Hannah Buswell

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 Hannah Louise Buswell, 22. Ravensbourne College of Design & Communication, BA Fashion Graduate 2009.

– specialism: Womenswear Knitwear.


Design Background:

I studied for my BA at Ravensbourne and during this time took part in a three month work placement at CooperativeDesigns which was an amazing experience as CooperativeDesigns have continued to support me in my work and through out my BA final collection. I also worked with CooperativeDesigns to produce garments for Hussien Chaylans A/w 08 Paris Show as well as producing some of CooperativeDesigns garments to be sold in Browns Focus.


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Project title:

Abstract Plots



My original inspiration came from spending time back at home in Warwickshire over the summer and my Dad who has an allotment at the bottom of our garden. I produced a number of drawings taken from vegetables grown by my dad as well as different allotment plots. I also looked at paintings by the artist Ruth Root and wooden clad tree houses by Bauraum. From these points I created a series of block colour and abstract drawings, which led to various knits and silhouettes.




Where do you get inspiration from in general?

My main influence is probably drawing, original mark making and colour. I’m also inspired by modernist architecture, the natural world and modern art as well as my own environment and the people I’m surrounded by.


How is your process when you design?

I usually start by working around one idea and producing different drawings, sketches and artwork. I also create a character or muse that I aim my designs towards. This then tends to lead on to other points of reference and drawing. From these drawings I then create different knit samples and various designs which I finally develop into a collection.




What do you find most difficult about the design process?

I think searching for the original point of reference is sometimes the most difficult as once I get started I tend to really get into what I’m working on.


What are your strengths?

Colour and Pattern.


What are your weaknesses?

I think you can always better yourself and learn more.


Describe your collection with three words?

Bold, Graphic, Contemporary


What techniques did you use:

The whole collection has been knitted by myself either by hand or on knitting machines. The chunky ribs that are featured on some of the Jumpers and as a striped gusset on one of the jumpers were all knitted by hand. The different fairisles were all created by myself and knitted on standard gauge domestic knitting machines. The intarsia patterns were knitted on both standard and chunky gauge domestic knitting machines and the fine knit striped dress was knitted on a 9 gauge dubied knitting machine.




Which technique was the most difficult?

Although intarsia as a technique is quite simple it was a very time consuming technique to use as it required a lot of planning and calculations to get all seams and pieces to meet. A lot of my garments were produced in a number of panels to get the oversized shapes which meant each piece had it’s own calculations which then had to fit with the next piece.


Which garment was most difficult to make?

The oversized zip up cardigan was difficult to make for a number of reasons. The bottom sections had to be knitted one way so the fairisles matched across the front as well as the intarsia pattern which traveled across the front and back of the cardigan. I also had to knit the top sleeve section going the opposite way as it was too wide for the machine which meant I had to then link stitches which were traveling in opposite directions and get them to sit without stretching out of shape. The zip also had to be hand sewn in so that it matched the opposite side and didn’t skew where the fairisles and intarsias met!




Which garment took the longest to make?

The oversized jumper dress with the roll neck took a long time mainly because of it’s size. The hand knit sections had to be knitted separately and then the fairisle and striped sleeve section had to be knitted. The fairisle on this changed colour every two rows, which meant I spent a lot of time changing yarn and sewing in ends! The bottom intarsia sections also took a long time as I had to plan them out and then hand sew them together to hide the centre back and front seams where two panels has to be joined to achieve the width I wanted.




Which garment is your favorite?

My favorite garment in the short swing dress with the contrasting blocked stripes and fairisle panels. It’s probably one of my simpler pieces but it just makes you want to skip around when you wear it!




What technique is your favorite?

I love fairisle! I think the variations you can get with it are endless!


How long did you work on this project?

It was a relatively long project as it was my final collection for my BA so I started the research and produced a pre collection for it in September 08 but really started proper work on the collection in March 09.


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Is there something you regret not doing in your collection?

I’d have loved to have created accessories to accompany the collection but I ran out of time.


