Graduate Fashion Week: Talent of Tomorrow
In 2017, Graduate Fashion Week hits its 26th year - and it's as innovative and exciting as it was on Day 1. Except now, of course, it also has the support of fashion luminaries like Victoria Beckham and Vivienne Westwood, who recognise - like we do - the immense wealth of creativity and inspiration that explodes forth at graduation point.
The event will once again be returning to its Shoreditch home at the Truman Brewery between the 4th and 7th June to showcase a wealth of emerging fashion talent, from design to photography. Managing and creative director of GFW, Martyn Roberts, has said that this year’s creations are ‘of the highest calibre’ and are ‘truly extraordinary’. Well that's us sold.
Here are some of the graduate designers to look out for:
Inspired by the concept of a modern goddess, Maddie Williams’ collection celebrates the woman expressing herself on her terms. Through recycled materials, from textiles to plastics, Willams’ pieces represent women who undertake a more holistic lifestyle and resist the pressures of corporate power. The style of the collection is bold and individual, characterised by oversized silhouettes and a heavily structured interpretation of the female form.
Kate Clark’s collection is rich with concerns about growing up, and the often-frightening adult world, making it both current and nostalgic. Her creativity stems from the childlike ideal of the princess dress, and the feeling of safety it brings. Clark’s fears and emotions take physical form though embroidery, as dresses are adorned with pictures of past toys and pets to form intensely personal designs.
Lines take centre-stage in Frankie Dean’s collection, which explores the textures in human muscle and how these lines move across the body. Her understanding of this movement, and how layering influences the silhouette, has given her designs a three-dimensional quality, brought to life by innovative use of printed elastic on mesh. It’s an aesthetic that isn’t easily forgotten.
Ceremony and carnival fuse in Sophie Hampson’s collection, which draws inspiration from various sources, including traditional masquerade festivals in South Africa, and the carnival culture of southwest Germany. Hampson’s attention to texture and colour has created characters that are both dark and powerfully haunting, making her collection’s title ‘Returning from the Underworld’ incredibly apt.
Feelings of unease and tension infuse Alicja Teper’s collection, stimulated by the harsh architecture of her native Poland and experiences of a dysfunctional domestic setting. However, the collection’s title ‘Catharsis’ expresses a release and purification of these fears, present in pieces that combine grey structured collars with divergent, flowing, loose textures.
Liam Falcus’ collection is full of bursts of bright colours and prints on fine silk, embodying the spirit of customisation so associated with Japanese Bōsōzoku youth culture that has influenced his work. The silk gives his collection fluidity, and the statement detailing delivers a boldness; combined, they strike a taught balance between sensuality and violence.
New York is at the core of Jamie Backshall’s collection, which is inspired by 90s black culture in The Bronx and the growth of New York’s skateboarding scene. His collection is filled with cultural references, such as Tupac Shakur’s track ‘The Rose that Grew from the Concrete,’ translating this via floral prints combined with distorted architectural patterns.
Ellen Fowles’ cynicism towards designers pitching work in favour of a particular socio-political movement for capital gain is expressed through her collection’s clean lines. Fowles represents multiple voices through her work by using snippets of conversations heard on public transport. These words are incorporated into the fabric of her collection, creating another, deeper layer to her pieces.
By Elizabeth Kennedy