Graduate Fashion Week Roundup
Tuesday last week marked the closing night of Graduate Fashion Week, the first catwalk fixture of the summer and a fascinating snapshot of the next gen design zeitgeist. Year after year, what makes this event so interesting to watch is the fact that these are predominantly non-London universities, reflecting a broader range of perspectives than just those cultivated among the CSM, LCF and RCA triumvirate with its focus on “high” fashion. Here, we witnessed a refreshing diversity in the collections, from the esoterically conceptual to the joyfully commercial – a salient reminder that the vast majority of graduates end up in work outside the high fashion ivory tower.
Among a strong showing of men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, notable for the dramatic silhouettes and vibrant colours that regularly enlivened the catwalk, these are five names we’ll be looking out for in years to come.
Lauren Anderson, Nottingham Trent
Well firstly, we absolutely defy you to look at this lineup without smiling. The flower caps, the platforms, the oversized polka dots, the huge floral prints, the summery hues, the flowers, again, everywhere. Appropriately titled “A Head Full of Colours”, we love the sheer joy and unrestrained maximalism of Anderson’s 60s inspired aesthetic, brought deftly into the modern era with laser cut three dimensional embellishments and accessories that add texture and an almost retro-futuristic feel. Erring on just the ride side of kitsch, this is a welcome burst of fun in an age of minimalism and normcore.
Victoria Miller, Norwich University of the Arts
Seguing us gently from flowerbombs to the more pared-back collections, next up we have Victoria Miller from Norwich University of the Arts, the first NUA student to have their work shown at the event. Working in a challenging all-red palette lifted with the odd lick of white, we love the sculptural oversized silhouettes and elegant asymmetric draping. Sporty and wearable, we can see this being snapped up. A masterclass in monochrome and an innovative and laid-back take on minimalism.
Lotte Manson, Liverpool John Moores
Another monochrome collection here, this time from Lotte Manson of Liverpool John Moores. Alive with organic forms and soft exoskeleton-like structures, we love the ethereal feel of Manson’s white dresses, toughened up with their crisp, clean silhouettes. The overall impression is that of a regiment of celestial warriors, a merging of fantasy and futurism brought back down to earth by the gentle curvilinear tracings of the female body. Or maybe that’s just us?
Prash Muraleetharan, Brighton
An immediately eye-catching men’s range by Prash Muraleetharan from Brighton here, full of sharply defined shapes and a thoroughly modern palette of black, white and grey cut through with a memerisingly saturated orange. Sleek and contemporary with oversized but perfectly balanced proportions and clean origami folds, the collection makes us think of a suave digital age samurai equipped for life in the concrete jungle. We love the interplay of angular and soft forms in this startlingly mature showing.
Hannah Wallace, Manchester School of Art
And last but certainly not least to Hannah Wallace, who received the prestigious GFW gold award and a £10,000 prize. And for good reason: her sports and streetwear influenced lineup of oversized puffa jackets, layered basketball shorts and branded leggings in the bleak muted colours of urban camouflage was the perfect balance of edgy and actually wearable. And so Wallace joins previous winners including Matthew Williamson, Christopher Bailey, Stella McCartney and Giles Deacon – we can’t wait to see what her future will hold.