Blackburn student uses clash of cultures to create unique collection

07 July 2014

Bridie Farrell

Femida merges East with West for fashion project

A mature student from Blackburn has created a unique and imaginative final fashion collection that blends several different inspirations and cultures together into one piece.

Femida Adam, a final year Eastern Fashion Design student at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)’s Burnley campus, has perfectly blended East with West to make an outstanding final collection inspired by the 1980s New Romantic scene mixed with Indian androgynous and transgender fashion.

The 35-year-old was in the manufacturing industry for 10 years and also ran her own successful dress-making business, Al-Aura (which means ‘the covering’), before returning to education. Specialising in ladies modest-wear, customers would bring her their designs which she would then create.

Femida decided to take the UCLan course to further her technical skills and impressed staff with her portfolio of embroideries, embellishments and garments. Whilst studying on the BA (Hons) Eastern Fashion Design degree Femida completed exciting and inspirational modules including trend research, global design, experimental pattern cutting, contemporary and mixed media and high street design using CAD techniques to build a professional portfolio.

Femida has always had a passion for research and made sure to visit as many exhibitions as possible. When the time came to draw on inspiration for her final collection she visited the Victoria and Albert Museum in London where she discovered the ‘Club to Catwalk’ exhibition.

She said: “I explored London’s fashion in the 80s and the New Romantic scene, researching iconic figures such as Adam and the Ants, Steve Strange, Boy George and Isobella Blow. I also found inspiration in Vivienne Westwood’s work in her use of tartan, prints and amazing colours.”

“It is a wonderful fusion of different cultures and eras, with the Eastern and Western influences complimenting each other perfectly.”

Deciding that she wanted to mix both Eastern and Western culture together for her collection Femida also explored the transgender and androgynous style in India, even looking into the annual Aravan Festival, which helped to give her collection a cutting edge feel.

When it came to making the final collection Femida put all of her skills together and used digital and screen print techniques layered with traditional embroidery to really enrich each design. Another exciting element of her final collection is the cutting edge silhouettes, achieved by the use of forward thinking pattern cutting methodologies based on the experimental technique of subtraction cutting.

Commenting on her final piece Femida added: “It is a wonderful fusion of different cultures and eras, with the Eastern and Western influences complimenting each other perfectly. I have created a high end couture collection that perfectly embraces the exciting theatricality of the 80s whilst also showcasing creative experimentation.”

Her hardworking ethos and accomplishment in her course has resulted in two major successes for Femida. Not only did she win the UCLan Creative Focus award in Fashion, but she also gained a First Class Honours Degree. It seems that Femida is going from strength to strength, and is confident in her fashion business plan for the future to collaborate with independent boutiques.

For more information on UCLan’s Eastern Fashion Design course contact Amanda Odlin-Bates on