Costume designer gets prime spot in West Port window with Terry Pratchett character

Fantasy novel aficionados, design gurus and vintage voyeurs will be amazed by a new display in the Capital's go-to retro clothing shop.

Saturday, 3rd November 2018, 12:36 pm
Updated Saturday, 3rd November 2018, 1:18 pm
Harriet Ogden with her creation.
Harriet Ogden with her creation.

A life-sized imagining of a Munrung, one of the characters from a tribe created by Terry Pratchett for his children’s story The Carpet People, has taken over the Herman Brown window on West Port.

Costume designer Harriet Ogden and part-time sales assistant, was searching for inspiration for her costume performance degree when her dad Steve suggested she look into the mind of Pratchett.

“I was chatting to my dad and explained that I wanted to make crazy, weird little creatures and make something really creative. I was interested in transforming the human body so the focus wasn’t on a facial expression but on expressing movement through textiles.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“He suggested Terry Pratchett and when I found The 
Carpet People it reminded me of The Borrowers, who I loved when I was younger.

“The Carpet People characters are very like The Borrowers, only tinier and I realised there were loads of fun ways that I could bring them to life.”

Harriet spent hundreds of hours researching, designing and constructing the final product, including taking inspiration on the carpet making methods.

“I would watch Netflix and crochet for hours. It took me ages but I missed it when I finished.

“These creatures are made from the fibres in the carpet, so I was thinking how they would make their clothes, would they be woven or knitted or felted together?

“My sister Aisla taught me to crochet. It is easy to add bits to and make it bigger so you can create three dimensional forms with it.”

As part of the Performance Costume degree, students have to create a hypothetical performance that their designs would be used for.

In Pratchett’s story, led by Glurk the Munrungs must journey across a world known as Carpet, a land of hairs instead of trees, in search of a new home when they come up against warring tribes.

Harriet wanted to represent the tiny characters as non-aggressive and was influenced by the way colourful insects defend themselves.

“Munrungs have fights with other tribes but I wanted that character not to be too aggressive so used the blue crochet, pulled down over the body and the fluffy white legs at the bottom but when they are attacked, the blue is pulled up and it’s the chunky giant red and yellow pattern to ward off attack – like a explosion of colour.

And the unusual, bright design has been stopping passers-by in their tracks.

Herman Brown’s owner Anna Nicholson said she was delighted to showcase the hard work and talent of Edinburgh College of Art graduates.

“We’ve had a brilliant response,” she said. “I regularly have pieces exhibited and Harriet’s creation is incredible. Students’ work brings a wonderful creative energy to the shop and it’s good for them too, giving them a bit of a platform. They work very, very hard and the window was the perfect place for the design,”

The one-off piece will be on display until Wednesday.