UK Student Design Competition People’s Choice Winner 2023: Arianna Stapley

People's Choice Winner: Arianna Stapley

UK Student Design Competition People’s Choice Winner 2023: Arianna Stapley

25th October 2023

Arianna, a BA Fashion Design graduate from Kingston School of Art, recently completed her final collection. Growing up in Bermuda, Arianna was heavily influenced by the local culture alongside her Scottish heritage. Artistic expression has always been a key part of her identity and has become a perfect outlet for communicating her creativity while exploring societal issues and personal views. Testing new artistic skills is a key part of Arianna’s fashion creation process, including leather wet forming, hand knitting, hand embellishment, print design, jewellery making, and working with experimental textiles.



Tell us about the inspiration behind your project:

Inspired by the film Alien and the life of eccentric brothel owner Cynthia Payne, the HOUSEKEEPING collection explores themes of gestation, birth, and the suffocating societal pressures of domesticity and motherhood faced by femme presenting people and/or those who menstruate. The Giger Coat was inspired by dominatrix ‘wipe-clean’ outerwear, H.R. Giger’s bio-mechanical fertility artwork, and his set design for Alien. The oversized, masculine cut and fabrication of the coat layered over delicate pleated chiffon undergarments represents the overbearing masculine presence in female reproductive rights. The jacket is hand-embellished ‘leaking’ pearl pendants, repurposed from pearl necklaces, symbolising uncontainable feminine resistance. The design and creation of this piece were very personal to me and allowed me to explore new techniques and expand my skillset. I hope this piece and the overarching theme of my collection is able to provoke discussions and encourage everyone who sees it to continue the fight for reproductive rights for all. Reproductive rights are the cornerstone of autonomy, dignity, and equality, affirming every individual’s right to make decisions about their own bodies, lives, and futures.



What has been your experience in working with leather for this competition?
I really enjoyed working with leather and as part of my collection separate to this piece I explored wet forming which I found very exciting and has inspired me to pursue accessory design and footwear. I found working with real leather really interesting as it requires different care and techniques to many other fabrics I have worked with and I really enjoyed learning a new craft.

How do you think winning this competition will impact your career as a designer?
The exposure from winning such a well-respected design competition will hopefully mean my work is seen by a wider range of viewers and could possibly help me launch my career in the fashion world.

How has this competition influenced your view of working with leather in the future?
This competition has encouraged me to view leather in a more sustainable way and see the possibilities of utilising it in my future design work.



Click here to learn more about the UK Design Competition.

Click here to learn more about leather and sustainability.