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UCA student creates winning proposal exploring the role of Belfast punk scene in fashion youth culture

A fashion student from UCA Rochester has created a winning proposal which considers the place of Belfast’s punk culture and its role in helping people to unite during times of political unrest. The project was carried out following a brief set by UCA industry partner, the Youth Club Archive (YCA).

Responding to the question, posed to BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Promotion students by YCA, of what the future might hold for youth culture within fashion given the current economic, political and social climate, Charlotte Strain turned to her own heritage to inspire her award-winning work.

“For my project I decided to focus on where I come from, Northern Ireland,” the UCA Rochester student said. “YCA tasked us with proposing solutions to help develop their brand profile and increase their collaborative power within the fashion industry.

“I was originally inspired by my dad, a hippy in late 1960s Belfast when the troubles were just emerging. They didn't care what religion you were, all they cared about was music. This led me on to research into the punk scene in Belfast as it made such an impact there in helping to unite a divided society. It is still very much alive in Belfast and continues to unite people from different sides of the community to this day.”

Impressing YCA with her project, which they chose as one of the winning initiatives, Charlotte was invited to YCA’s The Subculture Archives in London, which showcase a curated collection of iconic subculture and counterculture prints, craft and clothing from a specially selected collective of independent artists and photographers.

“As my project was so personal to me and where I grew up I felt very proud to have won,” Charlotte adds. “Part of my proposal was to hold a social scanning event in Belfast to collect images of the punk scene there, adding to YCAs already existing archive and helping them to expand outside London. I proposed a fashion related sponsor for my event whose fashion is renowned for breaking gender rules and focusing on self-expression, something which is prominent in subcultures.”

“This project really helped me grow in confidence and find my true passions. I created a branded research document showing my progression through the project from initial concept to final outcome, a brand journal for the client explaining my idea in detail, and a promotional film for my proposed event.”

BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Promotion at UCA provides students with an in-depth understanding of how fashion brands work, and how to promote them through all forms of media including photography, film making, online platforms, publications, digital marketing, public relations and social media. Working with leading fashion media and retail companies on live projects is an essential element of the course.

Alongside Charlotte, five other UCA students were recognised for the innovative proposals they submitted to YCA.