Biker chicks get chic new look8 June 2006
They are well known for high revs and fast living, but members of the Hell's Angel motorcycle club don't usually find themselves being used as inspiration for cutting-edge catwalk collections. All that is about to change thanks to Kingston University's fashion student Lili Golmohammadi. She is getting set to unveil the softer side of biker chicks at the Kingston University fashion show being held at the Banqueting House in London's Whitehall on Monday 12 June. Lili, 22 from Chiswick west London, spent hours at bike clubs, race meets and cafés taking pictures of bikers in their leathers, talking to them about their passion and learning about the history and culture of motorcycling before setting to work on her designs. 'I loved spending time at the Ace Cafe, a famous biker haunt in north London, where I realised just how passionate the club members were about motorcycling. I decided to use their motto 'live to ride, ride to live' as the basis for my designs', Lili said. 'While I was at the café I met a lady wearing full leathers and a pair of flowery Dr Marten boots. I also found a 1950s picture of a female biker in a leather jacket and a Fair Isle jumper. I realised that under the tough hell-raising image sometimes associated with bikers there is actually a softer more feminine side.' Lili's discoveries spurred her to create her own Fair Isle knitwear design with commonly associated motifs such as motorcycles and wings incorporated into her patterns. Using knitting techniques such as Swiss darning, Lili fixed patches of knitwear to the elbow, shoulder and arms of black leather jacket. Her collection also includes a leather-and-knit swing coat, a grey full circle wool skirt with a Swiss darned motorcycle motif and a pair of brightly-coloured knitted Fair Isle leggings. Lili has already received plenty of encouraging feedback about her collection. 'I've already shown my designs to some big fashion companies and am really excited about how the audience will respond when they are modelled on the catwalk at the University show. I'm also going back to the Ace Café to show the club members my designs and can't wait to see their reactions.' Head of Kingston University's Department of Fashion Elinor Renfrew believes Lili has a bright future in the fashion industry. 'Lili's use of traditional iconic biker influences has given her collection an exciting edge. The strong identity and energy of her designs are bound to make her highly sought after by leading design labels', Mrs Renfrew said.