UON's student’s award-winning fashion designs inspired by “legends whispered in my home village”

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Excitement has been building ahead of the University of Northampton’s final-year catwalk couture show for one creative student, whose award-winning designs have landed in the UK from Italy.

Final-year Fashion Design student, Maria Macedo has turned the page on contemporary fashion by designing fairy tale-inspired textiles as part of the GFF x Kornit Digital Printed Fashion Textile Competition, shooting her shot at one of only three winning places.

The competition invited students to create textile designs which breathe new life into second-hand collections and play their part in shaping the future of sustainable fashion. The top three chosen designs will feature on the Graduate Fashion Week 2024 ‘Best of Show’ catwalk later this year.

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Inspired by the rich folklore of Portuguese witches, Maria’s designs have been selected as one of only eight collections shortlisted for the next round of judging by Graduate Fashion Foundation and Kornit Digital, an international manufacturer which specialises in printing clothing garments.

UON student, Maria Macedo holds up her final-year fashion fabrics.UON student, Maria Macedo holds up her final-year fashion fabrics.
UON student, Maria Macedo holds up her final-year fashion fabrics.

On entering the competition, Maria explains: “I was overwhelmed and full of joy when I hear my name announced as one of the eight finalists. It was a moment of personal and professional triumph, and made all of the dedication and creativity which I poured into my work worth it.

“My final collection draws on legends whispered in my home village and centre around ‘Brixhina’, an affectionate nickname given by my family to our folklore around witches. My collection embodies the mystique and intrigue of these tales.

“The designs are a modern interpretation of witchcraft's lore, integrating the stories of 'The Witches Meetings,' 'Married Witches,' and other enchanting elements into each piece. The colour palette, inspired by Arthur Rackham's illustrations in 'Grimm's Fairy Tales,' reflects warm, earthy tones that evoke an ancient, mystical atmosphere.

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The designs will soon be sent to London for the second round of judging, after which three winners will be selected to present their designs during Graduate Fashion Week 2024 in June.

Maria's designs based upon the folklore of Portugese witchesMaria's designs based upon the folklore of Portugese witches
Maria's designs based upon the folklore of Portugese witches

On the experience of entering the competition, Maria explains: “I was immensely proud of my final designs (though I always believe there is room for improvement). Each design represents a journey through heritage and imagination, culminating in a piece that tells its own story through print and pattern. The pride comes not just from the visual appeal, but also from the narrative each garment carries.

“My designs represent a fusion of traditional handcrafts, dyeing processes, and creative stitch textiles blended with the digital printing techniques provided by Kornit. They will play a pivotal role in my final year collection to be showcased both at the UON Degree Show, as well as the national Graduate Fashion Week catwalk in London. I can’t wait to see my collection showcased on both catwalks in June!”

Maria’s printed textiles will be showcased within the entrance space to Graduate Fashion Week 2024, with the final judging expected to take place next month ahead of Graduate Fashion Week on Monday 10 June.