“I have a lot of respect for the tutors in the Fashion Department who go to great efforts to push pupils in a supportive way. The University of Brighton encourages everyone to design in their own personal style, which means that collections are varied, and people have more of a personal connection to their work.”
The Hard Shoulder AW22 by Benjamin Richardson
Hi Benjamin – please tell us a bit about your work and your influences
“My interest in fashion stems from what it can tell us about each other and society, rather than the next trend. My designing process is personal, I like to engage with real people in the field, using street photography to learn about others and get inspired. Conflict is a trope in my design work, because I feel conflicted about the world. I grew up thinking everything just ‘is’ and the older I get, the more I question why.
“Asking ‘why?’ has pushed my work in a sustainable and confrontational direction. My graduate collection, which was entirely upcycled, contrasts odd visual references of ‘outsiders’ with conventional menswear staples and ubiquitous patterns and textures to create a sense of disconnection. Disconnected is how I feel the relationship is between new ideas, which are needed to break the mould, and existing conventions which are increasingly outdated.”
How have you found your course and time at Brighton?
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Brighton. I have a lot of respect for the tutors in the Fashion Department who go to great efforts to push pupils in a supportive way. The University of Brighton encourages everyone to design in their own personal style, which means that collections are varied, and people have more of a personal connection to their work.”
How did you choose your course – why did you choose to study fashion?
“I chose to study fashion simply because I like clothes, although now I am more deeply invested in Fashion generally, especially non-commercial street style. I chose my course because the idea of the creative content being integrated with business studies really appealed to me as well as the year out in industry. Both aspects really push you to consider life after university and prepare you for industry.”
What are your plans after graduation?
“In the coming months I will be setting up my own visible mending business, thanks to the integration of business studies as a part of my course. Visible mending is the act of repairing a piece of clothing in an obvious way that enhances the piece. This business venture aligns with my design ethos, as I can make my mark on pieces of clothing in a sustainable way and challenge the conventions of the fashion industry which for the most part lean towards unsustainable practice. I think that, as graduates, if we commit to only contributing to the parts of the fashion industry which are ethically and environmentally conscious, then we have the power to shape its future, instead of the other way round.”
Follow @bearthreadsvisiblemending on Instagram – contact Benjamin for help reviving the pieces which you quite rightly don’t want to let go!