The future of fashion – From cutting-edge AI to developing sustainable film with seaweed
Fashion is an evolutionary and multi-faceted industry that takes innovations in technology and culture as inspiration. BA (Hons) Fashion Design and BA (Hons) Fashion Communication at Arts University Plymouth offer students the chance to explore the fashion world, from design and styling to communicating and influencing change within the industry. These future-facing courses provide comprehensive arts education for independent fashion thinkers, makers and communicators.
With a strong presence at Graduate Fashion Week 2023, successful projects working with companies including Size? and Vans and internships with a range of emerging brands, here’s a roundup of some of the most innovative and ambitious graduates from Arts University Plymouth’s Summer Shows and Class of 2023:
20-year-old Molly Adlington is a fashion design graduate specialising in print and textiles, with a colourful, girly style. Bringing the fun back into fashion with bright, bold prints and colours, Molly creates eye-catching and joyful garments and outfits.
Molly’s final collection centres on making unique textiles, including a layered, quilted fabric, as well as print and knit using a punch card to create a pattern, emphasising on all the small details that bring a garment together. Using scraps of fabric from her own work and from fabric stores, Molly includes sustainability in her project with her quilted fabric. Inspired by minimalism, Molly’s final collection emphasises childish, cutesy and ultra feminine styles, shown through colour and silhouettes such as the classic babydoll shape and empire waist.
During Graduate Fashion Week 2023, Molly had her collection included on the catwalk and featured as part of the Talent of Tomorrow campaign, as well as being shortlisted for the Graduate Fashion Foundation’s Childrenswear award. Molly was included in Draper’s picks from Graduate Fashion Week 2023.
Megan Elizabeth is a fashion designer with a passion for long-lasting, ethical design. Megan used her time at Arts University Plymouth to refine her design skills, collaborate with other artists and discover her place within the fashion industry, collaborating within a variety of creative practices and applying her design knowledge to different areas of study.
Megan’s newest collection, ‘Evolve’, draws inspiration from childhood experiences spent boating on the ocean. ‘Evolve’ is influenced by both the physical and emotional attributes surrounding these themes, from the hardware found on boats to the emotions elicited by being on the water. Using natural and sustainable materials where possible, Megan promotes zero waste concepts and regenerative farming practices utilising silks, deadstock plisse fabrics, leather and suede. Megan’s use of silver accessories conveys a desire to use hard wearing and recyclable materials.
Megan’s collection was included on the catwalk at Graduate Fashion Week 2023, where she was also invited to submit a portfolio to LVMH Louis Vuitton. Megan was also selected as one of Arts University Plymouth’s Workroom residents and will continue to develop her creative business in the incubation space.
Based on Dartmoor, Corey Hyne is a digital fashion journalist, who has developed his practice to include journalism, photography, film, marketing and technology.
Corey’s final major project was fashion magazine ‘RIOT’, focussing on themes of artificial intelligence (AI) and catering to the LGBTQ+ community. The magazine features photography, articles and interviews organised and written by Corey, highlighting the stories of the queer community in the South West. Combining his writing skills with AI photographic technology, Corey created imagery inspired by fashion pioneers such as Alexander McQueen, Leigh Bowery and Vivienne Westwood.
Corey has collaborated with industry professionals during his degree, participating in projects such as size? x Vans product pitching as well as creating a zine for The Box in Plymouth. During Graduate Fashion Week 2023, Corey was shortlisted for the Terry Mansfield Fashion Publication Award.
From Cornwall, Rudy Downing’s work as a fashion designer aims to explore human connectivity and its impact on both ourselves and others.
As someone who has worked in a number of different types of events, meeting many different people from different backgrounds, the concept of his final collection ‘Welcome The Freaks’ came from an offhand comment from a colleague: “We’re just a bunch of freaks running around throwing up tents”. Rudy explored what actually makes someone a ‘freak’ through the use of distortion and embellishment within his designs. His concept delves deeper into the idea of ‘otherisation’, looking at who pushes people out and why. His collection combines a ‘normal’ tailored look of fitted shirts juxtaposed with disproportionate components.
