Graduate Fashion Week serves as a very good bellwether of where fashion is at in any given year. I remember in the early years, the overriding influence was a Galliano-flavoured one (think deconstructed slip dresses and bias cutting), followed a few years later by McQueen-esque everything (bumster trousers and severely tailored blazers). This year, I predict it will be all very Vetements-meets-Hood-By-Air – that is, oversized puffa coats, deconstructed bombers and utility-luxe details.
What you get with GFW is a good balance of creative thinking and commercial nous. Now in its 26th year, it’s the go-to event for international brands sourcing fresh blood for their design and buying teams, and as such, there’s an effort to produce newness anchored in wearability. At Britain’s most famous design schools it’s clearly been drummed into students that designs absolutely have to sell.
From the selection of designers spotlighted by Graduate Fashion Week as stars of tomorrow, counter culture and youth culture references both retro and modern are omnipresent. From Edinburgh College of Art, Anna Madelena Currie’s collection is big on techy streetwear inspired by gang culture and historical Elizabethan dressing. Hence pieces like a tactile velvet puffa with voluminous sleeves and 3D graphic lettering that mixes casual comfort with a certain glamour (below).
BELOW: ANNA MADELENA CURRIE
From Manchester School of Art, Louis Trainor-Selwyn is championing the rock n roll dandy, having taken a trip to study the opulent interiors of Versailles. A stylist’s dream, his subsequent collection is colour-rich, textural, fun and energetic. And commercial to boot.
BELOW: LOUIS TRAINOR-SELWYN
Olivia Barclay from Nottingham Trent University is another breakthrough talent to look out for. Observing the importance of bedroom culture, her dreamy gauzy coats have ruching and utilitarian zips that take them straight onto the street. Looking at the styling on this one I’m seeing a Rihanna-shaped paparazzi opportunity waiting to happen…
BELOW: OLIVIA BARCLAY
And as fashion itself has become fashionable, there’s been a growth in interest in all the ancillary fashion jobs out there. With the digital fashion revolution, it seems dozens of new job titles have emerged in fashion that didn’t exist ten years ago. I always enjoy checking out the emerging media talent at GFW and this year I’m getting to do that in an official capacity as a judge for the New Media Award.
Graduate Fashion Week is open to everyone from 5th-8th June, with shows every day, plus expert speakers in the Asos talk space. Check out the full schedule of shows and activities at Graduatefashionweek.com and buy show tickets HERE.
WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
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