Costume degree students at The Northern School of Art showed off their millinery skills when leading fashion historian Amber Butchart visited The School’s Hartlepool campus.

Amber spent time chatting to a number of students about their designs and touring the facilities before delivering a sell-out talk on her latest book.

Amber, who presented who presented A Stitch in Time – a documentary exploring the lives of historical figures through the clothes they wore – on BBC Four earlier this year, spoke at length to Ilona Haldemann, a second year student whose designs are inspired by riding hats and racing headwear from the 1930s and 1950s.

“Amber asked what I was making and the research I had done and where my inspiration had come from,” said Ilona who came from Los Angeles to study on The Northern School of Art’s Costume Interpretation with Design degree course.

Fellow costume student Jonathan Rogers, originally from Stoke on Trent, also showed his work which recreates authentic military uniforms.

“My designs are inspired by my interest in military history and my hobbies of re-enacting and sewing,” he explained. “Amber was interested in the cloth that I am using which is an exact replica of that used for uniforms in the early 1800s.”

Amber Butchart was visibly impressed during her visit and commented favourably on the Victorian building that houses The Northern School of Art’s costume and fashion degree courses.

“It’s an incredible space,” she said. “So much amazing light coming into the workspace through enormous skylights and so many disciplines so close-by so people can all really work together.”

After her tour Amber was filmed being interviewed by second year Textile Surface Design student Aliya Jefferson, from Billingham, for the Northern School of Art’s soon to be launched scholarly activity and research journal, PAD (Perspective in Art & Design), which will publish articles based on staff and student academic investigation.

She then headed down to The School’s lecture theatre to give an illustrated talk on her latest book, ‘The Fashion Chronicles: Style Stories of History’s Best Dressed’, to a 130-strong audience.

The Northern School of Art’s Vice Principal, Pat Chapman, said: “It was wonderful to welcome Amber to The School and great for our students to be able to talk with her about their work and aspirations.

“One of the distinguishing features of The Northern as an art School is the access we give our undergraduates to professionals of national and international reputation enabling them to understand career paths and be inspired.  It’s certainly one of the things that helps us deliver outstanding employability for our graduates year after year.”

To see Aliya’s full interview which explores Amber’s career and the advice she has for students about how to succeed in their chosen career visit: https://northernart.ac.uk/hats-off-to-fashion-historian-and-broadcaster-as-she-visits-the-northern-school-of-art/