With a three year in-depth teacher training in Dress & Design, a post graduate year in fashion at Saint Martins College of Art and an extremely diverse career in fashion and textiles, Rowena has a unique insight and inherent capacity to identify a person's specific talents, nurture their development and guide them towards realistic but high-flying outcomes.
With most designers and lecturers focussing on one particular area of expertise Rowena is a master of many. As a free-lance designer she has worked for textile design studios in both London and New York and for leading retailers such as Marks & Spencer, Miss Selfridge and Next. She has sold textile designs internationally through agents such as London Portfolio and sourced vintage fabrics for several swatch archives including Vintage Muse.
During the 1980s Rowena produced her own garment collections, accessories and hand printed fabrics which were sold in Fiorucci and Practical Styling and featured in magazines such as The Face. She designed printed fabrics for Astrohome, greetings cards for Fiorucci and worked as a stylist for the music industry, creating stage clothes and styling photograph sessions and promotional videos for bands such as Altered Images and Kid Creole & the Coconuts. Garments that she created for Adam Ant's 'Strip' Tour 1984 were exhibited in the Victoria & Albert Museum.
The pictures below were taken by Sheila Rock for The Face in 1982; featuring hand printed garments, accessories and props by Rowena Luke-King and modelled by Martha Ladley and the late Billie McKenzie of The Associates.
Having started her career in trend forecasting Rowena has an aptitude for slick presentation. She has an eye for what the fashion world is looking for next and is constantly teaching herself new 'on trend' skills to pass on to students in an easy to understand way.
"After a year travelling in South East Asia, desperate to return to education and apply for a place on Foundation Studies in Art & Design at London College of Fashion I contacted Rowena and started her course in Portfolio Development. Travelling to London from Newcastle for my lessons became an invaluable experience; not only did I thoroughly enjoy Rowena's company but she filled every session with an endless amount of new skills and exciting ideas. Her constant enthusiasm, expert tuition and non-conformist approach fuelled my appetite for learning, and kept me focussed and inspired between lessons. Prior to and post interview her support was relentless. I gained a place at London College of Fashion and went back to Rowena for advise when I applied for the BA in Fashion Design with Knitwear at Central Saint Martins. I gained a place at Central Saint Martins and graduated in 2017”. Sarah Ansah.
FASHION DESIGN. If you choose to study fashion design with Rowena Luke-King you will be provided with a set of fashion templates; the pre-drawn bodies used in design studios to make the design process quicker. By placing these templates under layout paper as a guide, you will be able to concentrate on learning how to express your ideas on paper without the worry of getting your poses and proportions right.
You will learn how to personalise your fashion templates, draw garment details and accessories; use colour and practice a series of fashion design development exercises as you perfect the technique and create portfolio presentations of your finished project work. You will be introduced to design research and trend forecasting, produce sketch pads of ideas and detailed working drawings for the cutting room.
The pictures below were taken by Janice Everett of Rowena Luke-King modelling part of her first collection of hand printed shifts in Brooklyn, New York 1980 . Each cocktail was individually screen printed through cut paper stencils.
PATTERN CUTTING & GARMENT CONSTRUCTION. Pattern cutting and garment construction are an integral part of fashion design and individual tuition will allow you to create a study program that either encompasses all three disciplines, or concentrates on one specific area of expertise.
All levels of ability are catered for including: absolute beginners who have no understanding of either garment construction or pattern cutting; beginners who are already confident dressmakers and more advanced pattern cutters who wish to extend their skills.
Taught from a designers perspective rather than that of a technician, before embarking on full-scale patterns lessons will be taught and projects will be set in half-scale. Some students may choose to produce a complete portfolio collection in half-scale and those who wish to make their own half-scale tailors dummy to work on will be shown how to do so.
"I had worked in the industry for over ten years before I took a pattern cutting course with Rowena Luke-King. Until then my pattern cutting skills had been self-taught and I was looking for some sound knowledge and the confidence to develop my patterns prior to starting my own brand. At the time I had a tremendous workload designing for a high profile UK retailer but I was determined to take time off every other week for my lessons, and oh how I looked forward to them! It was inspiring and therapeutic to be with Rowena and her patient, methodical way of teaching made it easy to focus despite the stress I was under and I felt sad when the lessons came to an end. I have now launched my own label; Fräulein Annie and can highly recommend Rowena's classes; for me they were a treat and a treasure". Frauke Nagel.
TEXTILE DESIGN. Textile design with Rowena Luke-King will see you step back from the computer to explore essential design studio skills that are often undervalued in education today; free-hand drawing, non-directional repeat pattern and florals.
You will be introduced to a variety of techniques used to create designs for fabric on paper; block printing, mono printing, collage and bleach-out and will experiment with transfer printing and paper-stencil screen printing on cloth. Hand embroidery and free-hand machine embroidery may be studied along side knit, crochet, rag-rug weaving and felting, and those who wish to explore colour with natural and synthetic dyes may do so.
If you are applying for art college you will be expected to create a sketch pad of ideas to inspire your project based portfolio presentations. If you are wanting to work in the fashion textile industry you will be taught how to interpret a textile agent's brief, research and forecast trends, produce groups of finished designs, use colour to create impact and continuity within a collection, label and mount your work.
The fabrics below are from a collection designed in 1982 by Rowena Luke-King for Astrohome. Pillow cases and duvet covers were produced in some of the prints and Rowena used them to dress a number of stars including Howard Jones.
"With a degree in Textile Design from NIFT New Delhi I was the sole in-house designer for several export companies including Shades of India and Neeru Kumar before moving to London. When I moved to London I needed help looking for work and spotting on Rowena's website that she had taught at NIFT, I booked a consultation with her. In India, teams of artisans would weave, print and embroider my ideas for me but during my consultation I learnt that to compete with British designers I would need to be both a designer and maker. Starting my first block of lessons with hand embroidery I was amazed by how much I could do. Rowena encouraged me to experiment and develop my skills to a point where I could teach myself and I quickly moved on to knit and crochet. She pushed me to make everything as perfect and beautiful as possible, helped me to adapt my style more specifically for the western market and taught me how to create a more luxurious look through my choice of colours. Her advise and support was invaluable and I have now set up my own business selling hand embroidered accessories." Sunayana B Goswami
ACCESSORY DESIGN. Having developed several short courses in accessory design including Fabric Jewellery, Novelty Vintage Bags, and Vintage Bags & Frame Purses for Central Saint Martins, people who study with Rowena have the benefit of being able to include accessory design to their individual tuition study program.
Focussing on accessories made from cloth and depending on what type of accessories you choose to make, you will be taught how to draft paper patterns, test and perfect your patterns in calico and/or card, and add findings and fastenings including zips, frames and magnets as needed.
You may choose to produce and embellish your own fabrics using techniques outlined on the previous page and those people who are thinking of starting a small business will be advised on how to present, market and sell your work; label, manufacture and price it.
The country cottage bag below was made by Rowena Luke-King as part of her teaching preparation for a short course in novelty vintage bag making at Central Saint Martins.
If you would prefer to study in a group, check out Rowena's short course:
If you would like to book a three-hour consultation or have any questions before booking, please contact Rowena by completing the form below and submitting by clicking on the 'SEND EMAIL NOW' button.