Rudy has worked in production for fashion shows with Alexander McQueen, Burberry and Dunhill during his studies, with his final collection shown on the catwalk at this year’s Graduate Fashion Week and featured in Dezeen.
Missy Radcliffe is a business strategy and brand analysis specialist, identifying ways that brands can improve their business through promotion, campaigns, marketing, imagery and more. Missy began her creative journey primarily through photography, broadening her skills during her degree to include consumer behaviour and analytical aspects to her practice. Missy is interested in visual brand positioning, observing consumer behaviour and designing dynamic brand activations in response to her findings.
During her first year at Arts University Plymouth, Missy’s zine was selected by size? as part of a live industry brief. ‘Sneaker Season’ featured top rated sneakers, women in the sneaker scene and reviews of recent releases.
Using digital software to design an elevated concept store, drawing elements from creative direction within the brands’ current media and e-commerce sites, Missy’s final major project involved developing guerrilla style marketing campaigns for brands Corteiz and PALACE.
Harry Langford is a 21-year-old fashion assistant and stylist, whose practice is underpinned by practical research and art-focussed narratives. Shape and form are at the forefront of his visual identity, informed by architectural and sculptural motifs, and how these influence both imagery and culture. Harry likes to push the boundaries of visual communication in his work, with his final major project examining unique ways to style garments, exploring how clothing can convey a story and how the human body can be used to enhance the narrative.
During his studies, Harry has assisted stylists including Robbie Spencer, Beat Bolliger and Nathan Henry, as well as styling shoots for the likes of Design Scene and Glamcult. Harry won the Styling & Creative Direction Award at the inaugural size?syllabus awards earlier this year, impressing the judges with his ‘amazing styling and creative direction’ for Vans, the world-leading skateboarding shoes manufacturer and brand. At this year’s Graduate Fashion Week, Harry was selected to have his portfolio reviewed by INDITEX, the multinational clothing company responsible for household name clothing brands such as Zara, Bershka and Pull&Bear.
At Arts University Plymouth’s Summer Shows 2023 Harry won the Graduate Employability Award, in recognition of his sustained engagement with his own personal and professional development, building outstanding transferable and employability skills. Kirsty Smith, Course Leader for BA (Hons) Fashion Communication, said: “Harry has displayed incredible initiative, as well as exemplary dedication and commitment throughout his studies.In addition to fostering meaningful relationships with professionals within the fashion industry, Harry's remarkable achievements and dedication to his craft make him a clear and deserving choice for the Graduate Employability Award.”
Katie McMillan is a fashion designer and garment maker with a highly colourful and visual aesthetic. Her work uses textural fabric manipulation, giving it a sense of freedom and playfulness, underpinned by strong technical skills.
Katie’s graduate collection, ‘Planet Kataie’, originated from concepts of nostalgia and escapism, evolving into a combination of distinct elements by fusing rave and festival wear with a utilitarian vibe. Choosing neon, fluorescent and bright colours symbolises self-expression and exhilaration, bringing ‘Planet Kataie’ from a fantasy world into reality. Inspired by the feeling of escapism from her hometown, festivals and rave scenes were a way to distract her from reality through dance and colour, her attention to detail influenced by her parents who are both mechanics.
Her work has been featured in Dezeen and was shown on the catwalk at Graduate Fashion Week 2023, as well as benign shortlisted for the Graduate Fashion Foundation’s Illustration Award.
Georgie Tombs is a lifestyle photographer, working particularly in the surfing and skateboarding industries. Questioning the environmental impact of the chemical development processes within photography, Georgie has been working with locally sourced seaweeds to develop her film. Her photography captures the dynamic world of surf and skate culture while emphasising the importance of environmental awareness. Georgie hopes her practice will encourage other photographers to think more responsibly with regards to their impact on the environment.
During her time at Arts University Plymouth, Georgia worked alongside lecturer Kirsty Smith on a content shoot for Red Bull, as well as interning with sustainable brands including The Toothbrush, a sustainable oral health brand and eco friendly lifestyle brand, CapeCove.
Georgia was Student Representative of Fashion, Media and Marketing while studying and during her graduate year, was shortlisted for Graduate Fashion Week 2023’s Fashion Communication Portfolio Award.
