Q&A: Liverpool John Moores graduating student Serene Papafio

We asked Liverpool John Moores Fashion Communication students to speak to their peers in Fashion Design ahead of their upcoming catwalk show, to find out more about their work. Here Charly Calvey and Jennie Blake speak with Serene Papafio

Feature by Charly Calvey and Jennie Blake | 01 May 2014

Name: Serene Papafio
Age: 28
University: Liverpool John Moores
Contact: serenepapafio@hotmail.co.uk

Collection Title: Soul vs. Ego

The Skinny: Where are you from?

Serene Papafio: Liverpool

What made you want to study fashion?

I became interested in fashion around the age of 16 when I purchased my first sewing machine. I then decided to study at university to learn the technicalities after years of making my own garments and selling them to friends.

Are there any particular designers do you admire?

I admire designers such as Emilio Pucci and Balmain for their use of bright prints, and I love Victoria Beckham and Osman for their use of clean-cut silhouettes. It depends what mood I am in, sometimes I like simplicity, but that can change to admiring the use of more intricate detailing.

Where do you find inspiration?

I look at street style and then imagine new ways to interpret it.

What was your main inspiration for this collection?

The story was driven by a fascination with spirituality and a curiosity about how this contrasts with living in a material world. I have tried to create a visual display of understated beauty blended with elements of overstated excess. I have referenced these ideas through sharp geometric silhouettes and the fabric choice of unfinished suede. I also researched into spiritual artworks and power dressing from the 1940s and 1980s to influence garment shapes.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

From my tutor at university when pattern cutting: "You can always take away but you can’t easily add back in!" But my design ethos that I have learned over time is to always try to create timeless pieces.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

I see myself with my own womenswear brand, but I would also like to diversify into footwear design.

What has been your main highlight of this year?

Starting to see my ideas come to life and work out the way I wanted them to. I loved the process of writing my dissertation, and was also really pleased when I received a very high mark – equivalent to a 1st class honours –for this. I wrote about the fashion start-up and the study of challenges faced by young designers.

Do you have other interests outside fashion?

I have a fascination with taking photographs of the everyday, and try to see things from a more unusual viewpoint that may not have been considered before.

How would you describe your personal style?

I wouldn’t say I have a particular style, it changes quite often. One day I can feel most comfortable in a feminine style, then it will change to more sophisticated or rebellious and sexy.

Liverpool School of Art and Design Degree Show, private view (all welcome) Thu 29 May, 5pm-late, with the Fashion Catwalk Show commencing 8.30pm, by advance booking: phone 0151 904 1216 or email lsad@ljmu.ac.uk

Exhibition opens to the public 30 May–13 Jun, 10am-6pm, 12pm-6pm weekends

Held at the John Lennon Art and Design Building, Duckinfield Street, Liverpool

Serene Papafio Instagram: misspapafio