GFW 2014 - Talent Preview

Focus On Fabric
Emily Arabadjian visited ten final year fashion design students from UCA Epsom to find out about the materials and fabrics they are using in their graduate collections.

Lavinia Cadar, womenswear
Working with pure silks and wools, Lavinia has created a very contemporary collection. She understands how to best combine colours for an eye-catching presentation and merges crimson red with teal blue. Lavinia decided to bond vinyl with wool to “contrast with the luxury parts of the collection”. While vinyl emphasises on the sharp lines of her designs, the wool softens the garments. The collection and its strong asymmetrical lines were influenced by Picasso’s cubist paintings and particularly the character of the harlequin. Look forward to seeing Lavinia’s precisely cut designs in  the future.

Katie Simmonds, womenswear
Katie’s graduate collection started with the idea of bioluminescence (light generated by living organisms). She was especially interested in light-emitting deep-sea creatures. Her garments are coloured in many shades of purples, blues and reds, imitating underwater hues. The designer chose to use (sparkly) meshes and spandex jersey which allows for stretching pipes into the fabrics to create a wavy effect. The sparkly meshes also serve to emulate the underwater glows. Katie enjoys the designing phase and making toiles, saying that “you can see how it works out and if you’ve failed it’s easy to move on.”

Michelle Lewis, womenswear
Basing her collection on cowboys and burlesque dancers, Michelle surely has come up with an interesting combination, making it a “mix of the really masculine and the feminine”. Using leather fringing, glitter on cotton, power mesh and disco jersey, the collection resembles a “patchwork of black”. The only pop of colour will be a neon red gracing the models lips and nails at the presentation, adding to the image of a “very classic, hyperfeminine woman”. Michelle’s favourite part of designing is the styling: “I like thinking about how to put the garments together, who might wear them and what their character would be like”.

Zahra Azam, womenswear
Zahra takes traditional African costumes and techniques and compares them to African urban 70s wear. By combining both, she has created a colourful collection consisting of an array of different materials. While her main fabric is cotton, Zahra also included neoprene, wool, organza and leather in her designs. Applique also plays a big part, being used in many different ways. Her colour chart is based on energetic hues like navy blue, lime green and orange coral, allowing for maximum impact. Accessory-wise, boombox handbags, headbands and 90s trainers with appliques on their platforms enrich the collection.

Poppy Gooderick, womenswear
Keeping all of her designs in white, Poppy allows the viewer to explore the texture of her final year collection. Her light designs contain a mixture of sheers and lightweight cottons which she covers with gel medium mixed with paint. Adding glitter to some fabrics, a playful and feminine element emerges and contrasts nicely with the otherwise industrial collection. Poppy’s designs have a good mixture of silhouettes, including a body-suit, a dress, a couple of trousers and some jackets, making it a collection offering various shapes for different tastes.

Junaid Nasar, menswear
Junaid is using a diverse range of materials and including both organic and manmade elements in his designs. Linen, cotton, wool, felt, leather, nylon, neoprene, metal and many more decorate his garments. To keep the collection balanced Junaid decided to primarily use two colours, navy blue and pink. His choice was influenced by a street festival in Pakistan which he stumbled upon by accident on a visit to the country. Apart of clothes, his collection also carries a couple of bags, one being a pink oversized envelope bag with leather straps and the other a slouchy sack bag.

Jude Leonard, womenswear
The focal points of Jude’s collection are the oversized teddy bears and bunny rabbits which are incorporated into her designs. She developed her own teddy bear patterns, enlarging and changing the fabrics to make them look slightly misshapen. Apart of using different furs, she also worked with leathers, coated cottons and jersey. The collection leans on utility and sportswear with an emphasis on outerwear. Her designs are kept in dark burgundy, grey and orange hues. Jude’s favourite part of creating her collection was working with the furs and putting the garments together.

Munuse Agagil, womenswear
Munuse’s collection consists of two materials – wool and elastic fabric. Her minimalist designs were inspired by the journey of the war bride and also include military elements. Dresses as well as trousers and a coat add a balance to her collection. Munuse also makes use of clashing colours, referring to one palette of neutrals and greys and another featuring brighter colours. By bringing to life her final year collection, the designer learned that simple garments can be difficult to construct and equally effective as complicated and intricate designs.

Imogen Bowman, womenswear
Inspired by the work of Mark Rothko and Robert Rauschenberg, Imogen has created a collection with a heavy art influence. She coloured her designs in dark grey, cobalt blue, white and added a bright orange “to make the collection pop”. Working mainly with silks, leathers and denims, she compares her designs to artworks. Her lightweight dresses “have frayed edges and blur into each other like they would in a painting”. Imogen knew from the beginning that her collection would be based on textiles and kept experimenting until she found the right way of representing the artworks through clothing.

Brooke Grindlay, womenswear
After visiting a fisherman’s village on Mersea island, Brooke decided to base her collection on elements of fishing. She incorporates nets into her designs by using macramé and knitting techniques. By working with neoprene, jersey and waxed coating the designer keeps the collection contemporary. White, grey and beige help direct the focus to the fabrics while bursts of neon orange make for a bold contrast. Objects trapped in the nets add depth to the collection and provide details to look out for. The slightly sporty collection is rounded off by brown, chunky heels covered in macramé.

Words and photography by Emily Arabadjian

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