Molly Robinson is a social media and marketing specialist who develops marketing campaigns with captivating content for social media platforms and advertising.
For her final major project, Molly developed her own fashion brand, ‘Twenty4seven’, an eco-conscious brand that blends casual and sophisticated style for every body shape, offering modern and comfortable apparel for any occasion. Molly developed an in-depth launch marketing strategy, with a focus on budgeting, social media, marketing, influencer and email marketing, PR, media and communications. Inspired by her own love of comfortable clothing, especially tracksuits, Molly recognised the appeal for a touch of sophistication and the ability to effortlessly transition from smart to casual while remaining comfortable.
Molly has successfully interned for a number of brands, in roles varying from marketing and public relations intern to social media manager, including size? and Juicy Couture. Molly currently works as an influencer outreach assistant for Gen Z led TikTok agency Social Hit.
Tiana-Shay Rodriguez is a creative stylist with a passion for creating strong brand identities that resonate with consumers and brands. She specialises in fashion technology, including cutting edge tools such as MetaHuman, Clo3d and Adobe Creative Cloud, and works within graphic design, mixed media and digital innovation. When she’s not working digitally, Tiana-Shay works as a traditional stylist, creating immersive and engaging content, from fashion styling to brand identity.
Tiana-Shay worked on projects during her studies that include a size? x Vans marketing partnership, where she developed an exciting campaign for a live brief involving developing an app, website and products utilising web3 and digital trends. She also partnered with The Box in Plymouth to create a publication exploring feminist taboo subjects and to raise awareness of women’s issues. During her final year, Tiana-Shay was shortlisted for Graduate Fashion Week 2023’s Graduate Fashion Foundation Digital Fashion Award.
Olivia Birkby prides herself on being an aesthetically-driven individual. Olivia has been inspired from a young age by the independent streetwear brand Lazy Oaf, which she has used to centre her final major project at Arts University Plymouth.
Lazy Oaf x MetaOafs is a social media strategy and planned event, based on the rise of ‘pop up influencer spaces’, experiential marketing and the retro View-Master camera. Comprising the trends of hyperconnectivity, retro futurism and colour in public space, Olivia has created an event that celebrates the development of technology, alongside some of the brand’s most iconic collections.
During her studies, Olivia interned with California-based online booking platform, Vegvisits, where she acted as social media and marketing assistant. She was recently selected to appear as part of Graduate Fashion Week 2023’s Talent of Tomorrow fashion show, as well as being shortlisted for the Graduate Fashion Week Fashion Marketing award. Olivia is already employed as a social media and marketing assistant at Page1 Digital Marketing Agency.
Callum Stone is a photographer and digital creator with a passion for fashion, technology, music and sport. His interest in fashion expands into street and sportswear, particularly UK youth fashion and the influence of UK rappers on the youth fashion scene.
During lockdown, he bought and built his first computer, learning how to implement technology in projects in any way he could. Callum has continued this trend by speculatively questioning the future of brand landscapes through the development of the meta-creative agency, ‘Crea8Hub’. Exploring user experience and gamification trends, Callum designed a multifunctional digital platform for creatives where they can hang out, discuss ideas, develop projects and shop for the latest fashions. Having recognised a gap in the market, Callum’s preliminary ideas are the basis of what the future may look like.
Zoe Stephens is a fashion graduate with a strong sustainable and ethical approach to their work. Originally from Redruth and inspired by Cornwall’s fading industrial heritage in mining and fishing, Zoe’s final collection ‘Reclaimed by Nature’ explores the temporariness of human-made versus the timeless force of nature.
Mixing both hard and soft aesthetics, Zoe challenges the traditional view of femininity by incorporating utilitarian features into the designs. Adopting a ‘nothing new’ stance, sustainability remains at the core of the collection through the use of reclaimed materials. ‘Reclaimed by Nature’ has since been featured in Dezeen.
BA (Hons) Fashion Communication and BA (Hons) Fashion Design students at Arts University Plymouth have opportunities throughout their studies to collaborate with students with other specialisms on campus, including graphic designers, photographers and filmmakers. To find out what it’s like to be involved in a creative community, visit www.aup.ac.uk or check out the next Arts University Plymouth Open Day.