London College of Fashion kicks off the year of MA/BA shows with names, names and more names to vaguely remember for the future.  Though it's like that it's the ideas, a particular motifs or a technique that lingers longer in memory.  LCF's MA exhibition at Bloomsbury House, showcasing the final projects of the fashion artefact, digital fashion, fashion curation and footwear to name but a few, just gets bigger and better, year on year.  So much so, that I've had to split out my posts on both the exhibition at the MA show which was held once again at the V&A's Raphael Hall last Thursday.  I'll kick off with fashion artefact and footwear design, the part of the exhibition that was particularly impressive not only because the designs left an impression but also that they had real sustainable legs.  You forgot that these were MA graduate projects but looked at them as though they were viable products, ready to go to market and that was the case for a lot of the students anyway which makes it doubly exciting to watch out for.  

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Ruth Holland (MA Fashion Artefact)

The upcycling concept of putting rubbish to good use isn't anything new but you would never guess that Ruth Holland's pastel hued neck confectionary was made out of industrial waste materials.  String and plastic cording find their way into multi-coloured configurations that are twisted together with traditional rope-making techniques.  It's the delicious application of colour that really transforms this waste into something special.  

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Linda Holten Ramsvik (MA Fashion Artefact)

LCF has seen some real travel bag gems come through in the last few years such as Sarah Williams and her unexpectedly cuved handmade luggage.  Linda Holten Ramsvik looks to add herself to that category with her final project that was inspired by travelling and the multi-purpose needs for the modern day bag carrier.  Proving her point, I myself was carrying a heavy DSLR, a leather tote bag and a smaller handbag.  Her creations here negates that need with her two or even three in one bags.  Safari waistcoats come with a hood and huge pockets.  A sunglasses carrier holds four glasses.  A granny grocery trolley gets a neat transformation into something sleek (I secretly wish I could get away with a granny trolley, what with my weak wrists).  Texture in the form of deconstructed Norwegian embroidery prevents the line-up from looking too flat.  

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Hoon Chung (MA Fashion Footwear)

3D printing is slowly cropping up in fashion in a way that means anytime soon, I'm going to have to go and see it for myself because I still can't quite believe that a 3D object with facets, curves and highly specific shapes can be printed out.  The very word print throws me off entirely.  Hoon Chung's 3D printed shoes opens up the eyes to the possibility of a pair of shoes coming out of a "printer".  They're very much in line with the sort of thoughtful innovation that the likes of Helen Furber worked on when she was at LCF, rethinking the traditional shoe makine process and pushing the field forward  into an unpredictable place.  

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Anne Gammelgaard (MA Fashion Artefact)

Not every graduate approached their final project with the goal to put out a commercial collection of products.  Anne Gammelgaard based her artefact design on a character – a  thing-finder rooting through a post-apocalyptic scenario to create instruments that will aid her on her special mission.  It's as if Gammelgaard is writing a film and creating the props for it with complete conviction.  As per her character's story, all the materials are found which shows the breadth of what upcycling can really do.  

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Cat Potter (MA Fashion Footwear)

Cat Potter's wooden "shoes" landed in my inbox a while back and they got me salivated for the exhibition if her peers were going to be anywhere near as focused as her collection.  Working with University College London and their 3-axis milling machines, normally used in architecture to create much larger scale building components, Cat wanted to bypass the conventional shoe components and create an object out of wood that would gradually build up from a rectangular block to a more shoe-like sandal shape.  Functionality wasn't the goal here as Cat wanted to explore an entirely alternative mode of construction.  Blending in furniture and architecture into footwear isn't entirely new but it's interesting that these "shoes" take the methodology behind those aforementioned fields  and applies them to footwear.  It's an extreme that can really only be appreciated when you see Cat's future work which hopefully we will see more of.

 

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Christina Hamilton (MA Fashion Artefact)

If I had passed Christina Hamilton's work a year ago, I might not have been as interested in her saddlery led bike accessories.  The Tweed Run experience of last year and the fact that Steve has just got himself a handsome new bike makes Christina's work suddenly all the more relevant.  Not that she needs fairweather cyclists like myself.  Whether it's down to Boris bikes or not, London is a cyclist-heavy city and handsome accessories that don't sacrifice aesthetic for functionality will only become higher in demand.  Christina hopes to develop a business out of her leather bike wares that are made using traditional saddlery techniques and on the bikes at the exhibition, her pieces already looked like they were ready to hit the road.      

