Plymouth College of Art Graduation Ceremony 2019 group crowd

Our Journal

Students and staff collaborate to design new graduation fabrics

Plymouth College of Art has collaborated with Costume and Textile students and official robe makers, Marston Robing, to create brand new fabrics for the 2020 Graduation hoods.

In 2019, Plymouth College of Art received Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP), granting us, as an independent Higher Education Institution, the power to award our own degrees.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to postpone our 2020 Graduation Ceremony. Originally planned for October 2020, it is now set to go ahead on 18 July 2021 and will also act as the launch of our new Plymouth College of Art graduation hoods.

Traditionally, hood lining and colour is used to denote the wearer's rank or subject area and is selected by the university. We’ve taken a unique direction for the design of our new robes by collaborating with our Costume and Textile students and the official robe makers, Marston Robing, to create brand new fabrics for the hoods, in recognition of being granted the power to award our own degrees.

It was important for the design to be distinctive to Plymouth College of Art, using colours and design inspiration that had meaning and reflected the college’s ethos and values, as well as Plymouth as a city.

Costume and Textile students worked on several concept boards with a varying array of brilliant colours and designs - from sea life, waves, and lace to Plymouth’s heritage incorporating the voyage of the Mayflower and iconic landmarks around the city.

Costume student Fern Smith said of her designs: “Personally, the sea is what made me choose Plymouth as a place to study; therefore I wanted to incorporate patterns of water into the hoods. Indigo dyeing is a more creative way of doing this, whilst also expressing that we are an art college”

It was the wave designs that BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design & Surface Pattern student Katie Toms developed from the work of BA (Hons) Costume Production & Associated Crafts students Fern Smith and Tabitha Carter that resonated with Plymouth College of Art’s Senior Leadership Team, whose job it was to select their favourite designs.

The final designs took inspiration from the sea with an indigo based colour palette for undergraduate hoods and an off white and black colourway for our postgraduate hoods.

I must say I am very impressed by all the proposals, yes - all. It is very stimulating to see fresh ideas and to refresh my palate in this way, it has given me food for thought which will stimulate my ideas going forward with other clients. Thank you!
John Martin, Marston Robing

Academic Dean Paul Fieldsend-Danks said: “Andrew [Brewerton] & myself are both very impressed with the time and effort the students have put into this project, and we’ve enjoyed going through the different design concepts.”

For the final stage of the pattern development, Plymouth College of Art’s Senior Leadership Team asked BA (Hons) Textile Design lecturer Charlotte Warren to develop the students' pattern, using her expertise and experience, to ensure we had the perfect pattern repeat and scale to compliment the hoods.

Charlotte Warren Design development Plymouth College of Art Graduation Hoods blue wave

Award-winning textile designer and lecturer Charlotte Warren made the final technical developments to the students' pattern.

A special thanks goes to students Fern Smith, Tabitha Carter, Katie Toms and Lecturer Charlotte Warren. The colour schemes, patterns and designs developed by Fern, Tabitha and Katie all inspired the new design, which Charlotte helped to develop into the final product.

We look forward to unveiling the finished hoods and seeing our Class of 2020 wearing them on graduation day!