Incorporation of Tailors Prize

Fashion Design School of Design

Lisa Manastireanu

Lisa manastireanu

A New Life

In a society powered by consumerist culture – focused on celebrating the new and moving on from the old –  we often forget to appreciate the value of the many things we already have. This was the main takeaway from the re-exploration of my Romanian heritage and the rediscovery of my ancestral traditions. For my final collection, revisiting the lessons I subconsciously learned from my Romanian family’s approaches to fashion allowed me to find a deeper context to my interest in the fashion industry – a realisation reinforcing the “why” in my approaches and construction processes. Sustainability has always been at the forefront of my interest in fashion, but it wasn’t until I interviewed my grandparents that the reasoning for this became clear. Both of my great grandmothers were tailors and seamstresses, almost entirely making my grandparents’ clothing from scratch or deconstructing and altering what they already had. This display of resourcefulness was in fact a standard practice in the working class regions my family originate from; rather than practicing sustainability for the motive of social awareness, these practices were all they knew and became ingrained in everyday life. These ideas were passed down through generations – my grandmother even up-cycling furniture to give it “a new life” – ultimately reaching me without even realising it.

My recent visit home to Romania served as a great source of inspiration for my research. Taking a colour palette from photos I took of the surrounding environment and silhouette inspiration from garments my family members wore in old photographs (most of which they made themselves.) Beyond this, I gained a great deal of inspiration from the traditional “popular costume” styles from the region I come from specifically. Visiting the local museum exhibit of national dress allowed me to gain first hand garment research while learning about the historical context of the garments and the practical aspects of the design features. I want to bring these ideas forward into my current life in the UK, incorporating some of the traditional Romanian details with elements of western fashion, signifying the progression of my upbringing in rural Romania to my new life in Scotland. Rather than simply revisiting the past, I want to reinvent and incorporate elements of the past with new ideas in order to create a unique collection with an innovative perspective.

I created a six look menswear collection, incorporating hand smocking and embroidery techniques from Romanian popular costume, silhouette details and shaping from family archives and combining this with elements of a typical British wardrobe. I made use of donated fabrics where possible and deconstructed second hand garments to create several of my looks in order to incorporate the practices learned from my grandmothers, keeping some details and finishings from the original pieces to add a unique element to the garments.

Lisa manastireanu