The Best of Graduate Fashion Week 2016
Graduate Fashion Week is one of the most exciting events in the annual fashion calendar if you’re in love with emerging fashion like we are. This year felt like an exceptionally talented bunch with runway shows that were exciting, innovative and colourful. From architectural fashion designs, to giant faux furs, sleek tailoring, to mix and match shades, it was a bumper crop of graduates that showed from institutions such as the University of East London and Norwich University of the Arts . Here are some of our favourites.
Third year Norwich University of the Arts graduate Alice Potts was hands down one of our favourites this year with a textural collection that focused on a non-sewn, interlocking approach. ‘Sacred Geometry’ used mathematical principles and basic forms to create dresses, jackets and tunics, each crafted from 156 – 650 variations of laser cut shapes. Alice was also one of the GFW winners, taking home the David Band Textiles Award.
Nikk Edward Stanley
Two things jumped out at us from the work of third year Norwich University of the Arts student Nikk Edward Stanley – the strength of the silhouettes and the striking tailoring. Plus, of course, the wild colours of the 90s cartoon references that the designer used to create his pop art story. Printed silks and cotton were emblazoned with the vibrant Moschino-esque graphics. Nikk worked with buckram (normally used by hat makers) to give the designs a stiff and longlasting heroism.
The Birmingham City University catwalk show was one of the most striking of GFW but it was the work of Rhys Ellis that really stood out for us. Exaggerated silhouettes crafted in 3D textures gave the models the look of a modern Amazonian army while the hemlines left trailing into strips, shuddering and gliding with every step, brought an entirely otherworldly feel. Up close the designs were even more fascinating – nets of small, coloured punched metal circles that distinctly resembled squashed Nespresso pods.
De Montfort University graduate designer Hazel was awarded the Christopher Bailey Gold Award by Oracle for an incredibly innovative collection crafted around seams that were bolted rather than sewn. This feature turned her designs into a kind of Lego fashion, allowing the wearer to buy different pieces and bolt them together themselves. The monochrome looks had a masculine suiting aesthetic and played with oversize, uncomplex shapes.
Samuel Kaiser – or Gveny London – closed the University of East London catwalk with a dramatic all-black collection of layers and knits of soft curves and smoothed out lines. In contrast to the fabric pieces were the armour like designs crafted from high-density foam that gave dramatic accent to shoulders, collars and chest. One maxi dress entirely crafted in black foam had everyone reaching for their smart phones thanks to its avant-garde gladiatorial style.
With more than a touch of the 60s flower child and a hint of the recent musings of Alessandro Michele, the graduate collection from UCA Epsom’s Anita Atuboi gave vintage influences a cutting edge. We loved the heavy knits and delicate prints alongside the 3D flowers and bold textures, which felt feminine and futuristic all at the same time.
Nottingham Trent’s Kendall Baker scooped the Matalan Visionary Knitwear Award for a collection that featured high-tec crochet and some of the most mouthwatering shades of all of GFW. Her innovative approach to knitwear was designed to bring this traditional craft right up to date and the menswear she produced was unconventional and cool.
All images Vogue