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Chi Yuen (MA Fashion Footwear)

I actually met Chi (also called Cherry) back in 2008 in San Francisco as part of the Arts of Fashion competition.  She was doing womenswear back then but has refocused on footwear and has since gained work experience at the likes of Celine and Alexander Wang.  Her graduate collection is really geared towards launching a solo brand.  The warped and draped leather as well as the ruching of fur are unexpected details in this highly polished collection.  These extremities are tempered enough to the point where you can already see them walking down the street, a recurring theme with a lot of the MA Fashion Artefacts/Footwear graduates.    

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Jen Wang (MA Fashion Artefact)

I was trying to rack my brains to see whether previous LCF fashion artefacts students had done sunglasses and in fact Jen Wang is the first one to do it.  It was also the first time I'd ever tried on anything at a graduate exhibition which made the reality of Jen Wang bringing these glasses to production, all the more appealing.  Based on bipolar personalities and the sunglasses as a face-changer, these highly complex designs really put Wang's sunglasses in a different league from the bulk of standardised frames that exist.  Designers sunglasses so often rely on the strength of a brand or a logo and Jen Wang really opens up the opportunties of pushing sunnies to becoming the central focus rather than the tack-on accessory.  Incidentally, it was also in China that Jen made these exquisite sunglasses, which sheds light on how the Made in China label will inevitably change in the future.  Another Wang to add into the fashion fold would be no bad thing if we were able to get our mitts on sunglasses of this ilk.  

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Comments (27)

  1. Such beautiful and dramatic pieces. The real standouts in there for me is Chi Yueng’s booties. It’s not super couragious of me, but I would wear these in a heart beat.

  2. I went yesterday and I really loved the exhibition. I was mostly impressed by the Fashion Design Technology graduates as you can see on my blog. My bf really loved these sunglasses and I think a lot of people would buy them. And the shoes! I think it’s overall great work and inspiring ideas.
    missredsocks.blogspot.com

  3. Kazuko says:

    Ruth Holland’s designs… amazing. have to remember this name…

  4. Melanie says:

    I am blown away by the 3D printed shoes. I have been reading your blog for a while and enjoy it very much. Your thought-provoking pieces come across with such ease and your breadth of knowledge about designers is captivating. Obviously, you have genuine passion for what you are doing. If I may be so bold, you are like the Bill Cunningham of fashion/style writers. I am also a great admirer of your own exciting style sense, which often inspires me in my clothing choices. Thanks. PS Love your new specs.

  5. Loving the colors that Ruth Holland uses. But I deifnately like Cat Potters work the most. Inovative in thinking AND execution, very powerfull. Have to remember those names.
    L.
    http://snakeskinjacket.wordpress.com/

  6. J. says:

    Comment unrelated to the post, I just read this: “Of course, there are people out there who organise their outfits in advance, borrow clothes from designers and make a big and fabulous show of themselves to fan the flames of their online careers and web fashion fame. Hello Anna Dello Russo, Susie Bubble, Kristin Knox, Fran Burns and co, not to mention the hordes of fashion-obsessed students trying to get noticed. I wish I was more inclined to play the fashion game their way, but I’m not. No matter. Fashion-paparazzo not withstanding these are the clothes I want for fashion week.” written on Melanie Rickey, Fashion Editor at Large blog. I must say she cannot be more wrong! Would you like to comment it, or you are already used to comments as this one?
    J.

