After Nyne’s Laura talks to Volvo’s Nikki Rooke about the recent Volvo & London College of Fashion (LCF) partnership project.
To celebrate the launch of the all-new Volvo XC90 on the 1st June, LCF students were invited to create lifestyle products that mirrored the design of the XC90. The winning entry was the Volvo Safety Jacket, a futuristic safety jacket for cyclists created in three designs: ‘Commuter’ – a classic, tailored style with wearable technology including reflective panels and fibres; ‘Competitive’ for keen cyclists featuring reflective panels, waterproofing and aerodynamic technology and ‘Weekender’, a casual jacket with a relaxed fit. The three jackets also showcase a number of safety and technology aspects: auto-indication lights left and right turning, auto-light which senses dark and light, anti-collision to predict and alert driver and cyclist to danger and a Volvo group tracker which allows cyclists to communicate and keep track of each other in groups.
The brief for the students of London College of Fashion was to ‘create lifestyle products to complement and reflect the style and design of the Volvo XC90.’ How would you describe the XC90’s ‘style and design’?
The all-new Volvo XC90introduces Volvo’s new design language with features that will flow through future models. Simplicity, beauty and functionality are at the heart of its design and style. XC90 is the epitome of Scandinavian luxury bringing together natural materials, elegant craftsmanship and impeccable attention to detail to create a tranquil haven to escape to while driving.
What was the most surprising response to this brief?
There wasn’t a surprise as such. We were, and still are, stunned by the creativity and understanding of our brand and the students who managed to distil the essence of the XC90 and create design concepts based around it and the lives of our customers. We designed the car around them and they created concepts straight from this.
Volvo and London College of Fashion is an interesting choice of collaboration. Where do you see the crossover between fashion and automotive design?
The synergy is where design meets function and the end result being concepts and prototypes which clearly represent the future direction of the brand. Fashion centres around beauty and an aesthetic and the sleek design of the new XC90 supports this.
The Volvo Safety Jacket was the overall winner. What stood out most about this entry?
This prototype closely reflected the fact that the new XC90 has the most comprehensive and technologically sophisticated standard safety package in the car industry. This supports our mission that no-one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by 2020. The wearable technology of the jacket mirrored the technology and safety features of the car especially around pedestrian and cyclist detection and front collision warning, all enhanced from previous versions to now operate in darkness. We were also impressed by the amazing attention to detail – it was an incredibly well thought out proposal that we could see appealing to our customers.
The intention behind the competition is that some of the concepts would be considered for production – any insider knowledge about any future LCF/Volvo products we might see?
We have made no definitive decision on this but we will definitely be looking at further collaborations in the future. We are passionate about supporting young design talent and from a commercial brand perspective it’s where future design solutions are found.