Fashion Design School of Design

Rose Davenport


I am a knitwear designer whose work is grounded in my Scottish heritage. My work returns to natural materials and century old techniques for a complete sustainable process; From farm to garment. I work primarily on double bed Dubied knitting machines from a range of 2.5 gauge heavy knit all the way through to the fine 12 gauge. The silhouette research always begins from my own wardrobe in an effort to create a balance of theatric and wearable styles. Faileas has been a complete education and a huge step forward for my craft as I strive to take these  natural processes further into my work post Glasgow School of Art.

FAILEAS: The Hands My Mother Gave Me

FAILEAS: The Hands My Mother Gave Me

“Faileas:  The Hands My Mother Gave Me” is a love letter to Scotland’s richest heritage, and my commitment to a craft that’s been woven into my bloodstream by centuries of Scottish women.

A desire to connect with generational traditions led this project to natural fibres and the complete sustainable process: farm to garment. Physically intertwined in Faileas is wool from Olive the sheep, who belongs to my friend’s mother – an Aberdeenshire Shepherdess.

I’ve examined, mirrored and fallen in love with archival film of carding, spinning and knitting raw fleece, and had it refined by experience of weavers and farmers I grew up with. My yarns are completely deadstock and sourced almost entirely from my home, The Scottish Borders.

I wanted to reinforce the fact that historically, internal production was a necessity to communities; an art form that lives depended on. Nowhere was this so true than the highlands. I drew inspiration from our landscapes to card, hand spin and knit robust structures with delicate silks flowing through rugged fleece.

Faileas is skin of mine and the landscape. It is powerful, unpredictable, even an education, but, above all, it’s romance with women I’ve never met and the women who made me.

Primary research imagery

Highland Atmosphere

On the left is a portrait of my Grandmother in the Highlands, pregnant with my Uncle, taken from my Grandad's slide collection. On the right is a personal shoot in Tarbart, Loch Lomond researching atmosphere
Colour research from primary imagery

Magic Wellie Boots

Olive the sheep and the processing of her fleece to be used in Fails

Olive The Sheep

Olive's fleece was the building blocks of this project. I learnt to scour, wash and dry her fleece in order to incorporate it into my knitwear
Research and practice of process inspired by traditional Scottish techniques of knitting with raw fleece

Liza Sutherland And Her Family

Liza Sutherland, her Aunt and mother carding, spinning and knitting raw fleece in Shetland around 1907 taken from the SCRAN Archives on Scotland at work. Matched with my own process using the same techniques 117 years later.
Colour research board

Johnstone Tartan

Colour palette taken from my brothers and I on holiday up north with our clan tartan; The 'Johnstone' Tartan
Sampling and contextual research

Knit Sampling

12G and 3G Dubied knit samples mimicking the contrasting dramatics of the Highland landscapes.
Drape work and contextual research

Drape Work

Researching my own wardrobe to drape inspired by my contextual research.
Look one illustration and exploded spec drawing

The Woolie Jumper

Look one illustration, knit samples, colour palette and exploded specification drawing.
final images of look one

The Woolie Jumper - Final Images

3Gauge knitted jumper with raw fleece inlayed into the knit paired with a fine 12Gauge silk skirt all made from completely dead stock cashmere and silk.
Drape work for look two

Wardrobe Research

Wearing my own wardrobe in new ways to inspire silhouettes.
look two illustration, sampling and toile

Development of Toni's Dress

drape work through to sampling used for final dress. Illustration and toile follow.
12Gauge knit development

12Gauge Knit Development

Process from draping samples to linking panels together. Imagery from my primary research informing the colours of Toni's dress. It is a part of the skin of the landscape.
Final images of look two

Toni's Dress

Final images of Toni's second skin silk dress made of 100% headstock silk and organzine. Styled with my Woolie Bonnet and Woolie socks both made from 100% headstock cashmere and raw sheep fleece sourced from Toni Dawson; seen here modelling.
Look three primary research, contextual and drape work

Catherine's Dress Research

Collection of Primary research including personal shoot in Tarbart, Loch Lomond and experimenting wearing my wardrobe unconventionally.
Look three final samples and illustration along with initial drape and toile.

Catherine's Dress Development

Final samples for Catherine's dress include 2.5Gauge dubied samples with raw fleece inlayed trapped into the knit along with 12Gauge fine silk knits. The final illustration and initial drape and toiles can be seen on the right.
Look Three sample development and drape work

Catherine's Dress Creation

Insight into heavy gauge knitting with the raw fleece trapped into the knit to create a weave like fabric to be wrapped around the body and secured by hand stitching and traditional kilt pins.
Catherine's dress final images

Catherine's Dress

Final images of Catherine's dress including a fine gauge silk top paired with a robust 2.5gauge knit skirt with Olive's raw fleece trapped into the knit. All made with completely dead stock cashmere and silk.