How our mission brought us to the London College of Fashion
I have recently completed a course at the London College of Fashion, where I specialised in Activewear and Athleisure design. The mission of Rue Franklin is to bring art to life. Activewear seemed like the perfect fit for making this mission a reality. Taking art off the walls and into LIFE. Below are some of the details and inspirations for the collection:
Bring Art to Life: Of course the genesis for this whole endeavour was to “bring art to life”. I love the joy and conversation that art sparks, and I wanted to bring it more into our everyday. The best way for me to take the art off the walls and into our daily lives was to incorporate it with fashion. And what kind of fashion are we all living in? Working in? Exercising in? Grabbing coffees in? Activewear! It was a natural fit. I found the London College of Fashion were running courses specific to this space - a reflection of the immense growth of the activewear sector. It also was an acknowledgement that the fabric and design details of activewear are a unique form of design, one that needs to incorporate movement, stretch and practical use. It was the perfect course for me to bring the two worlds together.
Bold Neutrals: My design board focused on this juxtaposition of “bold neutrals”. Having staple everyday pieces in wearable colours, but that had a KICK to them. They had a subtle pop, a nod to being more than a black pant or a sweatshirt. They were wearable art, muted enough to wear everyday but fun enough to be “instagramable”. I really love this concept, and it truly did drive the collection to create looks and designs that are both practical and fun.
Sports Soiree: While my base-layers focused on form, fit and functionality, the outer pieces brought a bit more glam. I LOVE city living, but the realities of living in a large metropolis are that often when you leave your apartment in the morning you have to be ready for WHOLE day. This meant I would leave the house with a big gear bag so I could manage to get in a morning exercise class, change into my work clothes with commuter flats, arrive at the office for a day of work, and then out for after work events and drinks. There’s no option to pop home in between, and the fear of missing out is real. I wanted to create a capsule collection that could bring you from day to night with ease, where fabrics were anti-wrinkle, anti-bacterial and could easily be dressed up or down. I’ve managed to achieve all these elements, and even when creating tech and marketing packs I included 4-5 different ways to style each piece to match various activities through the day.
Fabulous Fabrics: Last but not least, my newest love: FABRICS. There are so many amazing fabrics out there. Within the activewear space there is a big focus on synthetic fabrics. This is understandable, it is for the specific qualities of stretch and sweat-wicking, their ability to mould to the body and they are what we think of when we think of activewear - lycra, spandex, polyester and so on. What is less discussed is that in many cases you can recycle all these materials and they will still retain these qualities. However, many brands don't do this. Don't let their marketing fool you! I have opted for a fully sustainable source of fabrics wherever possible. Where synthetics are used, they are recycled versions. Where natural fabrics are used, they are organic. Where we have the chance to spin our own yarns we have incorporated Icelandic seaweed which provides anti-inflammatory properties and vitamin E for your skin. If its removable, it’s also biodegradable (I’m looking at you, bra pads!).
I am so excited to start engaging with manufacturers. I am primarily looking at the USA (if you know...you know) for manufacturing and production, with fabrics sourced from Italy, Portugal and the USA.
It has been a baptism of fire, but such fun in bringing this to life. I would love to know what parts of the process you would like me to focus on next!