We went backstage at Graduate Fashion Week on Sunday 2 June to capture the buzz and excitement of the event, as our BA (Hons) Fashion students prepped their collections for the catwalk and our BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Marketing students exhibited their work on our stand.
Taking place at London’s Old Truman Brewery in the heart of Shoreditch, the annual four-day event draws huge crowds and worldwide coverage with its mix of shows, workshops, demos and talks, and the likes of Swarovski, FatFace, Clarks and Givenchy offering opportunities for the latest wave of fashion innovators.
For our students, Graduate Fashion Week is a unique chance to meet industry contacts, recruiters and brand’s face to face and the opportunity to kick-start their careers within some of the world’s most globally successful brands. Big names in the fashion industry like Gok Wan, Henry Holland, Hilary Alexander OBE, fashion house Ralph Lauren, and Gap have been amongst the speakers at the GFW panel talks this year.
In the run-up to the event, it was announced that two of our students, one each from BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Marketing and BA (Hons) Fashion, were shortlisted for GFW Awards, fashion & sportswear designer and third-year student Chantelle Brown was shortlisted for the CONSIDERED DESIGN AWARD powered by Farfetch and menswear stylist and third-year student Ethan Penn was shortlisted for the FASHION STYLING & CREATIVE DIRECTION AWARD sponsored by Size?.
“A key takeaway for Fashion was to see our graduates transform on the stand... speaking confidently about their work with industry and exchanging ideas with their peers.” — Heather Martin, BA (Hons) Fashion Programme Leader
“My approach draws heavily from male identities and masculine ideals, reshaping and rebranding them in an unorthodox fashion. I experiment with traditional archetypes and champion more alternative and camp aesthetics." — Ethan Penn
“For my collection, I have used an army surplus parachute, Lycra made of recycled plastic bottles and fishing nets, and my other materials are all end of roll or offcuts. My business cards are made from old recycled t-shirts and my tags are made from wood. I wanted to demonstrate that you can take the waste from the oceans and using clever technologies, transform it into materials which can go on to create garments.” — Chantelle Brown
We also spotted MA Disruptive Design student Essi Peuhkuri on the YKK stand showcasing two items from her award-winning ‘Minussa’ collection, the result of her winning the YKK Accessories Award last year at Graduate Fashion Week.
Following major retailer Size?’s partnering with Reebok, four of our students were granted exclusive early access to the all-new Slice silhouette, where they were given free roam to transform the model as they pleased to fit in with their fashion collection ready for the Graduate Fashion Week catwalk.
With industry directors, stylists, influencers and more from the world of fashion taking a seat in the front row, BA (Hons) Fashion students Jade Rogers, Millie Kelly, Jenni Moorby and Cat Jeffries took to the catwalk with their latest collections in the GFW Collective Showcase.
Designer, Jade Rogers kicked off the Plymouth College of Art showcase with her structured, honeycomb-inspired collection, accessorised with jewellery made by BA (Hons) 3D Design Crafts student and jeweller Ruby Butler. Her designs proved popular with her collection being selected as Editor’s Pick by AFI Magazine resulting in a double page feature, she was also asked to meet with Givenchy for an interview to discuss her work.
Millie Kelly’s versatile collection featured interchangeable overalls in deep blues and earthy tones. They are made in such a way that the wearer can customise their clothing - with bottoms that can be worn as both trousers and skirts, depending on the way you wrap them, and bibs, which you can attach to the trouser/skirt to make it into a pinafore or dungarees.
With floral prints and check taking centre stage, Jenni Moorby’s collection has two halves to it. The first, a homage and celebration of ‘80s queer fashion; the second is all about sustainability, traceability and transparency. Jenni’s garments all have QR codes on them; when you scan them on your phone it takes you through to a website which will tell you all the traceability information.
Following the ‘80s homage, designer Cat Jeffries based her collection on the representation of ‘lad’ culture during that time. Referencing the overexaggerated brand logos in films like ‘The Firm’, the collection featured reflective detailing, dark base colours, and the name of her collection, ‘BLOKE’ printed large on the garments.
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