A Pair of Star-Crossed Lovers | Fashion, Textiles & Storytelling

For this project, students put a spin on something beautifully written, endlessly reinterpreted one stitch at a time.

Everyone tells stories. Ancient Greek myths and the fairy tales of our childhood taught us how to relate to certain values and how the impact of stories shapes our lives. So, when fashion designers and brands use these very same narratives, they become storytellers and clothes come to life.

A designer using storytelling as inspiration is the first step in forging the connection between the consumer and an individual piece of apparel. Recognising a character or a story in the details of a garment attracts a consumer immediately before they even decide whether they truly like the garment in full. When storytelling in fashion is done right, it opens up a whole world of creativity.

Just like timeless stories, fashion can create influences, and characteristics and illustrate certain values to escape the mundane. Clothes can become the door for an audience to experience alternate realities. Where there is fantasy, there can be fashion.

This project in most of its parts is about reinvention, interpretation and storytelling using fashion as the platform.

Textiles Workshop

Mentored By: Jennifer Barrett – Fashion Mentor, Charlotte Liddle – Textiles & Craft Mentor, Co-Founder of Pimms & Needles

Project Contributors: Melanie Kyles – Hand Embroidery Specialist with a focus on Sustainability in Fashion, Dr Emma Whipday – Lecturer in Renaissance Literature at Newcastle University

The Brief:

This project will appeal to those who enjoy getting hands-on with the making part of the fashion process. Students were challenged to use the famous piece, ‘Romeo & Juliet’, as inspiration for their work – researching and exploring parts of the story which resonated with them to create a customised panel of fabric for a top-secret finished garment.

They used techniques such as embroidery, hand and machine sewing, applique, and embellishment to personalise their panel. Their panel would be unique to them and their own personal representation of the story, but it will be sewn together along with those panels from other students to reveal one final exciting garment.

The Process:

As part of the TICE experience, students were encouraged to share some ‘behind the scenes’ footage of them working on their projects. Take a look.

Project Results:

Please view the final results of the students’ work from Sacred Heart Catholic High School, Marden High School, Longbenton High School, John Spence Community High School, Royal Grammar School, Newcastle and St. Mary’s Catholic School.

Romeo & Juliet Design One:

Top by: Polly Hay, Josie Bowmaker, Hollie Mills & Ankitha Ramesh from Marden High School. Ann Payyanad from Sacred Heart Catholic School.

Skirt by: Meghna Mukesh, Isobel Hodgson, Chioma Onyebuchi, Ellie Warren, Aida Mohd Faez, Mia Cuthbertson, Nylah Thompson, Ayesha Premchand and Silvia Mosquera from Royal Grammar School, Newcastle.

Romeo & Juliet Design Two:

Top by: Lily Gardner, Katie Widdows and Shelbi Walker from Burnside College. Lauren Howorth from Longbenton High School.

Skirt by: Lily Dadswell from Longbenton High School. Amy Cockerill and Chloe Bowman from John Spence Community High School. Georgia McDonnell, Lily Middleton, Sylvie Newton and Hannah Swinhoe from St. Mary’s Catholic High School.

What did the students think of their TICE experience?

Textiles Workshop

Please tell us your chosen project and why you chose this one…

As part of the TICE project, I have chosen the Romeo & Juliet project as I felt that I could learn new skills that I previously had not mastered. Two factor that persuaded me to take part in this project was my interest towards storytelling and my passion to learning stitching. These factors drew me towards the Romeo & Juliet project and I feel proud of my decision as I have learnt a lot of new skills. Above all, I am grateful for all the support and effort that the TICE team have put in as this has made this project even more enjoyable. So thank you!” Ankitha, Marden High School.

Was there anyone or anything that inspired you on this project?

I really loved the interview with Dr Emma Whipday (Newcastle University) from the Romeo and Juliet section. I found what she said to be really interesting and thought-provoking, especially about religion and Juliet’s comparison to the virgin Mary. It really helped me come up with so many more ideas when watching the film and reading the book.” Hannah, St. Mary’s Catholic School.

What do you think you will take away from doing this project?

From this project, I am going take my newly developed skills such as stitching. As I have gained a lot of skills, I feel like the most important skill that I will take further take is determination. Throughout the project, I have learned to stay positive and determined as I pushed myself to complete each project well within time. This, I feel, will help me in workplaces and in school, thus making me a better person.” Ankitha, Marden High School.

I learnt patience and time management as I had to get things done off a certain deadline and I learnt that to do something I am happy with it takes time and patience but it is worth the wait.” Lily, Longbenton High School.

What do you feel you have personally achieved in completing this project?

I feel I have personally achieved the ability to have an idea and translate it well. To explain, I often have a lot of ideas, whether it be in lessons like English Literature are this project, but I often have a hard time getting them down. I feel like sewing my ideas rather than writing them taught me a whole new skill set, to be able to translate ideas in a way without words but so people can still understand. I feel like this will help with day-to-day communication skills.” Hannah, St. Mary’s Catholic School.

Thank you and well done, not only to the students but to the teachers and staff at Sacred Heart Catholic High School, Marden High School, Longbenton High School, John Spence Community High School and St. Mary’s Catholic School. A huge thank you to North Tyneside Learning Trust and the companies that have supported and contributed to this project, and the TICE team that plugged away at the project week after week.

To the students – we hope you have enjoyed this project, we hope in years to come that you can proudly present an industry written project you did, achieved, quite frankly smashed. Well done and congratulations from everyone here at TICE.