As Rosie Bath prepares to graduate from the BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Marketing degree at Northumbria University she reflects on how the Blackbourne Lace collection at Bowes Museum inspired her as a young designer.

Border of Mechlin, straight edged, small flower sprig and spots, with marked rounded vandyked edge. No heading, cca 1820-1825, part of Blackbourne lace collection at The Bowes Museum

As a Fashion Design and marketing student at Northumbria University, we are tasked in our final year to produce our own individual collections that capture a sense of our own style as future designers in the 21st Century.  We are so lucky in the North East of England to have one of the finest historical collections of lace in the world, available at The Bowes Museum.  So, when I began to research ideas for my final collection, as a lover of this intricate craftmanship, it was an obvious place to start.

Rosie Bath Image 1

I have always been drawn to the delicate beauty and intricacy of lace and when The Bowes Museum allowed me to view both their public and private collections, I was very thankful for the opportunity.  I spent a fabulous day indulging in the most extraordinary laces from 17th Century Venice to 18th century Paris.  From this initial inspiration, ideas for my final collection flowed seamlessly.


Throughout our time at Northumbria we are not only encouraged to use such historical influences to spark new ideas but are also to experiment with a range of techniques and new technologies.  Students have access to some of the most up to date industry standard equipment and I was fortunate enough to work with state of the art laser cutting technology which allowed me to bring this craft into the modern day.

Generating computer aided design drawings from my own patterns inspired by the lace, I was able to program the laser cutter to cut a range of fabrics from leather and neoprene to dress crepe. Through conducting multiple tests on these different fabrics whilst designing the silhouette, cut and finish of garments, my collection began to take form.


From this design development my brand was born, Uniq. I decided that Uniq was to be a luxurious womenswear brand catering towards the needs of career driven and fashion focused women placed within the dynamic group: ‘Generation X’. Whilst inspired by the lace, it was important for me to also consider the practicalities of each garment, to make sure each piece is wearable and comfortable. We are also encouraged to market our collections using a range of strategies decided individually.


In order to convey the mood and display the Uniq collection, I decided to conduct a photoshoot at the initial source of my inspiration, The Bowes Museum.  It was an amazing opportunity to return to the Museum to showcase the culmination of four year’s work.  Bowes have been so supportive of me as a new designer, allowing my shoot to take place throughout several areas of the Museum, which provided the perfect background to my Autumn/Winter 2019 collection.


I am extremely excited to start my career as a new designer and to showcase my work at Graduate Fashion Week which takes place in London this June. I hope to revisit The Bowes Museum soon to get inspired for my next collection, whatever that may be!


Written by: Rosie Bath

Photography by: Nick Ridley

Model: Toni Harrison 


  1. As a regular customer of Uniq and a manufacturer of laser machines, I am very pleased to see the application and development of laser cutting technology in clothing design and production. Laser cutting has high accuracy and smooth edges, which is a great technique. Thank you for sharing!


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