Playful prints & protest: Our designers at Graduate Fashion Week 2018
We went backstage at Graduate Fashion Week on Sunday 3 June to capture the buzz and excitement of the event, as our BA (Hons) Fashion students prepped their collections for the catwalk and our BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Marketing students exhibited their work on our stand.
Taking place at London’s Old Truman Brewery in the heart of Shoreditch, the annual four day event draws huge crowds and worldwide coverage with it’s mix of shows, workshops, demos and talks, and the likes of Swarovski, ASOS, M&S and Levis offering opportunities for the latest wave of fashion innovators.
For our students, Graduate Fashion Week is a unique chance to meet industry contacts, recruiters and brand’s face to face and the opportunity to kick-start their careers within some of the world’s most globally successful brands. Big names in the fashion industry like iconic model Twiggy, Hilary Alexander, fashion retailer Boohoo, and Gap have been amongst the speakers at the GFW panel talks this year.
In the run-up to the event, it was announced that two of our BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Marketing students were shortlisted for GFW Awards, Rachael Lewis for the Boohoo Social Media Award for her Luminary Influencers platform, and Rhiannon Jones for the Drapers Fashion Publication Award, for her printed magazine Intimates. On the final day of Graduate Fashion Week, BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Marketing student Poppy Baker landed an internship with renowned designer Henry Holland.
A team from the BBC joined us in London to continue filming their feature focused on BA (Hons) Fashion student Amy Bray. We also bumped into fashion alumni Carter Wagner representing Cell Workout in her role as Creative Director for the up and coming brand, she watched our students on the catwalk in the Group Showcase with fellow graduate Anna Boast, Print Designer at River Island.
With industry directors, stylists, influencers and more from the world of fashion taking a seat in the front row, four of our BA (Hons) Fashion students took to the catwalk with their latest collections in the Group Showcase.
Designer, Amy Bray kicked off the Plymouth College of Art show with her genderless cool and vibrant collection ‘Sit Down Shut Up!!!’ featuring key pieces including a longline puffer jacket, football scarves and tartan shorts.
With an internship at Pentland Brands and portfolio reviews with Denza on the horizon, Amy specialises in sportswear/streetwear with a focus on original fabric print. Her final collection is inspired by her son's passion for football and the social scene related to it. The collection brings a playfulness to the sport whilst retaining a nostalgic British feel, through bright colours and retro prints juxtaposed with traditional fabrics.
Emily Hayward’s, ‘Snubbed Expectations’ looks at sustainable fashion using recycled denim and dungarees with neon detailing. Based on the idea that we should not always do what is expected of us, Emily created a manifesto of 11 points of how humans can free and empower themselves. She said: “It includes rules like: get off your goddam phone, it’s controlling your mind, trust me and; like what you like - even if it’s crocs and socks.”
The collection is protest inspired but takes a more subtle approach with the manifesto print designed to create the illusion that it’s on the model’s skin, making their very existence a protest to mainstream fashion.
Layers of soft grey and white natural fabrics make up Lan Chen’s collection of beautifully tailored, pleated pieces. Entitled ‘From Hugs’, the collection is inspired by shapes created from hugs with an easy-to-wear, minimalist approach.
“When someone wears my garments, I want them to feel comfortable, happy and confident, as if they are wearing a hug.”
Lan Chen won a portfolio review and interview with international fashion recruitment agency Denza at Graduate Fashion Week, as well as being handpicked for the Best of Graduate Fashion Week Show which takes place on the final day of the event.
Abstract prints and illustrations adorned Gwenny Von Quint’s genderqueer collection ‘All is not as it seems’ in vibrant greens and deep purples. Operating as a protest against gendered clothing, the use of bold prints, ambiguous silhouettes and creative pattern cutting means the garments are designed to fit all shapes and sizes.
Gwenny says of her ambitions: “I aim to make genderqueer garments more accessible and to cater for the misfits and the ambiguous.”
Major fashion retailer size? teamed up with our students to donate footwear for their catwalk show, including Emily Hayward who chose Nike’s iconic Air Max 95 and Air Max 97, opting for the Terrazzo edition’s fragmented marble-like colour-blocking. Digging into the adidas Originals Archive, Amy Bray’s collection was also partnered with the Gazelle, one of the brand’s classic training and football silhouettes of the 1960s.
BA (Hons) Fashion student Maria Hassan-Attah was selected for Graduate Fashion Week’s highly coveted Talent of Tomorrow campaign, made up of a handful of graduates selected from hundreds of final year entries.
Maria draws inspiration from her West African heritage, which is then fused with a contemporary Western twist, reflecting her upbringing in urban Britain. Influence has been taken from the rich West African culture Maria has been exposed to, this is articulated through bright, bold shapes and print.
Her concept takes further inspiration from West African miner’s uniforms. These have been incorporated into the design details, such as baggy silhouettes, strapping and oversized proportions. Also significant is the print, which Maria developed from West African art into her own modern style. The collection is about celebrating history and heritage but also the multicultural modern world.
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Photos by Sarah Packer, BA (Hons) Photography alumni.