Ugne Smetonaite

BA (Hons) Fashion Atelier


My concept research started with exploring Louise Bourgeois’s work and her ability to explore traumatic early life experiences whilst taking inspiration from it and translating it into her own work. During my research, I looked back into my own Lithuanian heritage. Pirmas Kraujas (exact translation; first blood) is not about exploring certain historical events which caused a shift in our minds. Pirmas Kraujas is about being open to a conversation about how certain experiences has an ability to cause mental health problems that later on twist our perspective on life happening in front of our eyes.

I drew massive inspiration from Lithuanian photographers and other Eastern European artists, which I combined with my research into traditional Lithuanian clothing to find my design aesthetic whilst deepening my knowledge of garment construction. Looking into photographs of Lithuanian civilians, I found a mixture of styles combined in one look. Hence Pirmas Kraujas is a collection of casual pieces built with high-end garment-making skills.

Exploring mental health issues spoke to me through the metaphors of imbalance and disturbance. I chose to xpress these feelings by using a-symmetry, multiple textures and fabrics in my collection. I have used technical fabrics with wool and leather, chunky coloured zips and industrial piping with a jacquard cloth.

The design process involved using 3D design software CLO3D, in which I generated and visualised multiple aspects of my 2D patterns and how each look related to one another. My initial research into Louise Bourgois’s work and her ability to twist one’s perspective encouraged me to work in both physical and digital realms.

I chose to do an all-black collection, to enhance the idea of people hiding their emotions from the world and challenge myself using multiple textures. This is contrasted with The insides of my Pirmas Kraujas collection pieces, which are colourful and include digitally printed linings designed in collaboration with textile designer Sandra Macijauskaite. The lining design celebrates Lithuanian Baltic roots and shows a symbol of Ragana – believed to be t he goddess capable of killing and healing. By using these prints, I wanted to show my love and appreciation for my heritage whilst at the same time exploring the idea of mental health – what is seen from the outside might be different on the inside (black outer garments and colourful lining). Flashes of contrast bright colours signifies the intensity of life events that breaks one’s mind into pieces. On top of that, elements of electric colours is a reminder that Pirmas Kraujas designs were developed using 3D design software.

I explored both bias cut and tailoring techniques in my work. Through bias-cut, I achieved shapes explored in my initial research. This technique helped me to show the transition from one element or form to another, whilst being close to the body, giving the effect of becoming a second skin both visually and physically. I adopted traditional bespoke tailoring techniques to construct a contemporary bomber style jacket with raised 3D detail, which helped me to elevate and showcase my design work and technical skills.

Scroll for more icon-down-arrow

Ugne Smetonaite | Fashion 5
Final collection: Pirmas Kraujas
Ugne Smetonaite | Fashion 6
Details of 'Pirmas Kraujas' including: insides of two jackets and two bias cut pieces.
Ugne Smetonaite | Fashion 4
Pirmas Kraujas: Moodboard and colourboard
Ugne Smetonaite | Fashion 3
Pirmas Kraujas: Details
Ugne Smetonaite | Fashion 2
Pirmas Kraujas: Details
Ugne Smetonaite | Fashion 1
Pirmas Kraujas: Digital simulation details
Ugne Smetonaite | Fashion
Pirmas Kraujas: Digital simulation final line up