  7. Serdane says:

    Interesting collection ! A little bit weird, I think that some shoes should definitely be on Gaga’s feet. I love the touch of lightness and purity.
    http://www.younglington.wordpress.com

  8. eva says:

    love this post
    i like ruth’s work
    it’s really amazing simple
    the colours are just great for spring

  9. susie_bubble says:

    I know Mel Rickey in person and I’m sure she didn’t mean any ill will with this comment. To be honest, there is in fact a fanfare with fashion week outfits and people DO spend a lot of time putting it all together in advance. I don’t think it’s fair to ASSUME that everyone is doing it to “fan the flames of their online careers and web fashion fame.” This was the only slightly negative undertone that I detected in Rickey’s post.
    I can only really speak for myself and that is that yes, I do plan my outfits because the fact is you don’t really want to pick up some random Japanese magazine six months later and find a shit picture of yourself in there. Of course you want to look good at fashion week and of course it’s a compliment to get snapped by Tommy and co, but for me it’s absolutely NOT the primary motivation of getting dressed. For a start, I don’t necessarily have a car to take me around shows. I do a LOT of shows in every city except for Milan and on a practical level, I need to think about dressing in a way that will get me moving faster. Then there’s the weather. All of these factors mean that my outfit first and foremost serves my needs rather than those of any street style photographers.
    To put me in the same bracket as Anna Dello Russo is insane – I don’t borrow new season pieces and I don’t have the funds to buy the latest collections either. If anything, I’m finding myself turning to vintage pieces or digging into older things I have in my wardrobe just because I need to make sure that my outfits reflect ME and not necessarily the latest trends/collections. It’s actually my way of keeping sane and NOT joining this circus.
    So in short, she’s half right, half wrong for me but in any case – it’s a weird assembly of people there and they can’t really be put into the same category.
    This is food for thought though – perhaps I will do a post to address this imminent flagrant hot topic as the next round of shows come around.

  10. It is disheartening to know that 21 baby stores are shut down in Bay areas. I go through the video and feeling very sad to know about the poor economic conditions. Thanks for highlighting this situation at Bay ares.

  11. Tara India says:

    Those sunglasses are amazing, I wish I could get my hands on some! xox
    http://myobsessiondujour.blogspot.com/

  12. outfitpost says:

    wow. everyting from art to architecture to film, but fashion

  13. Louise says:

    I dearly love the footwear of Hoon Chung! The wooden shoes of Cat Potter are intriguing, I’d love to see them on a person. All the designs you’ve shown are so full of imagination and creativity!!

  14. dairees@mac.com says:

    Great to see your all loving my students work.
    Rock on MA ARTEFACT & MA FOOTWEAR
    DAI

  15. J. says:

    I wanted to add a P.S. before I saw your answer (but it’s moving day for me, and didn’t had the time for the P.S.), saying that I didn’t intend to write it in a ‘mean’ voice, or with a mean purpose. As with the debate over front-row bloggers, I think this question of personal style is also worth addressing, and sincerely cannot wait to read your post on the subject!
    I also just ‘had to’ post it, because for me (and I don’t say/write this because I want collect Susie points, or whatever reason there may be out there :) ), your style is original in many aspects, and is not subject to trends, changeable according to what fashion-paparazzi will be looking for, it is actually one of the most unique, personal and in continuance out there. We can all tell what will A. Dello Russo wear next time Fashion week comes in town (well not exactly what she will be wearing, but you get my idea).
    Let the fashion caravan begin! ;)
    J.

  16. S says:

    I like Anna Gammelgaard’s work, it doesnt seem like she really produced material things at least not as the end in itself or for consumption, i wonder if her final work was film stills or photographs of what she made.x

  17. Those rope necklaces are f-ing AMAZING! So fresh!
    http://www.RocksPaperMetal.com

  18. Anna Gammelgaard says:

    Dear S, I made 7 artefacts, and a short-film. I will upload some proper product shoots on my website soon, that shows the actual artefacts.
    xx Anna
    http://www.annagammelgaard.com

  19. Sam says:

    Love these pieces. So much style and inspiration

  20. I can’t wait for more posts! When will you update your interesting blog?

  21. FLOS says:

    I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style of blogging. I added it to my favorites web page list and will be checking back soon.

  22. S says:

    Awesome!! Thnks so much for the info, i look forward to seeing more of your work.xo

  23. kingfashion says:

    Very unique! I like it!

  24. Viktor Uslov says:

    Your students kicked-off during their fashion show. They spotted what will be their object to catch audience’s attention. Great job teacher! It’s time to kick off a party!

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