Earlier this year we were approached by Murray Uniforms’ head of design and Winchester School of Art alumna Ana Dieaconu with a wonderful brief for our Year 1 students to ‘take in’ the current situation and create a work-at-home menswear uniform.
The students were introduced to the science of enclothed cognition and asked to think about the influence clothes have on the wearer’s psychological processes. How can clothes influence someone’s productivity in their home environment?
This was a wonderful opportunity for the students to take a positive direction from the start of their design training in unprecedented circumstances. In addition to situating their ideas for a professional outcome the students focused on the importance of fabric choice, the influence of details and the significance of the wearer’s embodiment of the clothing.
An inspired range of approaches were taken including connecting with friends, family and strangers in order to gather insights on home working needs and issues. Students explored the wide range of inventive ways in which people have adapted their roles to work from home and the ergonomic and comfort requirements the come with working more prolonged hours at a desk – or laptop on the sofa.
The opportunity was also a competition, the winner and runner up of which received cash prizes and mentoring advice from Murray Uniforms’ head of design Ana. On this Ana stated “Murray Uniforms firmly believe that the education sector is a hive of great ideas, ambition and forward thinking and we want to align ourselves with such thinking, which is why Murray support me in creating opportunities for students.“
Winner: Jasmine Aldridge
Jasmine’s collection ‘Off the Cuff’ took a broader overview of working at home men and blurred the lines between casual and corporate wear so that the transition from bedroom to boardroom can be taken in a few steps. As comfort with a sense of professionalism is key, Jasmine kept formal and (screen) visible elements such as collars, set in pockets and buttons in play whilst adding elasticated trims, drawstring waists and an overall relaxed fit. It is the little details such as a twisted trouser seam for a comfortable sitting position and low profile padded sleeve panels for at a desk working that set this collection apart and offer a difference.
Runner up: Zia Xinyi Zhang
Inspired to dress the array of male makeup artists who have switched to online as an alternative route to style their clients Zia designed functional, easy to wear mix and match outfits with a twist. Through the process Zia explored the full ergonomic movement of the wearer to build ease into tight fitting pieces and marry this with loose fitting stylish Japanese inspired items to create a collection with some drama. in addition to comfort and movement the key consideration for fabric was the wash or wipe down of make-up stains.
Overall, this was a wonderful opportunity for all students and we welcome Ana’s vision to “collaborate and support students as much as I can to ensure they have a great start and a strong, diversified portfolio when applying for new jobs.“