Repurposed skateboards, nostalgia trips and functional future fashion: Fashion Design & Fashion Communication’s Class of 2022 Ones to Watch
Fashion is an evolutionary and multifaceted industry that takes innovations in technology and culture as inspiration. Our BA (Hons) Fashion Design and BA (Hons) Fashion Communication course provide a comprehensive education for independently-minded fashion thinkers and makers who are looking to influence change within the fashion industry.
With a strong presence at Graduate Fashion Week 2022, projects working with companies such as Size? and Speedo and internships with local emerging brands, these graduating fashion students are ones to keep your eyes on.
‘Highly Commended’ at the Graduate Fashion Week Collective 2022 catwalk show, Beni Jaya Riley is a designer often influenced by military and active gear. His university final major project focused on functionality as an essential element of future fashion, demonstrating how functionality can go hand in hand with aesthetics. During his time at Arts University Plymouth, Beni has developed skills in research, industrial sewing, pattern-making, designing, illustrating, moodboard-making and more.
Beni’s work was selected to showcase as part of the Graduate Fashion Week Collective 2022, he was chosen for the Graduate Fashion Week Talent of Tomorrow photoshoot, and was selected both by Drapers as part of their Pick of Graduate Fashion Week 2022 and by Pause Magazine as one of their top five Ones to Watch from Graduate Fashion Week 2022.
Pause Magazine said: “With the ever-growing popularity and saturation of utilitarian wear in the fashion world, Beni Riley’s display at Graduate Fashion Week was a breath of fresh air. Coming in as ‘Highly Commended’ for their GFW Collective Catwalk Show, Riley’s individual silhouettes, succinct colour pairings, and utilitarian stylings made their looks stand out from the crowd, with multi-pocketed garments, distorted all-over glitch designs, and hybridised accessories making this selection of pieces arguably one of the most ready-to-wear in this year’s display. The standout from the looks has to be the oversized quilted blue poncho that simply encapsulates the essence of utility and high-function. One for the future.”
Her experience includes filming TikToks and working on campaigns for the content creator at Charlotte Tilbury on their Beautiful Skin campaign, creating and delivering a series of reels exploring their latest range of beauty products. Bethany has edited and developed a visual campaign strategy of TikTok content for Brighton-based Tegen Accessories. Bethany has worked as First Assistant on campaigns for London-based Gavin SF Productions, filming behind the scenes content for commercial fashion shoots.
Bethany has strong Capture One and Adobe Suite skills, including Photoshop and Lightroom, with specialisms in content creation for social media. An enthusiastic collaborator and team player with the proven ability to meet deadlines to a high standard, Bethany’s strong content creation, visual storytelling and technical skills make her a strong addition to any team.
Oliwia Nowotnik specialises in unisex fashion, streetwear design and illustration. Her final university project focussed on fashion being the reason to get up every day and create and express yourself.
Oliwia has found her purpose in fashion and aims to bring confidence, freedom and expression to society. Fashion as escapism and freedom of expression has helped Oliwia to conquer her fears and overcome obstacles in her life, expressing herself through bold, fun, empowerful, colourful and graphic designs. She wants to connect feelings and thoughts through clothing, whether that be through developing extreme silhouettes or through surface manipulation and pattern.
Oliwia’s most recent work is inspired by Generation Z’s search for identity, freedom and rebellion. She said, “In current times, especially after lockdown and isolation, we have all felt a little bit lost and confused. I know from my experience that the challenges I faced created a massive strain on my creativity and my identity. However, my love for art and fashion gave me a reason to carry on and never give up, therefore the importance of my fashion is represented throughout my work.”
During her time at Arts University Plymouth, Oliwia has developed confidence alongside her creative skills, acting as a public speaker and ambassador for the IGNITE: Festival of Creativity, appearing on interviews with BBC Radio and having her work in the spotlight at Graduate Fashion Week 2022. She also runs her own fashion label ‘WIA WEAR’ creating highstreet designs inspired by her own expressive and extreme art, illustrations and graphics.
Morgan Elder is a fashion designer, who’s current collection, ‘4K**PSAKE’ is based on the concept of hoarding and is made mostly of secondhand and upcycled items. Using leather from old sofas, lace curtains and skateboard decks, Morgan created the collection of four outfits, including a wedding dress and also includes accessories and shoes.
Having previously worked as a sewing-machinist, creating items for the military, fire brigade and other emergency services, Morgan interned at a fashion buying company, where it was her responsibility to work closely on photoshoots of sample pieces by designers. These jobs gave her the insight into the different aspects of the fashion industry, creating the drive and ambition to study fashion at university and to create fashion professionally.
She said, “I wanted to focus on different textures in the collection, with a simple colour palette that lets the materials speak for themselves. I also wanted to bring a historical element to my collection with statement era pieces, because I have always had a love of history. Within Arts University Plymouth, I have had the opportunity to work with so many different mediums across campus and working with the costume tutors in the Sewing Lab particularly gave me a different perspective to utilise. I have poured myself into this collection and I have never experienced such a sense of self-worth and pride before.”
Representing Arts University Plymouth, Morgan showed her work at this year’s Graduate Fashion Week 2022.
Millie Jenkinson’s final collection ‘Solace’ was inspired by experiences of nostalgia during the pandemic. She found herself looking to the past to find comfort in memories as a coping mechanism, while keeping in mind the views of the world today and how to be prepared for whatever it wants to throw at us next. ‘Solace’ shows how Millie filled the empty space which the pandemic created in her life.
Millie said, “I have learned so much during my time at Arts University Plymouth - about myself, the way I work and where I want to go in life. My love for fashion, pattern-cutting, designing and making has grown immensely. My collection is personal and says a lot about myself and my journey and I believe it should be seen by a bigger audience, with a message which could be important for everyone.”
Alongside her studies, Millie was selected to take part in the UKFT x Drapers funded 12 week internship at Davy J Swimwear, an emerging swimwear brand based in Plymouth. Millie has since had her final collection shown during Graduate Fashion Week in 2022.
Amelia Ford is a filmmaker with a background in fashion communication, media and marketing. She has worked on live briefs and commissions for clients including Size? and Speedo, and was shortlisted as an award nominee for the Fashion Communication Portfolio Award at this year’s Graduate Fashion Week.
Growing up in Plymouth and living in the South West, Amelia has always had a connection with the ocean and the beauty of nature. She enjoys capturing natural moments in time, leading her to use analogue media as it creates imagery that is unedited and authentic to the moment. Using a Pentax K1000 SLR 35mm camera, Sony Handycam and Braun Nizo Super 8mm camera, she began to find her own style.
“Exploring nostalgic technology was a main theme for my final year portfolio work. Taking the opportunity to experiment with various technologies in film to find my own individual aesthetic in film, as well as my content creation for social media, I enjoy capturing everyday life and moments. I found a love specifically for Super 8mm film and all aspects of the process from filming; the development to seeing the outcome of the film for the first time. This is where I started to form my style and love for travelogue content as I loved to capture the world around me. Therefore, this allowed me to combine my love for the environment that surrounds me in the South West with fashion content.”