Catwalk collection inspired by student’s double lung transplant

A fashion knitwear student who underwent a double lung transplant as a child has designed a catwalk collection to help inspire others with cystic fibrosis.

Halima Umer, 24, who’s studying BA Fashion Knitwear at Nottingham Trent University, has created six womenswear outfits that explore her experiences with the disease.

Halima, who underwent surgery aged ten and has been well since, created original and distorted shapes by manipulating draped fabrics to explore silhouette shapes. Using ties looped through disordered holes, the designs form bunching to illustrate the physical effect the disease can have on the body.

The garments – which are made in traditional Islamic colours – are also embellished with paisley patterns, stains, bobbles and pompoms, which make reference to bacteria.

“I wanted to do something that was different and create wearable garments but which have been changed,” said Halima, from Aspley in Nottingham.

“In many ways I am beautifying my scars, and in doing so have found something elegant and graceful in disfigurement.

“The ties are also to do with tightening of the chest and breathing. And as cystic fibrosis relates to bacteria, I am incorporating that and beautifying it with embellishments.

“The colours talk about how my faith and culture helped me when I was younger, and the values that my family instilled in me.

“I have always said I would never regret anything about having cystic fibrosis, but I would only regret it stopping me from living my life. That’s something I have always lived by, and I am proud to now be finishing my degree.

“Cystic fibrosis is an invisible disease sometimes. People don’t notice it about me. Because I hide it so well, people forget that I have it. But I would like to raise awareness of it.”

Halima’s collection is set to go on show during a public catwalk on 24 May as part of Nottingham Trent University’s 2017 Degree Show.

The catwalk comes ahead of a weeklong public exhibition from 3-10 June of more than 1,200 graduating artists and designers at the university’s City Campus.

Works on show will span visual arts, photography and graphic design; fashion, knitwear and textile design; fashion management, marketing and communication; theatre, media, film and costume design; as well as architecture, interior architecture, product and furniture design.

Ian McInnes, Course Leader for BA Fashion Knitwear Design at Nottingham Trent University, said: “Halima has taken an experience which is personal to her and used it to create a fashion collection which changes traditional perceptions of beauty.

“Her designs are original, and combined with her personal story, deliver a powerful and inspiring message about overcoming adversity.”


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