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Ducking and dyeing, weaving and dealing - fashion students are on a roll

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Published on 21 November 2019

Student visit to Sam Weller
Student visit to Sam Weller

Specialist cotton weaver Sam Weller has given design students from the University of Sunderland an insight into the day-to-day processes of the fashion trade.

The Fashion Design & Promotion students visited the Yorkshire-based weaver’s premises as part of its ongoing collaboration between the University and textile brand.

Now in its second year, the collaboration has seen Sam Weller donate over 174 metres of fabric to date to the design department.

The partnership allows students to create their Year 2 project designs from genuine, locally-sourced British fabric, inspiring the next generation of designers to support British manufacture with their creative vision.

Sam Weller’s head of weaving Paul Townend welcomed the group with an interactive workshop, demonstrating the theory behind weaving with a range of simplified pattern diagrams including a plain weave, twill variations and hopsack.

The visitors were then given a tour of the mill, where they benefitted from a hands-on demonstration of some of Sam Weller’s 27 looms.

The tour closed with a presentation of six qualities of fabric, including a unique roll of “Sunderland cord” woven specifically for the students on a bespoke basis.

The students will now follow in the footsteps of their predecessors, creating two full outfits from the fabric for a fashion show to be held in spring next year.

“It really was an incredible day for the students, and an invaluable insight into the real fashion industry within which they will hopefully forge their careers,” says Fashion Design & Promotion’s programme leader Jayne Smith.

“We all gained such a lot from the knowledge and we are so very grateful for their continued sponsorship of the Year 2 fashion project.”

The students’ designs will be unveiled in their entirety at the University’s CitySpace in June next year.