Amanda Odlin-BatesSenior Lecturer in Fashion
Amanda has been leading courses in the University’s Fashion department for over 20 years. Prior to this she ran a thriving fashion studio, Odlin and Webb, in the heart of Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter as well as designing and manufacturing cutting edge menswear collections which retailed in independent clothing stores throughout the UK and Ireland. It was during this time that a young Matthew Williamson undertook a work placement at Odlin and Webb - within a few years he would rise to prominence as one of Britain’s most celebrated fashion designers.
Amanda took the difficult decision to close her business when her teaching career began to take off. She soon found herself teaching at three different northern colleges and sadly could not dedicate the amount of time needed to run her own label. After a few years travelling between colleges she accepted a full-time position at UCLan.
Her expertise in fashion show production has seen Amanda playing an instrumental role in the University’s prestigious Graduate Fashion Week shows in London as well as the Degree Shows hosted annually as part of Lancashire Arts Festival - a programme of fashion shows, performances and events showcasing the creative talents of UCLan students. Amanda has remained closely involved with the production, model casting, choreography, music and lighting direction for the shows.
At present Amanda spends a lot of her time working with final year BA (Hons) Fashion Design students to help them achieve the most creative final collections possible. One of her most popular modules, ‘Silhouette Investigation’, focuses on the art of ‘shape-making’. After gathering inspiration from an outing to an antiques centre, her students select an inspiring object to use as a starting point and create two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes which will eventually be fashioned into garments. Amanda developed the brief as a means to help her students overcome the anxieties that many of them feel towards pattern-cutting.
“I love many aspects of my job, especially when I see a student who has been struggling suddenly experiencing a lightbulb moment and making a breakthrough,” says Amanda. Through her role she has been able to create life-changing opportunities for the students she works with:
“I particularly enjoyed the six years I spent at our UCLan Burnley campus, where I established the BA (Hons) Eastern Fashion Design course. The programme was aimed at widening participation and many of those who undertook the course were mature students. I can honestly say that completing the degree transformed the lives of some of the incredibly talented ladies I worked with. One of my Eastern Fashion graduates has since become a part-time lecturer on the Fashion course in Preston as well as running her own successful modest fashion business. It’s just one of many success stories.”
Amanda leads the Fashion Show Production module, which presents students with some incredible opportunities to break into the fashion industry. Initially conceived as a recruitment event for the University’s Fashion courses, Amanda and her students have delivered several successful fashion shows in public arenas in recent years. For three years the Harris Museum played host. Subsequently they evolved into a series of Christmas promotional events held at the Fishergate Shopping Centre for four consecutive years. Through her industry contacts, Amanda was able to incorporate a professional modelling contest into the events. Tom Craig, a former Marketing student at UCLan, triumphed in the inaugural competition and has gone on to enjoy a successful career with the Boss modelling agency.
More recently Amanda has been engaged in a collaborative project with Fabrications, a festival which celebrates the role of the textile industry in Pennine Lancashire. Working alongside a colleague and three MA Textiles students, the Threadifitti project built on the theme of weaving to create large-scale installations for festival venues, from Gawthorpe Hall in Burnley to Blackburn town centre.
Amanda is engaged in ongoing research linked to the themes explored within Fabrications. She has recently been examining the effects of the textile industry within small communities such as Padiham, which had 24 cotton mills in production at the height of the Industrial Revolution. She is also involved in Blackburn’s Festival of Making and is now working on a prestigious bid to forge links between UCLan and Gawthorpe Hall in safeguarding the incredible textile collection housed there for future generations.