Katherine Dalton’s Degree Show collection is inspired by women, and their experiences and stories.
In autumn last year, she asked her female friends and family to share with her an experience that should could use as the foundation of her work. Her brief to her contributors was open: they could share any personal experience, positive or negative, but it had to be given to Katherine on one sheet of A4 paper.
Most women responded in writing, either handwritten or in type. But a few others told their stories in different ways, including one spider diagram and various drawings, both abstract and representative in nature.
Katherine says, “I wanted to collect stories from women of all ages and I asked them to share with me anything they wanted to tell. The range of experiences was incredible, with topics including body image, dating apps and the negative connotations of being a strong woman, to name a few.”
The output of this body of research is a series of zines. Using Riso printing, drawing and collage techniques, the zines are a distillation of her project and are an insightful read. Quotes include, “Don’t Size Me Up”, “Stop Scrolling”, “Over Sharer” and “A Library of Men”.
Katherine’s design practice and her final year dissertation have been informed by books such as Feminists Don't Wear Pink (and other lies) by Scarlett Curtis, and Riot Grrrl, the international underground feminist movement that emerged from the West Coast American alternative and punk music scenes of the 1990s. Her dissertation on the role of politically and socially designed wearables within the Women’s Suffrage Movement in the UK and comparative contemporary culture has also provided food for thought and a critical background to her design practice.
“My main theme - women and female experience - is one that I’ve been interested in throughout my time at ECA. My final year has allowed me to fully explore how I can use direct research from the women who inspire me to influence my design work.”
Designing for contemporary fashion, Katherine’s collection incorporates print with tactile elements such as embroidery, flock and foil. Her designs, on print and on paper, are bold and colourful, using colour separations to maintain a collaged aesthetic.
“I wanted to make a collection emphasising that design can be bright, playful and sparkly whilst still pushing a powerful message with real purpose. Design can be fun, empowering and inspiring at the same time,” she says.
Reflecting on her ECA experience, Katherine says her favourite thing about ECA has been the community within the ECA Textiles department. “Spending four years together with a small class in a small department has meant that we share and explore ideas together, and encourage and help each other. I enjoy coming into the studio to design in a supportive environment.”
Katherine has used her time during the summer holiday periods to complete a number of internships including with Bespoke Atelier in Glasgow, George at ASDA in Leicester and commercial print studio JRC in London. She says, “Interning has really helped me improve my digital design skills. I’m hoping to get a job as a print designer, but I’m excited to jump into anything.”