What made you pursue knitwear?

I love the fact that with knitwear you’re not just making garments but the fabric as well.


What designers inspire you?

I’m a massive fan of Sonia Rykiel’s knitwear and obviously CooperativeDesigns have been a massive influence on me because of my time spent with them. I also like how Paul Smith continues to use very traditional techniques within his work but always produces something modern and different.


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

I’d love to work for Sonia Rykiel in Paris as well as Marc By Marc Jacobs and Peter Jensen


Why did you choose Ravensbourne College of Design & Communication?

I chose Ravensbourne because the course was known to be one of the best to study fashion at BA level. I liked that the year size was relatively small (60 students) compared to other colleges such as CSM and LCF and I also like the fact that I could try different pathways before having to choose what I specialised in.


What did you think of the education?

Ravensbourne was a great place to study, it was small enough that you got to know everyone including the staff but also close enough to central London that you had a ton of places to visit and be influenced by. They work you very hard at the college and demand a lot from the students but in the end I think it all pays off.


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What advice would you give new students?

Work hard but enjoy every minute of it as it goes by so fast!


Which fellow students would you like to highlight?

I’ll be moving on from Ravensbourne to the Royal College with a few other students who’s work are amazing and they’re all definitely worth keeping an eye out for: Hannah Taylor (menswear knit), Cherie Newing (menswear knit), Ruth Green (womenswear knit), Calum Harvey (menswear) Fah Chakshuvej (menswear).


Why do you want to be a designer?

The buzz I got from seeing my collection go down the catwalk was completely unbeatable and I can’t imagine doing anything else.


What was your childhood dream job?

I was one of those kids who changed what I wanted to be all the time. I was always creative and arty but didn’t really decide to go into to design until my boyfriend encouraged me to go for it!


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Have you ever been nominated or won a design competition?

I was a finalist in the Warehouse Design Competition for this collection, which I’ve spoken about. I was also a semi finalist for the MaxMara Design Competition with a collection I designed for Sportsmax.


With one word, what is your best quality?



What are your plans for the future?

To learn all I can and make the most of all opportunities that come my way! As well as attending the Royal College of Art to continue my studies.




Have you applied for a MA?



Where did you get in and with what material?

I got accepted to The Royal College of Art and with knitwear.


Why did you choose RCA?

It’s such an amazing place with great facilities and great staff. When looking at designers and people who I admire they’ve all had a connection with the Royal College and I really feel it’s a place, which will nurture me and help me achieve the best for myself.


Do you have to make any summer projects for the school?

We have a summer project, which I’m just starting so it’s all very new still!




Will you be selling your BA collection?

All inquires about sales can be emailed to me at: info@hannahlouisebuswell.co.uk


Were can we find more information on you?

I’ve been featured on a few other blogs and will also be featured in Italian Vogues “New Creative Talents” issue which is coming out soon. Along with this I have a blog which, is regularly updated with information on my work, life and things I find interesting: http://hannahbuswell.blogspot.com


Contact info:            

Website: www.hannahlouisebuswell.co.uk                       

Blog: hannahbuswell.blogspot.com

Email: info@hannahlouisebuswell.co.uk

3 Responses to “Hannah Buswell”
  1. Liz Haywood says:

    Hello Hannah,
    I really enjoyed looking at your designs -love your use of colour and pattern.
    I am a retired (hand) knitwear designer in Australia. Have you considered entering the Australian Wool Fashion Awards? You don’t have to be Australian! Have a look at http://www.tawfa.com.au
    All the best for your new projects,

  2. Victor Rivas says:

    Hello Hannah,
    I really loved your designs and was wondering… I’m starting a film production company based in Miami, FL and for the logo of it I was thinking about using the second picture. If I give you credit and publicity would you give me permission to use that picture?
    Please answer me at my email.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] to be either a bit stuffy or centred on personal knitting projects. I especially love graduate Hannah Buswells work with her bright fairisle stripes and panels. Like me she’s not afraid of colour and […]

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