A group of young Dundee mums are spending the Summer creating their own fashion line, inspired by V&A Dundee’s Night Fever: Designing Club Culture exhibition.
The eight women include four mums who have completed the inaugural Kindred Clothing course.
Run by local charity Front Lounge, Kindred Clothing takes learners through the key stages of the garment production process, while teaching practical fashion photography skills and techniques to present themselves, their stories and their clothes. Each element of the course is delivered by an experienced maker, with learners presenting a portfolio of their work at the end of the course. What makes Kindred Clothing unique is that it has childcare built into every aspect of it, allowing parents with young children to get involved.
The group are working within The Thomson Learning Centre of V&A Dundee every Friday until 6 August 2021, with both the venue and sewing equipment offered free of charge as part of V&A Dundee’s drive to work with and support various community groups in the city.
The group will also enjoy access to the sensational Night Fever: Designing Club Culture exhibition, inspiring them to create their very own clubbing garments or party outfits for their children.
Tracey Smith, Young People and Families Producer, V&A Dundee said, “Throughout lockdown, our priority was to continue to stay in touch with community partners and identify new pathways for collaboration. We are so happy to welcome our friends at Kindred Clothing back to V&A Dundee for their summer programme, and to share the resources, equipment and studio space we have so we can all work together to help inspire design thinking and creative experiences across our communities.”
The eight-week programme, led by Holly Stansfield, the Dundee designer behind up-and-coming fashion house Betty and Moira, is providing yet another opportunity for Kindred Clothing graduates Cerrys Duke, Chantelle Mayne, Chelsea French and Hannah Watson.
Also participating in this block are Maisie Farrer, Zoe Smith and Claudia Mensa. Zoe’s daughter Tilly Fox and son Nate Fox, and Claudia’s son Joseph Chalmers are also involved.
Aside from the V&A Dundee project, Cerrys Duke, Chantelle Mayne, Chelsea French and Maisie Farrer are currently working with a group of local businesses as interns, enabled by the UK Government Kickstart programme.
The six-month paid placements provide experience for the learners and support to the businesses themselves - namely Jo-Ami (Jolene Guthrie), Betty and Moira (Holly Stansfield), Andie (Gillian McIver), Isolated Heroes (Samantha Paton), KerrieAldo (Kerrie Alexander) and Dreamland Clothing (Ruby Coyne).
Chelsea French, 22-year-old Mum to three-year-old Kiera joined Kindred Clothing group during the Winter of 2018.
She said, “This new project at V&A Dundee is brilliant and the vibe of the Night Fever exhibition is really helping with our designs. It’s also great to be working away with the others and helping each other out as we go along.
“Kindred Clothing is giving me so many opportunities. I could never have imagined we’d be doing what we’re doing now. We’re just a few weeks away from graduating and my week is currently split between designing an outfit at V&A Dundee and working with three other businesses during the rest of the week! The Kickstart internship is my first job and just an amazing opportunity to work with real designers and makers, from cutting patterns and using new equipment like an Overlocker to making coats. At the start of the online Kindred Clothing course, I had no idea what I was doing but now we’re being taken more seriously and people are realising we have something to contribute. We’re also so lucky to be based in Dundee where there are so many creative businesses to help us learn.”
Meanwhile, 22-year-old Chantelle Mayne, Mum to Kayden, got involved with Kindred Clothing to ‘keep busy and make new mum friends’ but has since fallen in love with sewing.
Chantelle said, “Kindred Clothing has not only given me opportunities I would never have had, but a real passion for sewing and the chance to meet so many new people.
“I’m really enjoying the V&A Dundee project as it’s a chance to explore my creative side – I can’t wait to see all the final garments. Longer-term, I’m starting to see where this could go – Kindred Clothing is giving me the motivation, determination and drive to see a future for myself and consider setting up a business one day.”
Chika Inatimi, Project Leader, Front Lounge added, “This Summer workshop at V&A Dundee is just another amazing opportunity offered by Kindred Clothing and an example of what the next batch of recruits could be signing up for. Not only are some of them about to graduate with an SQA-approved qualification but they’re designing and making their own clothes within V&A Dundee and, simultaneously, gaining paid work experience within a local business. This is exactly what Kindred Clothing is all about – providing training, support and a qualification but also real-industry experience, mentorship and inspiration from those already working in fashion. The learners are gradually starting to see what their future could be, to realise their potential and think big. With some already on the brink of employment within the industry, we can’t wait to see where they go from here!”
The V&A Dundee sessions follow on from a previous Kindred Clothing block supported by the museum’s Learning team. Late last year, five students spent six weeks creating a 1960s style dress from scratch. Inspired by the Mary Quant exhibition, the dress was made with sustainable materials and guidance provided by V&A Dundee’s Learning team. The Stich School dress went on to be exhibited, as part of V&A Dundee’s Sewing Box for the Future exhibition.
V&A at Dundee will be an international centre of design for Scotland. It will celebrate Scotland's historic importance in design and host major exhibitions of outstanding design, helping people understand their own and others' cultural heritage.