Daniyal describes his glow in the dark leather collection for Graduate Fashion Week

Date 16.11.2015

​Daniyal Khan was one of 15 students who took part in the University’s catwalk show at Graduate Fashion Week yesterday. Here he explains more about his Pakistani-inspired collection and as a former medical student, how he came up with his glow in the dark leather concept: “I actually come from a science background and I was studying medicine but I always wanted to do something really creative so I chose fashion and particularly footwear. So I quit medicine and started at the University of Northampton in 2012.

As my mother is from Pakistan and it’s part of my heritage, my inspiration for my collection is Pakistani truck art. Pakistan celebrates its tradition and culture by displaying its artwork on trucks and they are very vibrant with a playful feeling. When I last visited Pakistan I interviewed a couple of truck drivers and discovered that there was a darker side to the art work so I wanted to bring the concept of deception into my footwear and accessory designs.

With my background in science, I am confident with mixing chemicals and by working with the University’s tannery, I created glow in the dark leather, which very innovative tanning technique which I believe is the world’s first! I made the chemicals myself as the glow chemicals that are available in the market at the moment don’t work on leather and only glow for 15 minutes, whereas mine is infinite. My final collection focuses on bespoke men’s bags and footwear pieces which are sponsored by Church’s Shoes.

Working with leather has been quite a challenging but exciting experience .There are endless possibilities. People tend to think that because it’s a traditional material the only innovation you can bring to it is through embossing or surface treatments, like painting, dying or patterns, but I wanted to explore how leather can be interactive.

It took me a long time to develop my chemicals as I was constantly working in the tannery. There were a lot of health and safety hazards to comply with and test but I eventually came up with the perfect solution!

As an international student, I thoroughly researched universities in the UK and I was offered places at two. I decided on the University of Northampton because of its rich heritage in the footwear industry and its good industry links. It offers such good opportunities because of footwear companies, such as Church’s, Grenson and Cheaney being based in the county and they only sponsor Northampton students, so what better place to be!

I plan to bring innovation to leather or any other material so I will continue to work on incorporating science and fashion.”