FRANCESCA SMITH'S BA 2012 COLLECTION

Sculpted in CAD, Francesca Smith's Graduate Jewellery was 3D printed with the idea of a very humane 'Memento'. From grasped hands to a Victorian cameo, Francesca mixed techniques of the past and present to create a timeless collection. With the 'Prémonitions Sucrées' film, her hand ring was perfect to help depict our intimate yet innovative fashion story.

What moulded Francesca's adoration for design was her daily exposure to textiles and mechanics: "I was brought up within a working class background and have always been very much informed by my parent’s professions. My father an engineer and my mother a seamstress, I have been constantly influenced by the two vocations. The contrast of engineering’s high precision, crafting of solid materials with the craftsmanship of sewing soft textiles has contributed towards my design style from a young age."

"THE CONTRAST OF ENGINEERING'S HIGH PRECISION- CRAFTING SOLID MATERIALS WITH THE CRAFTSMANSHIP OF SEWING SOFT TEXTILES HAS CONTRIBUTED TOWARDS MY DESIGN STYLE."

With her first collection revealing this dual influence almost literally- fabrics and 3D Printed materials were combined to balance the two, spawning her signature. Guided by the Digital Studio and Jewellery Design BA at London College of Fashion, Francesca was able to piece this all together- "I didn't know what I wanted to be while I was at school but what I did know was that I loved being creative and making 3D objects. When I was 15 I was introduced to beading and friends and family seemed to love the pieces I was making, but did not think anything of it. Then while studying for my foundation I found myself designing jewellery pieces and was soon introduced to silver and goldsmithing but knew that traditional manufacture was not an acurate reflection of my personality. So when I found out about the fashion jewellery course at London College of Fashion I knew I had found my passion."

"WHEN I FOUND OUT ABOUT THE FASHION JEWELLERY COURSE AT LONDON COLLEGE OF FASHION I KNEW I HAD FOUND MY PASSION."

Going into her third year, Francesca approached her collection through her own problem solving methods: "I'm usually influenced by something which has happened in my life or something that completely captures my interest and provides questions that I can answer through design." For her graduate collection, she confronted people with "the idea of positive remembrance and asking why remembering a person who has passed away can be such a taboo".

"I'M USUALLY INFLUENCED BY SOMETHING WHICH HAS HAPPENED IN MY LIFE...AND PROVIDES QUESTIONS THAT I CAN ANSWER THROUGH DESIGN."

With this, she submerged herself into research, and further into the innovative production of such a gothic answer. 3D printing was the ultimate choice, and brought her to look towards what's to come- "I am a firm believer that production should be reintroduced into the UK and rapid prototyping (3D printing) is one of the most promising and personally accessible technologies to be introduced to product design and manufacture, it has been described as the bringing of the third industrial revolution. I chose to use 3D software and rapid prototyping because I wanted and still want to learn more about this technique's applications and possibilities while its popularity increases so as to have a good understanding of what the future of manufacture may look like."

"3D PRINTING IS ONE OF THE MOST PROMISING AND PERSONALLY ACCESSIBLE TECHNOLOGIES..."

"I used three types of computer software programs 'Poser', 'Autodesk 3ds Max' and 'Freeform Modeling' to create the virtual 3D designs which are 3D printable." From several materials to chose from, Francesca went with Nylon Rapid Prototyping, then "incorporated these components with human hair and jersey fabric". This "juxtaposition of materials and manufacture methods partnered the old with the new."

"I find that a lot of people have become very interested in my collection and its process due to the use of rapid prototyping (3D printing). As awareness of this technology is limited to mostly product designers and designers I quite often find myself teaching people how the process works. This occasionally overshadows my actual designs, but I strongly believe in the future of rapid prototyping so am happy to explain the extent I know."

"I STRONGLY BELIEVE IN THE FUTURE OF RAPID PROTOTYPING..."

"With this collection the concept is somewhat controversial, but is still very wearable, so it touches both the realms of couture and ready to wear." Now on her own, Francesca hopes to step further into the industry with rapid prototyping as a junior designer and continue to build her own brand.

WRITTEN BY Bacall Michaels IMAGES BY Francesca Smith