Boundary pushing, experimentation and simple course enjoyment are just a handful of the key ideals that Northampton University adheres to, philosophies that were keenly apparent from the first collection…

University of Northampton 2Robyn Lockton opened the show with a very trussed-up silhouette, think bondage strapping meets straightjacket. Fashion-friendly gimp girls would be another apt description with the touchy feely bonus of patent and fur-trim thrown in. Kinky and highly impractical, but if you can’t have fun with your grad show when can you?

Synonymous with footwear and leather goods Northampton has enjoyed a long and prosperous heritage for its shoemaking and this carries through to the university where students are encouraged to experiment with leather and make the most of the university’s on-site tannery. For this year’s show accessories were presented on the arms and feet of a fit and toned collection of men donning just a pair of black trunks and balaclava to hide their modesty! Daniyal Khan (pictured left) meanwhile provided them with some eye-catching leather goods; slim-line briefcases, zip-around clutches and totes featuring stripes of texture and colour - a theme carried through to the lace-up shoes.

Elsewhere Freddie Beeb created strong cocooning silhouettes in black and off-white leather that featured an all-over cracked paint effect in gold, which he deftly combined with fur hoods and collars. A particularly strong show for menswear Nyoka Francis had her posse of men strut out to “It’s the 1990’s baby!” Bold, graphic triangles coloured in day-glo shades covered white base garments, which were layered-up with black mesh, chiffon and transparent PVC. It was a new take on the early 90’s; crucifixes on chains completed the look.

A play on shape and exaggeration came courtesy of Salwa Alo-Habsi. Huge bucket pockets featured on trousers and cap-sleeve dresses to create focus and structure around the hips on an otherwise fuss-free silhouette. A concept Sophie Parker utilized with her all-white collection that included patent, rigid shapes.

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Sophie Parker left, Ashleigh Wise right

Northampton’s textile students showcased some rather delicious prints from Naomi Leslie’s squiggles of dancing light and Herjot Garcha’s dazzling African inspired prints to Harriet King’s cubist inspired blocks, rounding off with a bright and breezy mosaic effect by Ashleigh Wise. 

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By JoJo Iles

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