Class of 2021: The best looks from this year’s Fashion graduates
Fashion is an evolutionary and multi-faceted industry that takes innovations in technology and culture as inspiration. Our fashion courses offer students the chance to explore the fashion world, from design and styling to communicating and influencing change within the industry. Our BA (Hons) Fashion Design and BA (Hons) Fashion Communication courses provide comprehensive arts education for independent fashion thinkers, makers and communicators.
Students of both courses had the opportunity to showcase their graduate work at their Summer Shows. BA (Hons) Fashion Communication students displayed their work from their studio windows on the fourth floor of Plymouth College of Art, followed by an exhibition in the college’s Warehouse on Regent Street. In addition, the students, along with other courses from the School of Design + Communication, hosted an influencer event ‘The New Next’, held at The Kitchen & Terrace Bar at The Box, which invited attendees to chat to the Class of 2021, hear about their work and what inspires them. BA (Hons) Fashion Design students culminated their studies with a fashion catwalk show of their final collections at the Market Hall, in Devonport, Plymouth’s new £7.6m world class space for digital innovation and learning.
Highlighting the excellence of creativity from the Class of 2021 cohort, the following students were also selected for this year’s Graduate Fashion Week, one of the UK’s leading international events for fashion graduates, held at Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross, London, proving how their enthusiasm and drive for success has already begun to pay off. Let’s meet them.
Eve Copper is a conceptual fashion designer based in Devon, specialising in sustainable fashion systems and processes. Having been a former business owner and professional creative, while juggling life as a parent and environmental activist with an interest in modern economic theory, Eve has used her degree to focus on engineering solutions. Focussing on environmental and social deficits, which exist in the design, manufacture and distribution of fashion, her approach to design is holistic, seeking to incorporate longevity, inclusivity and economic circularity into garment manufacture, consumer interface and disposal.
Eve’s final collection, ‘Re-fuse’, offers a range of solution-based multiway modular garment systems. The collection is built using fusible components that playfully transform into multiple outfit configurations, utilising bespoke innovative fastening techniques, adaptive features and reversibility. The collection boasts being sustainable, natural, biodegradable and organic, including the use of UK wool, organic cotton and linen, hemp and silk. Her final collection, in conjunction with her Eve Collective rental platform offers a future proof vision for the modern consumer.
Eve said, “Following graduation, I’ll be setting up a studio-share, where I plan to establish the Eve Copper fashion brand, focusing on sustainable fashion created for rental fashion platforms. I believe there is some room left in the burgeoning fashion rental market for a small brand that offers sustainable and UK designer maker designs, including graduate collections to the rental community.”
Matt Banham aspires to work in styling and art direction, creating a portfolio of styling and photography presented through media and graphic design as a fantasy campaign for his final major project. Currently working as a paid intern for Ignite Futures, Matt’s creative specialisms include digital content creation, styling, art direction and photography.
For his final major project, he created a half-human, half-robot pop star, Evie, played by himself, spanning genres, genders and species. Based in the late 2030s and early 2040s, Evie represents visual ideologies of celebrity culture along with showcasing the possibilities of fame in the future. With a fascination for what is to come next, Matt creates and innovates new and exciting concepts surrounding the future of the creative world.
Matt said, “Evie was an alternative name option that my parents chose for me before I was born, therefore, it felt pertinent to honour their wishes and give this character a meaningful name. Evie allows me to combine many creative mediums and use the art of drag to produce something beautiful. The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted my degree, but it’s forced me to think outside the box, allowing me to develop my creative vision in order to continue producing high quality work. My BA (Hons) Fashion Communication degree has provided me with the opportunity to grow as an artist and work towards my career aspirations within the fashion industry.”
Phoebe Orman is a designer that specialises in sustainable fashion, with her collection ‘Raw Beauty’ already making a statement at Graduate Fashion Week after being nominated for the Fashion Concept Award 2021. Wanting to make the world a better place, Phoebe’s final major project focuses on the idea of restoring our world by recognising our role in nature and understanding that we must learn to fit in with our environment as modern day human activities are no longer within nature’s limits.
‘Raw Beauty’ addresses how we must consciously intervene and recognise that we have an important role in maintaining balance on Earth, exploring viable solutions such as regenerative based practice. The difference between sustainable and regenerative practice is that a sustainable approach has no further impact on the environment where regenerative goes beyond this neutral point and restores aspects of the global system that have been disrupted.
The collection involved processes that focussed on the ‘raw beauty’ of the materials, aiming to control the fabric as little as possible, letting the textiles naturally take their own shape. Throughout the collection, there is experimentation with different methods of joining pieces, with Phoebe de-constructing and reconstructing materials to find more resourceful ways of manipulating the fabric.
Phoebe said, “Inspired by the raw beauty of natural materials, ‘Raw Beauty’ investigates how we can sustain a healthy relationship with the planet by working around what the environment has to offer. It’s impossible to create the ideal world, but we can definitely find better ways to fit in with the world. In order to change our ecological footprint and restore our relationship with the Earth, we must culturally evolve by adapting our ways.”
Emily Skinner has been a blogger since 2016, writing about fashion, lifestyle and beauty, even giving lectures to her BA (Hons) Fashion Communication cohort about blogging. Specialising in digital content marketing and content creation, Emily has developed skills during her degree to include marketing, branding and fashion videography, broadening her adaptability within the industry.
Meticulous and passionate, Emily strongly believes in creative collaborations and helped set up the Fashion Communication Class of 2021 website. With experience as a social media manager for a local rugby club and having worked as a photographer for the Fashion Communication influencer event, The New Next, Emily’s final major project has seen her set up her own content creation agency, ‘Thirty Five’ which is based in Plymouth and already has its own set of clients, including household brand name Zalando.
Emily said, “The launch of my content agency as part of my final major project was spurred on by the online transition caused by the pandemic. It was vital for all businesses to build an online presence in order to maintain customer relationships and most importantly, survive. After analysing a gap in the market, I wanted to create a content agency supplying brands with the services they might need to aid this transition, such as content creation, social media management and branding at an affordable price.”
Plymouth College of Art’s 2021 Summer Shows are part of the IGNITE Festival of Creativity, which connects creative graduates, businesses and members of the public in exciting new ways to spark employability, drive community engagement and develop new creative economy opportunities across Plymouth and beyond. IGNITE ran until 19 July, putting a unique spin on the traditional art degree show model by combining online technology with physical installations and exhibitions in community spaces to showcase work by graduates from Plymouth College of Art and the University of Plymouth.
IGNITE, which has been shortlisted in the 2021 HEIST Awards for Best Student Engagement Campaign or Initiative, is supported by Plymouth City Council as part of the iMayflower project, and by The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, who fund the Cultural Development Fund (administered by Arts Council England).