Swedish School of Textiles SS19 London Fashion Week

With a cornucopia of conceptual designs, which aim to evolve the fundamental pre-conceived perceptions of fashion as a function and an art form, this was a graduate show with a serious difference. Presenting collections from a host of MA and BA graduate students from The Swedish School of Textiles at the University of Borås this show explored gender, identity and power, with themes including female fetishisation and the male naked form, all presented on a refreshingly diverse cast.

The runway presentation kicked off with a crafty collection from Carolina Johansson called ‘Girl Get Dressed’. This was a build-your-own-look show with lengths of fabric being draped and twisted around the body in a warped, distorted manner, contrasting prim and pretty elements like white lace and pink silk with splashes of lurid green paint and heavy handed, distressed knits. Next up was Helga Lára Halldórsdóttir with ‘Cornered Compositions’, which featured textiles hung like sails on boats or kites from frames, using vast poles and canes to add structure and a sort of spatial awkwardness and imbalance. Anther keen 3D form explorer was Matilda Envall, who through her 7-chapter ‘story of a dress’ created exaggerated shapes that explored vintage style through a thoroughly modern gaze.

Other highlights included Emma Granberg Silfors and Stina Randestad. Emma’s ‘Work it!’ took traditional men’s workwear, from hi-vis tabards to combat trousers, and turned it on it’s head, contrasting male and female codes -styling heavy jackets with provocative shapewear- to challenge cultural norms. Stina’s ‘Hybrids’ was a showstopper of eccentric and expressive forms, manipulating unexpected materials to create avant-garde looks. As well as the highly creative talent and prowess on show, there were certified crowd pleasers in the collective too. ‘Dick International’ was exactly as it sounds; exposing, uncomfortable, somewhat hilarious, and sensual.

‘Sadvertising’ by Lynn Tallvod confronted the perils of consumerism through slogans like FASHION HAUL and screenshots from rom coms and beauty spreads. ‘Dressing Room’ by Kajsa Willumsen explored the relationship between interiors and fashion, quite literally interpreting armchairs and curtains into curious new looks.

Overall, it is clear that when considering the next big thing in fashion, the industry must dare to look beyond not only the Big Four fashion weeks, but also the prestigious fashion schools; The Swedish School of Textiles should be on every editor’s radar.

By Ruth MacGilp. Images shot for us by Hannah Gordon-Smith.