Suzy Menkes described Graduate Fashion Week as an ‘enthralling experience’ exposing ‘controlled creativity’. It is where the designers of tomorrow are discovered. Earls Court was turned into a brightly coloured, creatively designed space filled to the brim with talent and future trends. I was amazed by the skill, dedication and inspiration that I was exposed to at GFW. After visiting all of the stands and looking at a series of lookbooks and portfolios it was clear that the talent this year was staggering. Check out some of my favourite graduate designers and discover the inspiration behind their collections- something that is all too easily forgotten when watching a catwalk show. Menswear post coming soon…
JADE WAINWRIGHT- De Montfort University Jade Wainwright’s collection clashes various textile techniques such as print, devore and embroidery together. Jade recycled second hand knit and revived it with embroidery and embellishment whilst replacing sleeves and turning them into handbags. The handbags are innovative, bright and bold, completing the collection and look. Jade’s primary inspiration was drawn from a picture of herself as a baby wearing a denim onesie with an embroidered floral Guns ‘N’ Roses patch in a room filled and layered with 90s grunge posters. It is no wonder that Jade uses a variation of rose and other floral patterns displayed through cross-stitching and embroidery onto such items as a perforated leather kimono jacket, gingham shirting and knitted jumpers. By mixing, clashing and layering colours and textures Jade has showcased a bright, youthful and highly imaginative floral collection by re-visiting her youth- I LOVE IT.
SHONAGH GALBRAITH- Edinburgh College of Art Shonagh Galbraith’s collection initiated with an exploration into 1930’s Mississippi. Shonagh wanted to recreate the different textures from the roots of the trees to the bark indentations. Using faux fur through patchwork and placement, Shonagh created tough textured garment with a sportswear edge. Shonagh was able to merge bright block colour with textured faux fur and created an impressively coherent collection.
CHLOE GIVNAN- University of Central Lancashire Chloe Givnan’s bright, bold and buoyant collection brought ‘schizophrenic prints’ to the runway. Inspired by 90’s rave, vintage sportswear and David Bowie, the collection oozed attitude and street style.
GEMMA CRAMP-Liverpool John Moores Gemma’s final collection ‘the bone garden’ is based on the life and death of the seabed and its inhabitants. Taking photographs at an aquarium, which were later incorporated into her own print, Gemma’s collection features an array of bright colours and prints that juxtapose the stark white leather pieces which are intricately laser cut.
NICOLA O’PREY- Liverpool John Moores Nicola is a conceptual designer who uses unconventional materials to create ornamental garments. Her collection “Kombuture” created a new species, and was inspired by interbreeding, deformity and a fusion of animal and human. The use of hair provoked some interesting reactions- some were shocked, others mesmerised. I for one was mesmerised. The use of human hair as the main material made the collection unique and highly constructed. A hair lined cape coupled with a 3D neon blue structured skirt was my favourite look.
Emma Parker- University of NorthamptonEmma Parker spent 2 weeks hand stitching 4,000 small tubes filled with goat-kid fur to create the first piece of her collection. She is truly dedicated to the beauty of things that have been handmade, that a machine could never recreate. Emma said that in the last two weeks she has learnt ‘to never be complacent, never be superficial and to always do the unexpected.’ Her meticulously executed fur bodice and cape made out of laser cut wood are examples of her ability to manipulate difficult materials, be innovative and go the extra mile. There was a definite earthy feel to this collection and it was extremely impressive.
KIRANDEEP BASSAN- Northampton UniversityKirandeep won the Zandra Rhodes textiles Award this year and it was well deserved. Kirandeep focussed on the qualities of decaying and derelict finishes on man-made objects such as rusting metals and peeling paints. A fusion of royal blues, yellows and brick orange created impressive prints, which were then layered and draped. Vibrant, diverse and detailed, Kirandeep created an awe-inspiring print.
JONAYA SALKELD- Liverpool John MooresJonaya’s collection was based on electrical components, she looked at them in close detail to capture shape, colour and contours. She then transfered these elements into her collection. Jonaya attached 10,000 cable ties to mesh fabric and her print is composed of electrical components. Bright, bold, textured and extremely innovative.
HANNAH PODBURY- University of NorthamptonHannah’s original inspiration was drawn from modern Japanese architecture and her work developed from this point. She dyed nylon tubular crin different tones of blues and greys. Hannah’s collection is extremely intricate and reflected the perfection of architectural structures that she saw in Japan. Hannah also tried to reflect the transparency of some of the glass structures, and this definitely created a layered element to the collection. Extreme Knitting.
Words: Lizzie Ashby