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DMU designers over the moon to exhibit at National Space Centre


Out-of-this-world fashion designs inspired by music legend David Bowie, and created by De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) students, will be exhibited at the National Space Centre this weekend.

Made in collaboration with Image Nova

From intricate lingerie to extravagant footwear, their designs will complement a 360° live immersive experience in the UK’s largest planetarium on Friday 10 and Saturday 11 January.

The two-night Bowie; Oddity to Mars performance by tribute band DAVID LIVE will pay homage to the late star’s music spanning 1969-1972, a period of time covering Bowie’s experimental phase from Space Oddity to Ziggy Stardust, and the Apollo lunar landing.

As one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Bowie created a persona marked by reinvention and visual presentation, inspiring designs by 13 DMU Fashion and Textiles MA students which were hand-picked for the show by the National Space Centre.

Footwear design specialist student Yukun Deng, from China, has created a pair of men’s shoes inspired by the iconic bodysuit worn by Bowie during his 1973 Aladdin Sane tour. He used white thread to hand-stitch black leather uppers, imitating the costume’s curved pinstripes.

Quirky details set Deng's design apart

Deng also 3D-printed a miniature plastic mould of Bowie’s face to add a quirky twist to the back of the shoes. He said: “I like exaggerated things very much and this design reflects that.

“Thanks to this project, I have tried a lot of new techniques and methods, and I have worked with a lot of great people. It’s been a fantastic experience.”

Simran Dhond, a student from India who specialises in contour fashion, drew inspiration from the bejewelled skull that features in Bowie’s Blackstar music video from 2015.

Dhond’s striking lingerie set combines heavy duty materials such as heat-resistant Kevlar with delicate fabrics such as tulle. It features fragmented jewellery, embroidered constellations and multiple strap detail.

Simran Dhond

“For me it’s all about knowledge. While researching this project, I found out that the lingerie company Playtex was responsible for making the Apollo spacesuits,” she said.

“Because of this I visited the National Space Centre and examined the details on the spacesuits and texture of the rocks on display. The visit changed my thought process and inspired me to incorporate embroidery into my work.

“I feel proud that I’ll be displaying my work in such a beautiful place for the public to see.”

Fragmented jewellery and embroidered constellations on Dhond's lingerie 

Inae You, a South Korean student with a passion for textile design, was inspired by Ziggy Stardust, an alter ego created by Bowie in 1971.

She said: “Ziggy Stardust was like an alien who came to explore Earth. He showed us what it looked like to someone from space and I can relate to this as an international student.

“Coming to England, everything was totally new, especially the atmosphere. From residential houses to public places, so many things seem quite exotic to me.”

Inae You working on her illustrations before digitising them

Influenced by the concept of a traditional British garden, Inae illustrated intricate plant and flower patterns by hand, which she has digitised and screen printed onto large-scale textiles.

Focusing on fashion design, student Ying Tzu Huang from Taiwan used traditional origami techniques to create a striking haute couture dress in black lace and organza.

She said: “David Bowie’s last album, Blackstar, foreshadowed his death. In my country we present origami lotus flowers at funerals as a blessing for the dead from the gods.

“People fear death, but when we say a very good ‘goodbye’ to those we love, we can let them go and it helps us too. So, I hope I can give the same thing to Bowie.”

Ying Tzu Huang

Rebeca Leggat, Public Events Officer at the National Space Centre, said: “The students’ work will bring a unique perspective to the exhibition. Seeing a younger generation’s interpretation of David Bowie’s legacy will be really interesting.”

Paul McNicoll, Associate Professor for Student Experience at DMU, said: "We're thrilled to team up with the National Space Centre for this exciting event.

“It will provide an invaluable platform for our students to showcase their innovative designs across fashion, textiles, intimates, footwear and accessories."

Close up of Huang's origami detail

Posted on Tuesday 7th January 2020

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