Lauren Askham

Fashion Design with Textiles BA(Hons)

Having lived in Sheffield my whole life I felt very inspired to integrate part of my heritage into my final collection. One of the main steel making areas in Sheffield is called Kelham Island, where some of the factories and history still live on, although most of it now is derelict or abandoned and used instead for quirky hipster bars and food-outlets. Sheffield’s history and heritage lies within the steel industry, something that is lesser known is the work of the buffer girls. I was particularly interested in these women because you never hear about the women working in the factories or see images of them for that matter. The job they were doing was possibly one of the most important, as the final part in the process before the cutlery was sent out to shops was to buff the cutlery and make it shiny. The 'Buffer Girls' collection pays homage to these women; taking inspiration from the garments they wore in the factories and the functionality of them, along with the machinery and tools that they used. The collection is designed to make women feel feminine and encorperates tailored silhouettes with considered workwear detailing and garment functionality.