GFW 2018 Day 1
Meet the fashion graduates of 2018…
While colleges and universities up and down the country showcase their graduates’ stress, graft and toil, for those disciplined in the fashion sector Graduate Fashion Week held at the Truman Brewery in London provides a dedicated central platform. Featuring exhibition stands, catwalk shows, awards, live talks with industry experts and well-known brands offering advice and internships – the event is a 4-day fest of fashion and creativity.
Highlights from Day 1
University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) kick started the proceedings with some reoccurring themes that could be spotted time and time again as the day progressed. Overtly feminine, chiffon dresses layered over contrasting sportswear, an abundance of ruffles, frills and hand-crafted embellishments, pinstripe suits and power shoulders along with clashing colours and genres.
Designs on the UCLAN stand
Helena Green opened for Liverpool John Moores University with a distinct nod to old school computer games, such as space invaders, combined with rave culture on a dark denim base. Jade Maule, meanwhile, took us on a clinical journey of transparent latex, pure white, clean lines styled with surgical gloves and statement syringe earrings. In complete contrast Jessica Forber gave the eye plenty to discover with her ‘recycling’ inspired collection featuring PVC check shopping bags recreated into sleeves and multi-coloured tin can tops used like sequinned embellishments. While Nadia Atique closed the show with her flavour of the Middle East meets sportswear stripes in a bold primary palette.
Showcasing a particularly strong roster of talent this year was the University of Salford. Each graduate not only displayed an abundance of individual style but the designs were made to a high standard, and as any successful designer will know a great design can fall flat on its face if it’s not made well. The university proactively promotes technical skills alongside creative thought and development and it really does show. Aaminah Kara set the bar high with a very sophisticated womenswear collection of sweeping floor-length skirts and coats in head-to-toe Aztec prints. Black, glossy and gothic was the overriding mood with Barbara Becha’s collection, power dressing in leather and suede belted at the waist and completed with a sculptural set of wings. Yunrao Chen addressed the recycling issue again with her light-as-air chiffon designs accessorized with bags of plastic bottles and dead fish, leggings emblazoned with ‘the last straw,’ and if that didn’t drive the message home how about a placard stating: ‘just f***ing recycle.’
While Salford were hot on production Northumbria seemed to lead the way with knitwear. Louis Sleightholme, Holly Anne Watson, Ellie Woollard (no pun intended), Kimberley Cheeseman, Emelia Erland and Penny Gibbs were all showcasing knitwear – fine to chunky – in new and exciting ways. From combining knit with contrasting textures to creating structure and shape. For all-out intricate embellishment however take a look at Lucy Leybourne and her colour-happy collection. While Helena Stainthorpe worked this summer’s favourite – the stripe – from fine pinstripes to wide and bold in primary red and blue they certainly made a statement on her oversized coats and separates.
The FC team rounded off the day with an installment from the University of East London, an eclectic mix taking us from the traditional martial arts style from the Far East with Merita Guri’s menswear collection to Irisi Hysa’s whimsical cartoon cat looming large in print and embroidery complete with tassle whiskers – well, if you can’t have fun with your grad collection when can you? Another illustrative style adoring its way onto jackets came courtesy of Francoise Boateng and her interpretation of ‘I’ll show you what a woman is.’ While many opted for fluidity; draping, billowing trails of fabric along with ruffle bibs, layered sleeves, rara skirts and palazzo pants others tightened-up with a more fitted silhouette. Glossy PVC corsetry in deep ruby with lace-up features were the order of the day from Nicola Shephard as she presented her collection of fierce females with lashings of attitude. Being the local university the catwalk auditorium was packed and it was great to hear supportive cheers and claps throughout the entire presentation.
Words JoJo Iles
Catwalk images by Chris Daw and Magda Magdalena Jakubik