An explosion of exciting global talent hit the catwalk earlier this month at the London College of Fashion, as first year Womenswear MA students were given the opportunity to showcase the vibrant and creative designs they had been working on over the past few months. These emerging designers hailed from all over the world, each with a different background, and all with a unique story to tell through the work they were presenting. The show delivered an intriguing snapshot of what their futures might hold. These were some of the highlights.
Ripped denim and smock pleats were the statement for Polina Gorkovenkos' pieces, which displayed vulnerability but also a strong independent style. A fusion of 1950s and 2000s fashion, the aesthetic channeled Polina’s perspective of women who are ‘living their best lives,’ unbothered by the male gaze.
Angelo La Barbera incorporated elegance into his oversized garments, which explored the struggle of the everyday uniform. The pieces had effortless wearability as the models came down the catwalk cloaked in silk, a reminder that any uniform can be worn with freedom whilst maintaining complete composure.
The inspiration behind Joao Maraschins’ work was Brazilian artist Leonilson; looking at the human body not only as a canvas but also how garments leave a trace that will outlast the body (or canvas) itself. An intelligent collection, it embodied strong silhouettes, used embroidery on felted fabrics and featured a colour palette with predominant focus on the colour red. This colour was selected as it linked to the HIV virus, which eventually took the life of the artist who inspired the designs.
The tale of a bullied and outcast girl - turned resilient, fierce female embracing her differences - was channeled in Olivia Rubens’ collection. The work asked the question ‘Who said sustainability has to be boring?’ which Olivia made clear certainly doesn’t have to be the case. The young designer used extravagant colour throughout the collection, which worked well with the naturally dyed organic wool designs.
Although this may have only been a small taster of what’s to come from these students, one thing was obvious – the way that young designers really feel about the world we are living in today. Fashion has a beautiful element to it which people often miss, it not only has the power to allow individuals to express themselves but also make an impact which collectively contributes to a positive change. And this was clearly something the designers had in mind when creating their collections. From sustainability to feminism, the work integrated major topics being debated within our own industry and by others outside of it. The show was both acknowledgement and reassurance that the next generation is intent on making a powerful statement about some of the challenges each and every one of us faces today.