• Fashion Revolution Day begins @fash_rev Will be asking throughout the day - who made your clothes?  Hope everyone joins in! #InsideOut (pic via @gettyfashion)
  • It was announced a while ago but wanted to say how happy I am to have been asked to select Dress of the Year 2013 at Fashion Museum in Bath. My choice was this @christopherkanestudio SS13 beauty.
  • Love this concertina beach scene print on @marios_official tote available at @therefineryhk now! #PMQIS
  • Congrats to my cousin @elizabethlauldn and her new shop @therefineryhk in the new PMQ building @PMQHKDesign #PMQIS much love for @BernstockSpeirs bunny ears!
  • Love that I always see the best pieces by Brit designers abroad @nicoll_studio @liger_hk

My return to Graduate Fashion Week after two years of absence in coverage, didn't exactly end well.  Just before the Gala show was about to kick off, I literally lurched into a cab feeling like someone was repeatedly punching me in the stomach and then commited the ultimate Londoner's no-no which I swore I'd never do – I threw up in the taxi.  Cue two days of feeling sorry for myself and passing whatever it is I have over to Steve.  Apologies on the dour note to begin a post about what is in fact an exuberant outpouring of talent from Graduate Fashion Week.  With two days of nothing to do but to go back and forth between toilet and computer, I've had a ton of time to sort out my photos from GFW, gathering up my personal stand-out designers to do this round-up.  This is by no means comprehensive or reflective of what the entirity of GFW has to offer.  There are colleges that don't hold shows and there were students whose portfolios I either couldn't find or didn't have time to look through.  It is a but a small sampling though of what a) the GFW Gala show (the "best" 25 collections of GFW) showcased and b) how textiles in particularly was a strong point, even when the students hadn't specifically specialised in textiles.  I saw also tons of collections, which I loved but didn't have the right image assets for and couldn't fit into this mammoth of a post.  So err… yes please, don't blame me if you think there are serious omissions… 

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Lauren Smith (Edinburgh College of Art) - I guess it makes sense to start with the overall George Gold Award winner of GFW, Lauren Smith, who walked away with ¬£20,000.  It was definitely up there in my personal top ten but it wasn't by any means a forgone conclusion that Lauren would nab the prize.  What impressed Roland Mouret, the Gold Award judge was Lauren's personality and how intrinsically personaly this collection felt to the jury.  Her inspiration point was perhaps the simplest – the physical object and relationship you have with a sketchbook – but she got the maximum amount of output from a simple source.  Scribbles are turned into intricate embroidery, loopy doodles are transformed into charming hand-drawn prints, book bindings become oversized blanket stitches and paper clips are made oversized out of acrylic.  It's this heartfelt combination that came together in an unexpected way, representing the very action of how most creatives put pen to paper in a sketchbook and cherish that interaction.  

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Adam Jones (Manchester School of Art) - Taking inspiration from run down urban settings and derelict environments isn't anything new but Adam Jones managed to take those grainy textures and scrawled-over tones of grey and mauve to produce something witty and aesthetically interesting.  It's a personal perspective of a country dweller experiencing a city and noticing all the textural nuances that people who grew up in cities may have ignored.  Painted leather jackets made to look like creased up paper or gravel, laddered knitwear mimicing traffic lines on the roads and CCTV jacket digital prints all come together triumphantly.  No overpopulated city is complete with pigeons or stray cats and they turn up painted on the front of a "pussy" skirt and on the back of a biker jacket.  Turns out Mugatu had his finger on the pulse afterall when it came to Derelicte fashion.  

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Rebecca Howarth (Manchester School of Art)Grey Gardens is yet another overmined influence but the innate eccentricity of its characters and aesthetic is why it is the inspiration fountain that doesn't stop flowing.  Rebecca Howarth went for a print mix that was an endearing mix of ditzy Liberty florals, checks and gentle geometrics layered up into voluminous pieces that sometimes had a touch of relaxed Japanese yukata robes or if duvets were imaginatively trussed up around the body into billowing garments.  That's a good thing of course.  Whilst there were a lot of in-yer-face and high decibel print mixes on show at Graduate Fashion Week, it was nice to see something gentle making impact.  

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Mark Glasgow (Manchester School of Art) – **Warning** I'm not saying this was my absolute fave menswear collection.  It isn't necessarily my domain of speciality.  However, I was charmed by Mark Glasgow's portfolio and cheery print mix.  Primary shaded nostalgia will always get my vote and Mark presented a really upbeat collection made up of simple brush stroke prints and Beano-esque illustrations.  Oh, and he did a separate presentation project themed around Disneyland.  Nuff' said.    

