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Bethany Oakey, BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Marketing

20th June 2022

Inspired by her grandfather, an electrician with a ‘make do and mend’ attitude to life who sadly passed away in February this year, Fashion Design and Marketing BA student Bethany Oakey created her brand, Miko, as an answer to fast fashion.

A six-look menswear collection made up of pieces combining knitwear with screen prints and detachable elements, including a double-fronted shirt, a cardigan, trousers and a tie, Miko pays homage to Bethany’s beloved grandad in more ways than one.

She said: “There are bright orange workwear-inspired screen prints, which are a nod to his life as an electrician, but I’ve also included garment repair kits with each piece, containing buttons and yarns to help ensure it can last a lot longer, in keeping with the ‘make do and mend’ ethos.”

Bethany’s grandfather was so proud of being part of her collection that he referred to her studies as ‘our degree’, making this year’s REVEAL 2022 final show a real family affair.

She said: “I’m from Newcastle, so my friends and family will be able to come and see the exhibition and they’re all really excited, having seen it take shape over so long, and the hard work that’s gone in to pulling it together.”

The Miko shirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comfort has been key in Miko’s creation, Bethany having become a menswear specialist only in third year.

She explained: “I focused on womenswear in years one and two, but placement year, which is spent in industry, for me in London as well as at Barbour in the North East, was instrumental in helping me to experiment with, and understand what I really enjoy.

“I love the practicality of menswear, as well as the silhouettes, so I’m keen to stick with it.”

Miko, which is primarily made up of natural materials and features recycled yarns, has seen Bethany shortlisted for three separate awards for Graduate Fashion Week in London, where she’ll showcase her garments, having also won a bag competition in Semester 1.

Bethany’s tutor Sarah Walton is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Design. She said: “Projects like this, which are underpinned by thorough research into design for future markets, show real innovation and creativity.

“Not only that, but the fact Bethany brought so much of herself into the project in terms of the homage to her grandfather is an element of what makes her brand so successful, in addition to the fact she’s an incredibly talented illustrator and maker.”

Sarah takes great pride in the nurturing and collegiate working environment provided by the School of Design, which offers an industry-standard studio experience that has seen alumni gain graduate positions in fashion houses such as Tom Ford, Harrods, Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss and Alexander McQueen, to name but a few.

She added: “We also get a great deal of industry support from our alumni community. For example, former Fashion Marketing student Anita Pekdemir, who went on to found high-end leather goods business Sage Brown, offered the bag competition that Bethany was a winner of as an exclusive live industry brief to our students.”

A sample of the bag, which was inspired by Bethany’s grandfather’s tool bag, has now been produced by Sage Brown, which involved Bethany working directly with the factory producing it on the specifications for its creation.

Winning bag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bethany will find out soon if she has won any or all of The Fashion Portfolio Award, The Footwear Award or The Accessories Award. In the meantime, you can see elements of ‘Miko’ on display as part of REVEAL 2022 in the foyer of the School of Design at City Campus East 2 until Saturday, June 25th from 10am until 4pm daily.

Find out more about Northumbria’s BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Marketing.

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