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Kingston University designer's sustainable fusion of denim and African fabrics

13.06.2017

As we continue our Re-use/Re-life series, where we explore materials that are re-used or transformed in some way, we thought we'd take a closer look at how one Kingston University student has created sustainable pieces for Graduate Fashion Week.

Kasubika Chola has brought together second-hand vibrant African fabrics and oversized vintage denim jeans and jackets to create a new collection celebrating her mixed cultural heritage.

Her garments were selected by a panel of industry experts as among the best 25 on show at this year's event – with leading diversity campaigner and fashion icon Caryn Franklin even taking to the catwalk in one of her designs.

Fashion icon Caryn Franklin wearing one of Kingston University designer Kasubika Chola's looks on the runway at Graduate Fashion Week.jpg

Fashion icon Caryn Franklin wearing one of Kingston University designer Kasubika Chola's looks on the runway at Graduate Fashion Week

Having moved from Zambia to Wakefield in West Yorkshire with her mother and sister aged four, the BA(Hons) Fashion student told how she wanted to embrace both sides of her cultural heritage in her work.

"There's a lot of division in our society right now but I'm passionate about embracing those different to yourself," the 23 year old said. "I'm from two very different backgrounds, but love them equally. I'm proud of my Zambian heritage and proud to be from Yorkshire, part of the Western culture, as well."
One of Kingston University designer Kasubika Chola's looks on the catwalk at Graduate Fashion Week 1.jpg

One of Kingston University designer Kasubika Chola's looks on the catwalk at Graduate Fashion Week

Inspired by the work of British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare, African artist Momar Seck and the loose-fitting, wrap-around chitenge garments worn in traditional African dress, Kasubika has created a series of unisex garments for her final year collection, with both male and female models wearing her looks on the catwalk.

Cotton African shirts and dresses sourced from Brixton Market were cut and re-sewn to create new prints for sleeves, cuffs, collars and pockets. The garments were then combined with reworked denim dungarees and jeans, unpicked and then sewn together to create flowing new pieces.

One of Kingston University designer Kasubika Chola's looks on the catwalk at Graduate Fashion Week 4.jpg

One of Kingston University designer Kasubika Chola's looks on the catwalk at Graduate Fashion Week

With the fashion industry playing a crucial role in textile and surface design, it's interesting to see how students are repurposing materials, creating sustainable designs to be enjoyed now and in future.

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