Take the Air || Conspicuous Consumption

Students take inspiration from the history of leisurewear, and Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens to create their own athleisure collection.

Belsay Awakes is a £6million project delivered over three years (2020-23) aiming to transform a visitor’s experience at Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens. The project involves crucial conservation and redesign work, in addition to creating a new Wildman themed woodland play area, a new café, outdoor classroom, indoor education base, and fun trails around the grounds. Our students undertake this project to connect with Belsay and its history, and to see it through new eyes as it ‘awakes’.

In this Fashion project, students will learn about historical leisurewear and its evolution, the fashion industry, and the history of Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens. A place with Grecian architecture, a medieval castle, and thirty acres of enchanting gardens, this combination of stunning historical architecture and modern tastes and lifestyle is sure to create an outstanding athleisurewear collection.

Supported by: Belsay Hall, Castle & Gardens; English Heritage & The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Mentored by: Jennifer Barrett (Fashion)
Project Contributors: Kieran Donkin, CEO of Second Skin Studio & Leon Maurice, Senior Lecturer in Fashion Design & Marketing at Northumbria University.

Project Outline:
Lifestyle + Space = Fashion. Combining a modern lifestyle with a historical space? Now that’s where interesting fashion starts.

Fashion has changed drastically throughout the ages, and so have the styles considered appropriate for leisure time. Have clothing standards relaxed, or changed, and if so, how? Alongside exploring and researching fashion history and design, students for this Belsay Awakes Project will be given advice and support with fashion drawing, illustration, and graphics, alongside an optional trip to visit Belsay.

The culmination of this research and discovery will be the student’s creation of their own 6-piece gender-neutral athleisurewear collection and accompanying marketing materials, inspired by Belsay. 

The Brief:
Inspired by the 700-year-old history of Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens, students will create 6 garments for their athleisurewear collection. They will also design and illustrate accompanying marketing materials to promote their collection. With the ability to take inspiration from Grecian architecture, the history of the building’s inhabitants (from Victorian to Edwardian to Georgian), the sky is the limit for the first-ever clothing collections inspired by Belsay.

Project Results: Please view the final results of the students’ work from:


Artwork, Designs & Video by Aliyah Bruce from Royal Grammar School, Newcastle.
Artwork, Designs & Video by Amber Smith from Jesmond Park Academy.
Artwork, Designs & Video by Flo Elliot from Royal Grammar School, Newcastle.
Artwork, Designs & Video by Merryn Berry from Cardinal Hume Catholic School.
Artwork, Designs & Video by Nivedita Harikumar from Royal Grammar School, Newcastle.
Artwork, Designs & Video by Navya Saranga from Royal Grammar School, Newcastle.

Thank you & well done!

All we have left to say is thank you and well done, not only to the students but to the schools and teachers involved in the Belsay Awakes project at Cardinal Hume Catholic School, Kings Priory School, Royal Grammar School Newcastle, Jesmond Park Academy and Boldon School, to the parents who helped along the way, Belsay Hall, Castle & Gardens of course, who have supported and contributed to these projects 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 a cultural heritage project you did, achieved, quite frankly smashed. Well done and congratulations from everyone here at TICE.