Claire McLachlan


Claire McLachlan, 24. The Royal College of Art. MA Constructed Textiles Graduate 2009.

– specialism: Knitwear / Textiles.


Design Background:

I did my BA at Glasgow School of Art. Last summer I did an internship at Cooperative Designs, I really enjoyed working in their studio.


What was the most valuable thing you learned before starting your education?

To talk.



My final collection focuses on structure inspired by the seeming weightlessness and power of dynamic architectural forms.




Where do you get inspiration from in general?

I love all things engineered, constructed and modular. I also enjoy illusions, optics, things that appear to be something else.


How is your process when you design?

I love taking photos so that is generally my starting point. I then look a little further into my subject matter, books, the internet etc. before working from and with the source material to generate ideas for both fabric and fashion.




What do you find most difficult about the design process?

I think it’s just waiting for the discovery, the moment that shapes the direction and eventual outcome of your project. Your working away on a series of ideas and some of them come together in a way that begins to explain what you were trying so say, from there it hopefully all falls into place.


What are your strengths?

I think attention to detail, line and form.


What are your weaknesses?

I still have lots to learn, there is always more, always the next thing. I hope to keep on learning and developing.


Describe your collection with three words?

Hard. Soft. Sculptural.


What techniques did you use:

The collection is all machine knitted using a range of gauges from 8gauge – 14gauge. A combination of materials, technique and tension were used to engineer fabric with certain properties, namely; memory, reactivity and self-supporting 3D form.




Do you have a technical or conceptual approach to designing?

A bit of both, the technical aids the conceptual.


Which garment was most difficult to make?

The strapless dress, it was a lot of knitting and very fiddly to finish.




Which garment took the longest to make?  

The strapless dress.


Which garment is your favorite?

I think the short Jacket, it was the last thing I finished.




What technique is your favorite?

I used different materials; leather, suede, latex, to bond and finish the edges.


How long did you work on this project?

6 months


Is there something you regret not doing in your collection?

I would have liked to do one really extreme show-piece, the collection became more wearable than I imagined at the beginning.


What made you pursue knitwear?

Knitwear is the ultimate form of creativity and expression for me. You are simultaneously creating fabric and fashion and able to work in a tactile and 3d way.


What designers inspire you?

McQueen, Chalayan, Alaia, Cooperative Designs, Louise Goldin.


Which designer would you like to work for in the future?

The list is endless. 




Why did you choose The Royal College of Art?

I chose the RCA because I wanted to move to London and go to this prestigious school; the only solely postgraduate school of art and design in the world. I liked the sound of the course and the facilities available.


What did you think of the education?

It has been a great experience educationally and have met lots of brilliant people.


During your education, which project has been your favorite?

My final project, because I was able to see it through to a fully realized conclusion.


How is the school?

I have learned a lot at the RCA, it has really compounded my skills and broadened my understanding of the industry and my position within it. The technicians are great, invaluable actually and the facilities are good. The studio, though a bit cramped, has a great atmosphere. I miss it already!


What advice would you give new students?

To listen and take on board all the advice you are given, by tutors, visiting tutors and fellow students, but ultimately learn to be your own tutor. Trust yourself and your decisions it’s your work after all. 




Which fellow students would you like to highlight?

Heather Orr, a fellow RCA graduate and Knit lover. Heather’s final collection of menswear knits was fresh, exciting and pushed the boundaries of knitwear, especially within a menswear context. Her approach to design is bold, fun and always eye-catching. 


Why do you want to be a designer?

That’s a difficult question. Can’t quite find the words. I love to develop and create ideas, and eventually physical interpretations of those ideas.


What was your childhood dream job?

To make things.


Have you ever been nominated or won a design competition?

I won, in conjunction with two fellow RCA students a capsule collection project for the high street store Oasis. A limited edition run of our collection was produced and sold in Oasis flagship stores Christmas season 2008.

For my undergraduate degree (2007) I won the Newbery Medal, awarded to Glasgow School of Art’s top graduating student and New Designer of the Year – Runner Up at New Designers, Business Design Centre.




What are your plans for the future?

I now plan to gain employment within the industry, though the formation of a label in partnership with a friend and fellow RCA graduate may be in the pipeline for the future…


Will you be selling your MA collection?

The pieces may be developed for sale. Please contact me with any enquiries.


Contact info:


RCA Show Catalogue 2009

Website on the way


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Join Spot On: Textiles on Facebook and keep yourself updated!

    Spot On: Textiles on Facebook

    This blog contains copyright material belonging to the designers and nothing must be copied or used in any production. If you want to use any designers work contact them directly via their contact information or send me an email. If you wish to use pictures and info for your own blogging, remember to write a direct link to this blog. Thanks.

    Click on the pages above to see links for schools, up-coming designers and more.

    You can also find the list of interviews thats featured on the blog.

%d bloggers like this: