Menswear designer Hannah Wallace combines sub-culture with science and technology

Hannah Wallace's first project, Dark Clash, focused on the secret police in Russia.

Manchester School of Art student Hannah Wallace aims to ‘touch upon discovery, change, conflict, uprising, progression, innovation and protection’ with a collection of riot-inspired astronaut suits that won her the prestigious Gold Award at Graduate Fashion Week. With previous winners including Christopher Bailey, Matthew Williamson and Stella McCartney, she is off to a good start.

What was your first project?
Hannah Wallace: I’ve been studying fashion for 6 years now so I have many projects, but my first Menswear project was in 2012 as part of a live brief of a trend forecasting company in Nottingham called the Trend Boutique. The outcome, Dark Clash, focused on the secret police in Russia, I also researched into transparency through buildings and architecture and mental health.

Where does your inspiration come from?
I find the many practicalities of men’s garments intriguing, as there are many functional attributes that can be developed and manipulated in their clothing.

What’s your design process? 
I’m really technical and work in 3D throughout my design process. I like to work with sampling techniques, in fabrics and on the real scale. It helps me move forward with my designs. I start with a concept, often influences by a mixture of culture and arts.

What is your graduate collection about?
The uprising of rioters against the government and astronauts have inspired my collection, especially the protective layers that are necessary to both. I thought of them as second skins. I have used a vast variation of research to develop a collection made with insulating as well as breathable fabrics that enable flexibility and capacity in construction. My research is individually translated through design methods such as digital prints, scale and construction. With a combination of subculture, science and engineering, the pieces individually recreate significant rebellions throughout history and touch upon discovery, change, conflict, uprising, progression, innovation and protection. The courage and freedom in which a rioter possesses have influenced my eccentric designs.

Pluto Close is the name of your brand. How did you come up with it?
It was taken from a block of maisonette flats on a council estate. I chose the name because Space and Astronomy were one of many initial concepts so the connection was inexorable. I also wanted to reflect residential areas which were notorious for rebellions and upheaval within my research. The digital prints, logos and silhouettes in my collection have been inspired by the scale and layout of the architecture on the estate.

What are you planning to work on next?
I’m working on a project for a Competition in China, I’m hoping to go out there for work too!

City of residence Leicester, England          
Age 25
Education BA Hons Fashion, Manchester School of Art, UK
Collaborations For the lookbook, photoshoot and logo, I worked with Matt Smith, a graphics student that also went to Manchester school of art.  
Follow your instincts! Always.  
Favorite quote ‘Believe you can and you’re halfway there’ – Theodore Roosevelt
Best advice received Not to give up on my degree, as it was such a struggle sometimes!
Best tip for designers I would say, if you’re passionate about your work and vison then keep doing what you love because that drive will take you places.
Three things every designer needs Patience, drive and resilience against criticism.   
First design that inspired you I originally designed womenswear but the first menswear design I remember seeing where from Juun. J and Yohji Yamamato.

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