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Student Showcase Archive

Julian Roberts


  • Julian Roberts
  • Area

    School of Design


    Tutor (Research)

    • Graduate Diploma Art & Design
  • Julian Roberts is MA tutor for Mixed Media Textiles in the School of Material at the Royal College of Art.

    He is a fashion designer, cutter and filmmaker, who has shown 12 collections at London Fashion Week and won the British Fashion Council's New Generation Award five times.

    He is an accomplished scholar and teacher with an impressive history of classes, lectures and demonstrations given in the UK and throughout Europe and America.

  • Biography

  • Julian Roberts studied Womenswear at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, before completing his MA in Menswear at the RCA.

    Julian's specialisms and professional expertise, in fashion design and experimental garment construction, were honed by showing 12 womenswear collections at London Fashion Week under his own labels, for which he received the coveted New Generation Award from the British Fashion Council five times.

    Before his appointment as MA tutor in Mixed Media Textiles, he was Professor of Fashion and Course Director at the University of Hertfordshire and, from 1999, a visiting lecturer in MA Textiles at the RCA. 

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  • Practice

  • Julian Roberts is a fashion designer, cutter and filmmaker, with strong interests in material geometry.

    Between 1996 and 2008, Julian worked as a fashion designer showing 12 collections under his own labels at London and Paris Fashion Weeks, selling through shops in Japan, America, Italy, Hong Kong and London, as well as designing 12 further collections as a consultant designer to companies including Jasper Conran, Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and London Denim. He is five-times recipient of the British Fashion Council’s coveted ‘New Generation Award’.

    In addition, his fashion and video work has been shown in 12 countries, five times at the invitation of the British Council. Julian’s work has featured extensively in the international press, including Blueprint, Bon, ELLE, The Evening Standard (UK), The Face, Guardian (UK), ICON, i-D, The International Herald & Tribune (USA), Le Monde (France), Nylon, The Observer (UK), Sunday Times Style, SuperSuper, Surface, Tank, The Telegraph (UK), The Times (UK) and VOGUE (France and UK). 

    Julian has cut show garments for Björk, Naomi Campbell, Kylie Minogue, and constructed the pattern drafts for the new vestments worn by the Bishop of London and Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral. As a foil to his more avant-garde design work, he has also designed national corporate uniforms for Halifax Building Society, Pizza Express and Nando’s Restaurants.

    Julian Roberts’ current studio and teaching practice can be viewed here:

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    • External collaborations

    • Julian is currently external examiner for Fashion & Textiles at Colchester Institute. He has taught professors and instructors at Parsons The New School for Design in New York, USA, the Escola da Cidade in São Paolo, Brazil, and the Universidad de Las Americas in Santiago, Chile. In addition, he has worked for the British Council and the BBC as a fashion adviser, and with the British Fashion Council Colleges Committee advising on its Creative Cutting Seminars and International Fashion Showcase.

    Selected work


    Research interests

    Over the past 15 years, Julian Roberts has developed his own internationally recognised method of garment construction, ‘Subtraction Cutting’. This is a method of hollow construction that is deliberately taught to facilitate lateral thinking, experimentation and risk taking, with end results that can be used variously to make men’s and women’s fashion garments and accessories, as well as interior and exterior design products.

    ‘Subtraction Cutting’ has been shown widely to audiences at London Fashion Week. The technique has also been tested across the world, including presentations at over 20 universities in the UK and as part of live demonstrations by Julian in front of audiences of students, teachers, professionals and the general public in over 20 countries, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark, France, Hong Kong, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Russia and USA.

    As well as giving masterclass workshops to fashion and textiles students, the interdisciplinary techniques involved in ‘Subtraction Cutting’ have been taught to architects, product designers, film-makers and graphic designers. Julian has worked with the Royal Institution to teach geometric construction techniques in mathematics classes to pupils aged 12–13; collaborated with the British Fashion Council’s Colleges Committee, as part of its annual Creative Cutting Seminars, to encourage greater participation at graduate level in creative pattern cutting and worked with the British Council to teach ‘Subtraction Cutting’ to local crafts people and fashion students in South America, Africa, Russia and China. He has also demonstrated new approaches to design through cutting to design teams from COS, H&M, Basso & Brooke and Hiroko Koshino.

    Julian’s ‘Subtraction Cutting techniques have been disseminated widely online, in print and through keynote lectures. In 2002, he launched an open-source website, ‘Julian and Sophie School of Subtraction Cutting’, which was followed, in 2006, by his Professorial Lecture at the University of Hertfordshire, ‘Against The Grain: Adventures in Creative Pattern Cutting’. A book, School of Subtraction Cutting, appeared in 2009, published by the Centre for Pattern Design in California to accompany a workshop tour of the USA and Canada.

    Julian discontinued this book in 2012, and in August 2013 released an extended e-book, FREE CUTTING, which is available free of charge internationally as a PDF download without copyright restriction. The e-book (128 pp.) contains a large number of photographs, diagrams and texts outlining the theory and practice of ‘Subtraction Cutting’, and has been downloaded and shared thousands of times in many countries. FREE CUTTING is downloadable here, with Julian’s video work available here.

    Julian's work with ‘Subtraction Cutting’ was nominated for the 2014 Misha Black Award for Innovation in Design Education (won by the Sorrell Foundation) and has featured extensively in the fashion media and peer-reviewed educational publications.