We recently caught up with Kingston School of Art Fashion Design student Charlotte Turner – who featured Cutler and Gross sunglasses in some of the looks in her graduate collection lookbook and catwalk show - to talk sustainable fashion, generation Z and market stall traders.
Tell us a little about yourself and your career so far – when did you decide you wanted to get into fashion?
So, I’m a recent graduate from Kingston School Of Art in South London, here I studied my Fashion Design BA with a sandwich year. I’m originally from Brighton, so I think coming from a pretty creative place naturally lead me this way. During my placement year, I worked for a range of companies - Alice Temperley, C&A in Brussels and Adidas in Germany - where I learnt a bunch of skills, which definitely helped me in my third year.
My current BA collection “Turner’s Trading” is a tongue-in-cheek reflection of Generation Z’s obsession with fast fashion and online trading. I mainly got the idea from my little brother who sells his clothes online, so I think of him as a bit of a ‘Wheeler Dealer’. The idea for my collection just evolved from there and I focused on Generation Z as mini online market traders.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
Seeing my collection come together at my photoshoot was a pretty “wow” moment for me.
What was your favourite look from your recent graduate collection?
Look One, my oversized ‘Del Boy’ inspired coat. When someone puts it on, I want them to feel confident and sassy. I get such a great response when people wear it.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Central to my design process is creating visual stories through imagery: generating research through photography drives my process. Researching market traders allowed for analysis of their traditional working environment, directing my interest in exploring a workwear silhouette. I used fictional characters from movies or television to construct imagery. Del Boy from the British 80’s sitcom Only Fools and Horses
created a ‘Wheeler Dealer’ persona and this brought humour and nostalgia into the roots of my designs. Analysing jargon is a predominate theme within my work, being embedded within my design aesthetic. Depicting information from language can help create a powerful message. For example, the written language used by online traders on Depop can be similarly compared to the jargon shouted out by a market trader from their stall.
Do you have any fun projects coming up?
I don’t have anything specific planned, but I would really love to re-shoot my collection in a different location. I’m also thinking of making a few more leather jackets!
If you weren't in fashion, what would your Plan B career be?
That’s tricky, I think I’d still be doing something creative. Otherwise, I studied Law at college so that could also be my backup.
How do you relax in your spare time?
I like to be constantly active; I feel giving yourself an outlet other than fashion is greatly important. Exercise is something that works for me. I used to be an active rower on the university team, but since I got so busy I couldn’t train. I’d love to get back into that!
How would you describe your personal style?
Asking my friends, they said casual/cool. They also said I religiously wear polo necks! Which is true.
Most treasured/favourite item in your wardrobe?
A silk scarf my great Grandmother gave me when I was 15. I’d be so upset if I ever lost it.
Name 5 essential pieces of clothing for this summer?
Floaty midi Dress
What items do you feel are worth splurging on?
I think it undeniably important to teach and inform younger generations to shop sensibly and buy with the intention of quality over quantity. With that in mind, purchasing garments that will last longer are always worth splurging on. I’m not a fan of buying something to wear once or just because its ‘on trend’. The key message, really, is clothing should be cherished and never wasted.
What’s the best style advice you’ve received?
Quality over quantity, always.
Who is your style icon?
I don’t really really have one if I’m honest, but I’m really inspired by the creativity I see from Generation Z on Instagram. For example, kids like @gullyguyleo and @cocopinkprincess. I really apricate how they style themselves. I wish I was as creative with my clothing choices at their age. I actually wrote about both of them in my dissertation.
Where is your favourite place in London?
I can’t have one favourite place, so I’ll have to give you two. Borough Market as its filled with so many interesting people. I could sit there all day and people watch. The other would be Petersham Nurseries in Richmond. It’s so beautiful. When you’re there you no longer feel like you’re in London, plus I’m obsessed with buying plants so it’s great for that too.
What are your plans for the summer?
I’ve got a few holidays booked, I’m heading to Nice, Budapest and Munich to relax a little after that chaos of the last year. I’m also actively looking for jobs! I really want to get back into being creative as soon as possible!
Follow Charlotte @charlotteturnerdesign
Photographer : @richardxmensah @e_z_z_i_d_i_n
Models : @itssunnyliketheweather @iyamah_artist