Layla Chauhan

The purpose of Layla’s fashion textile collection is to celebrate multiculturalism in the UK by using Brick Lane and her own personal family immigration history as a basis for the imagery and textile focus.

Brick Lane has been a place of refuge and integration for many different cultures and sects. The lane has become a place where different cultures can contribute their identity to create a place that is totally unique and different to anywhere else in the world. As an immigrant family, integration was integral to Layla’s family’s success in this country. These themes are the foundation for her collection.

Layla Says:

“The lane has adapted and changed over many years to fit new people coming into the area and shows how multiculturalism developed in a defined area. The changes can be seen with the Brick Lane Mosque as it has been transformed into three places of worship over 400 years; first a church for the Huguenot settlers, then a synagogue for the Jewish refugees and lastly a mosque for the Bangladeshi’s who immigrated in the 1970’s.

Changes are not only seen in the facilities in an area, but also in the street art and graffiti. This constantly reflects political matters at the time as well as different art styles. Nowadays, the street is known for its diverse range of street art and graffiti such as Roa’s Crane on the side of an Indian restaurant on Hanbury Street as well as Adrian Boswell’s famous Broccoli installations adorning small nooks and crannies.”

Layla Chauhan

Textile Design

BA (Hons) Textile Design University of Edinburgh

Statement

Textiles epitomises what I perceive creativity to be, fabric, colour, pattern, texture and composition. My love for textiles and design came from my family and friends around me. From my Nani teaching me her seamstress methods, my neighbour Jennie showing me how to knit and my family descending from shoemakers, textiles has been in my blood and in my surroundings since I was born.

As a designer I am inspired by my own experiences from travelling, my vibrant culture and personal life events. I find I am drawn to creating a cultural atmosphere in my work by immersing myself in the ethos and researching each particular strand thoroughly to enhance my design process.

“For this graduate collection, I used a variety of print techniques layered on top of each other to emulate walls in Brick Lane. This resulted in a collection that is created using a mix of medias like the mix of cultures in Brick Lane. 
At the beginning of this project, I knew that I wanted to use a variety of techniques on top of each other in order to create the collage style that I wanted for my collection. The techniques chosen were also the techniques used in streetwear and would help me reflect my market of ecceletic streetwear. This included cold water dyeing, patchwork, flock, quilting, digital printing, screen printing, beading and printing with dyes and discharge.” 

Materials and Techniques

Cold Water Dyeing – “Colour was always going to be crucial to this project due to the different cultural and art influences. Instead of getting pre-dyed fabric and matching it to my colour palette, I decided that the best way to achieve my colours was to do it manually, like many garment and textile workers would have done it originally in the lane.”

Patchwork – “Patchwork is a way to interlock separate pieces of fabric together, much like how the different cultural communities interweave together in Brick Lane. I experimented with patchworking in a brick pattern as they interlock together to create a final piece.”

Flock – “Flocking has the ability to add a pop of colour to certain areas of a fabric. It can be used in a quite a graphic way, as seen in the Green Leman Silk. It also has the ability to add texture and a level of luxury to a sample.” 

Digital Printing – “This technique was used to create a base layer for the rest of my techniques to go on top of. I also chose digital print due to its capability to print bright colours, something of which was very important to the project.
Screen Printing”

Screen printing – “This has the ability to create graphic marks, textures and pattern very easily, much like the imagery used throughout streetwear. This technique is also like the stencil technique that the graffiti artists use in the lane with spray paint.”

Printing with Dyes and Discharge – “The reason why I chose this technique was because it suited my denim patchwork lengths. The discharge was able to create a worn effect in the fabric and the printing with dyes helped to create a tonal design. Both of these techniques also penetrate the fabric’s fibres instead of sitting on top, creating a softer feeling fabric.”

Beading – “The beading details were able to add pops of colour that I needed in certain areas. There is also a high level of craftsmanship in this technique and made me think of the other craftspeople who would have had to do this in the lane.”

Quilting – “For my context, I knew I wanted to create puffer jackets or create a texture similar to it. Quilting was a technique that was important to understand in order to achieve a puffer style fabric.” 

Awards:

Winner of Kalopsia Collective’s Open Call

Submitted my graduate work to Kalopsia Collective and won three products made out of my fabrics. 

Adobe Digital Edge Award July 2022

Fife Contemporary. New Maker Award (June 2022)

Winner of prestigious Adobe Digital Edge Award 2022. National accolade for using Adobe Creative Cloud to create layered and digital textile designs as well as creating a professional portfolio/lookbook, inspired by fashion editorial spreads. As part of the award, was able to speak at the international Adobe Max Conference about my work and inspire other creatives. 

Award from Incorporation of Bonnetmakers and Dyers of Edinburgh June 2022

Winner of Incorporation of Bonnetmakers and Dyers of Edinburgh Award. Awarded a cash prize for my textile collection Brick Lane: An Immigration Story. Judges appreciated the thorough research of the immigration patterns in the area and how that reflected in the fabric designs. 

Runner Up for Dyer’s Company Colour Prize March 2022

Presented my graduate collection to members from the Dyer’s Company where they looked at my application of colour throughout the collection and how I used certain colourful techniques in my work. Achieved runner up status in the competition and won a monetary prize to fund part of my graduate project.