Falmouth University Ceremonial Dress

Falmouth University Chancellor’s Robe.

In March 2015 the actress, writer and comedian Dawn French was installed as the University of Falmouth’s first Chancellor. A ceremonial role to encourage and develop students aiming for careers in the creative industries. Her Falmouth University Chancellor’s Robe was a unique design collaboration.


Chancellor’s Robe for Dawn French

Silk and Cotton tissue for ceremonial robe

With an infectious passion for Cornwall and education, Dawn French was keen to combine both of these interests  in her ceremonial dress, that was to be a little different to the usual black ceremonial robes.

She commissioned students from the Universities Textile, Fashion and Jewellery courses to design and make a ceremonial outfit that represented Cornwall. It was an exciting opportunity for students as she supplied a brief and actively participated in the development of ideas in the project.

Watch a video about the creation of the gown and crown

Textile students developed artwork of native Cornish fauna and trialed weave constructions on university looms to create a prototype fabric. Humphries Weaving were then approached to weave the outer Silk and Cotton Damask for the Robe as the university looms could not accommodate the width of fabric required.  A student representative from the weave pathway visited us at Humphries Weaving to make the next step. Here they had a unique insight into the commercial process of designing a fabric and bringing their idea into production, responsible for signing off the scale and selecting the colours.

The grid work in the design mimics the layout of the printed Cornish Tartan that is used to line the robes and is interlaced with ferns and flowers native to Cornwall that were all hand drawn by students.   

Project reference: 2525