The science behind fashion: University of Northampton student comes up with a glowing design for Graduate Fashion Week

Combining fashion with chemistry is not something that most fashion students would consider, but Daniyal Khan, a third year Footwear and Accessories student at the University of Northampton, did just that and has created a ground-breaking technological glow in the dark leather solution.

Having come from a scientific background, Daniyal was studying medicine before deciding on a more creative path and applied to the University of Northampton in 2012 to study the BA (Hons) Fashion (Footwear and Accessories) programme. Now in his final year, he is one of 1,000 students showcasing his bespoke leather men’s bags and footwear at this year’s Graduate Fashion Week.

Fashion courses at the University of Northampton are unique; the strong link with the leather industry, through the Institute for Creative Leather Technology (ICLT) and the only functioning tannery at any University in the UK gives a unique perspective on this material. This offers fashion students a unique opportunity to develop their knowledge and expertise when working with leather, from understanding the importance of sustainable and ethical sourcing of the raw materials, through to high end leather working for the fashion and footwear industries.  Daniyal used the University’s tannery facilities to dye and emboss the leathers which he used for his final collection.

Daniyal created his innovative glow in the dark leather, with abstract printed design by making and mixing his own chemicals at the University of Northampton during a fashion material sample development process. His solution differs to current glow chemicals as it can be applied to leather and glows infinitely, rather than the standard 15 minutes of other products. His catwalk-ready collection, which is sponsored by Northampton-based Church’s Shoes, has been shortlisted for the Boohoo Fashion Innovation Award, with the final judging taking place during Graduate Fashion Week.

Talking about his concept, he said: “There are endless possibilities to working with leather. People tend to think that because it’s a traditional material the only innovation you can bring to it is through embossing or surface treatments, like painting, dying or patterns detail, but I strongly believe that it can be very interactive as well and I always had a vision for bring an innovation to a natural material like leather.”

“It took me a long time to develop my chemicals and I was constantly working around it throughout my final year. There were a lot of health and safety hazards to comply with and tests, but I eventually came up with the perfect solution! I plan to bring innovation to leather or any other material so after I graduate this summer, I will continue to work on incorporating science and fashion.”

Northamptonshire’s shoe and boot making heritage dates back almost 900 years and over 25 manufacturers still operate within the county, with big names, such as Dr Martens, Church’s Shoes and Crockett & Jones. The University has strong connections with the industry and often hosts regular guest speakers, as well as supporting the students with internships and work placements.

Please note: Daniyal will be available for media interviews after the University of Northampton’s catwalk show, which starts at 3:30pm on Monday 1 June.

For further press information please contact:

Holly Smith, Senior Communications Officer: Press and PR
07736 022316
holly.smith@northampton.ac.uk 

Julie Allen, Communications Officer: Press and PR
07736 022315
Julie.allen@northampton.ac.uk

Notes to editors:

  • At the University of Northampton, we offer our students more than just a good degree; we blend academic and vocational skills with ‘real world’ industry experience and are ranked a top 50 University in the Guardian University league table two years in a row (2014 and 2015).
  • We were the first UK University to be awarded the Ashoka U ‘Changemaker Campus’ status, in recognition of our commitment to Social Entrepreneurship.
  • The 2014 National Student Survey (NSS) figures reveal that the University of Northampton’s overall student satisfaction rate is 89%, which places us three percentage points above the sector average of 86% for Higher Education institutions in the UK.
  • 96% of our graduates are employed or completing further studies within six months of graduating.*
  • Fashion graduates from the University of Northampton are well known and celebrated within the industry. Last year, Helen Kirkum was awarded the inaugural Cordwainers’ Footwear Student of the Year award and was presented with her prize by luxury shoe designer, Jimmy Choo. Recent graduate, Kirandeep Bassan won the Zandra Rhodes Catwalk Textiles Award at Graduate Fashion Week 2013 and was a finalist in the Grazia Magazine 2013 ‘Fash Factor’ competition. Kerrie Luft, who graduated in 2005 has launched her own footwear brand and was the winner of the Fashion Fringe’s Accessories Prize in 2011.

*Source: HESA Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey 2012/13. July 2014, compared to full HEI’s for full time study first undergraduate degree leavers.  (96% for the last three years)