Danielle Nevin – BA (Hons) Fashion Design @ Westminster
The first graduate to be interviewed for our Student Spotlight miniseries, Danielle Nevin completed her studies at Westminster, a university known for its distinctive fashion credentials – past alumni include Christopher Bailey, Claire Barrow and Liam Hodges. Her directional collection is inspired by traditional dress and riding.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a womenswear designer with a passion for tailoring, print and a keen attention to detail. On my placement year I worked for Thomas Tait, Hussein Chalayan, Topshop and Alexander Wang, and I like to work with leather and accessories. I find a lot of inspiration by going out and finding something – whether it be a painting or item of clothing – any item I feel I can create a story from.
Where did you get inspiration for your collection from?
Saddlery and the 18th-century riding habit. The majority of the collection was made from leather, canvas, wool and natural cotton, and a lot of pieces were painted with crackle paint. This paint became part of my research when I came across old 18th-century riding spats (a short cloth gaiter covering the instep and ankle), which had been covered in paint that had chipped off with age – I decided to recreate that in more of a dramatic way. My leather padding, buckles and straps with huge saddle stitching were all inspired by saddlery. The dresses and skirts were modified patterns of riding skirts from the 18th century; by adding rubber binding around the edge, it caused the fabric to drape in an interesting way.
What are the signature piece/pieces?
The tailored riding jacket with padded skirt and the high-neck coat with leather straps and skirt. These looks contained all the aspects of my research.
Describe your collection in five words.
Abstract, traditional, deconstructed, asymmetric, theatrical.
What kind of person do you have in mind when you’re designing?
I tend to think of an unusual muse when I design – I like to make up a story of what they are about and where they would live, what books they would read; It makes it easier for me. I always think of empowering women who aren’t scared to leave their house wearing something unusual or abstract.
What designers/labels do you most admire?
Yohji Yamamoto. I would love to work for him – the approach to his deconstructed, abstract styles that still retain tailoring and Japanese design aesthetics is phenomenal. I also really love McQueen, Chalayan and Thomas Tait.
What are your plans for the future?
I would like to work at least five years in the industry, ideally in Paris, and then set up my own label.