No S*** Sherlock

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Meet Emma Sherlock, St. Andrews’ only finalist in this year’s Alfa Romeo Young Designer Competition, as part of this year’s FS. Emma is no stranger to the show, she featured as a student designer in FS 2010 – with an Edward Degas inspired ‘Ballet Collection’ that saw exquisite designs that were executed in billowing voile, lace and net to create an ethereal theme that oozed girly make-believe.

This year, FS, in association with Alfa Romeo, upped the anti and made the search for new talent -the student designer competition-nationwide. Incredibly, the competition received entrants from as far as Milan, Madrid and New York. From over fifty applicants, Emma was picked as one of the finalists, the only person from St. Andrews to qualify. With no formal training (and whilst managing to keep on top of an Art History degree) Emma acquired her skills the hard way, bringing an artistic creativity to her style that makes it distinctive.

The look for this collection is far bolder in terms of design and colour compared to the ‘Ballet Collection’. The intricate delicacy and focus on pastel shades has been replaced with far more risqué designs and an array of brighter tones. Under the Alfa Romeo brief, Emma was asked to create designs that epitomised what she felt the brand represented. Cars and Fashion don’t seem synonymous at first but Emma recognised the design ethos of car manufacturing and took it upon herself to embrace the ‘curves’ and acknowledge the ‘movement’.

Colour-wise, Emma describes the collection as a “bit garish at times” – garish of course being the very look that has dominated so many of the S/S 2011 collections. She also discussed how she wanted to create pieces that were accentuated by movement, that is, her garments don’t just look good when on a hanger, but are brought to life when worn swishing down the runway; not unlike a car best seen cruising at full speed down a preferably, empty highway. Emma has chosen to mix colours through the layering of materials, and she described how she used the ‘body as a palette’, where opposite colours were overlaid until an ‘ultimate colour’ is achieved.

Her ideology is impressive. When I asked Emma if she designed to suit current trends, she told me that she makes clothes that she thinks ‘will work’, rather than trying to emulate the looks she sees on the runway. Despite prioritising what she likes and how it works with the body, Emma still manages to capture the moods of this season through flowing designs as seen in the reinvention of 70s trends, neon and an inscrutable attention to detail.

As St. Andrews’ only finalist in the competition, Emma’s work is representing the University at our own fashion show. Competing against applicants from fashion colleges, Emma has worked independently without the support of an art let alone a fashion department. If you are attending FS, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for what is set to be a totally refreshing, bold and focused collection. For those of you not indulging in the event, Emma Sherlock is a name to watch out for.

Ruby Munson-Hirst

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