been smooth-sailing would only be true if looking through rose-rose-coloured glasses.‘It’s been a really difficult project because it is so hard to source the appropriate materials and you always have to make compromises on look versus texture. It makes you kind of hate sustainability but love it at the same time because you want to see the development in the industry,’ Natasha tells me. As for Karina, trying to communicate the significance of ethical practices within fashion has been the greatest challenge she encountered. ’Making people give a shit about the environment is so much harder than I expected,’ she says. However, financing the collection is a struggle that all of the designers, including the FC students can relate to. ‘We were looking into using Naturalprene, which is a sustainable alternative to neoprene, but it is just too expensive. A wetsuit would cost you £800,’ Karina explains.
Over the course of the project, their individual survival essentials have become very apparent. 'Money!' says Angelica. ‘I couldn’t live without bourbons,’ says Hana, which I can attest to. Working as a group has been as much of a test of will-power and diet discipline that is has been a test of our ability to cross-collaborate. A day did not pass without the generous offering of a delightful bourbon by biscuit aficionados, Aaron and Hana. 'A yoga mat for stress-relief meditation,' is Aaron's kit priority. Natasha, on the other hand, stays true to her English roots. ‘A Good old English Breakfast tea does it for me. I would prefer an afternoon blend with Earl Grey but it’s time dependent,’ she ponders. Karina prefers a treat with a little more kick to it. ‘Whisky on the rocks all the way,’ she laughs.