x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Powerpuff Girls give Dubai design students a taste of the real world

Cartoon Network Arabia has collaborated with Dubai students for a fashion collection that spans everything from streetwear to avant-garde designs.

The Powerpuff Girls form a backdrop to a presentation by DJ Bliss, left, Heriot-Watt fashion lecturer Anton Storey and Simone Heng ahead of this evening's Powerpuff Girls' Fashion Party.
The Powerpuff Girls form a backdrop to a presentation by DJ Bliss, left, Heriot-Watt fashion lecturer Anton Storey and Simone Heng ahead of this evening's Powerpuff Girls' Fashion Party.

Fashion design and marketing undergraduates from Heriot-Watt University in Dubai will have particular cause to be animated tonight when their latest project hits the catwalk at Blends in The Address Hotel in Dubai Marina.

Last summer, Cartoon Network Arabia collaborated with second- and third-year students to create a collection that spans everything from streetwear to avant-garde designs, inspired by the channel's popular superpowered characters Blossom, Buttercup and Bubbles - collectively known as the Powerpuff Girls - who aim to save the world before bedtime.

"They have been developing ranges for children and young adults up to 25-year-olds," says Vanessa Northway, academic head at Heriot-Watt's School of Textiles and Design. "The third-year students have also developed merchandising products, like bags and sunglasses."

From themed, placement prints on T-shirts to dresses and hooded jackets with specially crafted printed fabrics, the 32 students, age 19 and up, have had to demonstrate a range of technical skills as part of their coursework, says Northway.

"This is a live project. The company has been visiting us on a regular basis, the students have been doing real-life presentations for them and their work has been critiqued - it's absolutely brilliant. It's not a case of the students sitting in a classroom, being taught how to draw, illustrate and make garments with no end result."

Providing the students with further inspiration and style tips throughout the creative process are two Dubai-based media personalities: DJ Bliss, aka Marwan Parham, and the broadcaster Simone Heng. Both will be unveiled as ambassadors at the grand finale, where the emerging designers will see their creations come to life in front of a live audience.

The show will also be available later via the network's online portal.

Northway has her fashionable feet firmly on the ground and although she would be delighted for the students' work to be translated into a commercial range, cartoon-couture is unlikely to appear on the syllabus any time soon.

"We try to make sure that our students understand that clothing is not just about the top 5 per cent of the market, which is haute couture," she says. "It's about being the other 95 per cent of the market, which is everything that people wear. If anything else comes from the project - and I would love for that to be the case - then we would be very happy, but the main event will be the fashion show, and that's what we're working towards."

The Powerpuff Girls' Fashion Party takes place this evening from 8 at Blends, The Address Hotel, Dubai Marina. For more information about Heriot-Watt visit www.hw.ac.uk/dubai.htm

 

rduane@thenational.ae

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