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Kim Phillips (De Montfort) – There were a LOT OF streetwear/sportswear stranded collections in the entirity of GFW.  It was tough to wittle down which ones merited a place in the final Gala show as there were a few that bordered on being samey.  It was a case of deciding which collection had the balls and the conviction to really go to extremes and Kim Phillips certainly did that with her posh vs. poor collection, where cats/dogs meets florals meets rainwear.  Whilst there's a lot to take in visually, Kim has essentially designed a good old outerwear collection appropriate for British wet summers.  There was plenty of handwork on show too.  She altered the traditional "posh" checks by hand colouring areas for unexpected colour combos.  She bleached out her own floral designs to get an ombre effect.  She trapped mohair under vinyl coatings to build up volume.  Oh and no poodles were hurt in the process of creating pieces like her focal piece – the "Poodle Coat" as seen below.  

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©AsiaWerbel2013--9Photography by Asia Werbel

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Tram Nguyen¬© - Kim Phillips - 4276Photography by Tram Nguyen

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Georgia Jazz Burns (University of Central Lancashire) – Georgia Jazz Burns (good name, no?) also goes down the sportswear path, albeit in a more subtle direction.  The dodgy shellsuitonce again gets resurrected but Georgia does do well to avoid any previously seen faux sportswear pastiche by debossing a floral motif onto bonded fabrics to get an unexpected relief.  By sticking with a strict palette of white, royal and navy blue, Georgia also creates the feeling of a focused uniform – the type that you'd be itching to wear.  That relaxed oversized silhouette of 80s leisurewear is referenced intentionally but thankfully the collection steers clear of any hint of retro.  

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Rosie Ingleby (Kingston) – Kingston's show veered towards the conceptual at times, eschewing the usual uni tricks of digital print, textural pow-wow and shock tactics.  Instead there were quite a few thorough collections which attempted to achieve raw-edged minimalism.  Rosie Ingleby turned to asymmetry and imbalance as a basis for her final collection.  It worked best in the demi-coats and bikers, and in the chopped up half robes and disjointed jeans.  The half and half thing (or in Ingleby's case the theme was "Lost and Found") isn't entirely new but the way the garments come together in different formations (ones that actually work) is definitely a more plausible attempt at creating a transformative garment.  

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Yi Yin (Kingston) – Kingston did stark, brutal and disjointed well.  Yi Yin's collection in the course of the show was probably a little out of sync with the rest not least because of its perceived prettiness.  Yin's garden of florals is frozen into creamy tweeds, vinyl trapped lace and grid-like cut-outs.  This was probably about as lady-lady as it got at GFW.  

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Hannah Williams (UCA Epsom) – I'm not going to lie.  I was rooting for Hannah Williams to scoop the Gold Award but was equally pleased that she got the Womenswear Award.  Hannah's collection of relief silicone (silicone guys, NOT latex as many have reported) pieces in delicate shades of pastel was a really tightly focused and rigorous collection of thorough research and high-level execution.  Inspired by the surreal sculpture work of Daniel Arsham and 1920s flapper girl jewellery, Hannah tried different methods of creating illusions of seams, pockets and statement jewellery.  Finally, she settled on using silicone, pouring it into moudls to create convincing garments.  Beyond this phenomenal collection what was really exciting to see was the potential of what Hannah can do with this technique.  It's similar to what Jackie J.S. Lee happed upon in her MA collection of foam-padded stitched detailing and has since been able to evolve her signature style.  Hannah thought she might continue to develop these techniques in jewellery or accessories as well as potentially at MA level.  Everyone's essentially one to watch but Hannah is definitely the one to watch.  

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Patricia Williams (Ravensbourne) – There's no denying the J.W. Anderson-esque aesthetic that runs through Patricia Williams, but naturally the collection had a feminine filter running through it.  Icy white square quilting, soft shaded grey and mustard mohair sweaters and padded kilts make for an enticing mix indeed.  Patricia's got her fingers in other exciting pies though and I'll be looking at her other final year project slash fledgling business business Termite Eyewear soon when their website launches.    

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Josephine Pettman aka Phiney Pet (Ravensbourne) – As mentioned before, GFW was high on textiles talent and I found a particularly potent trio of graduates from Ravensbourne, one of the strongest shows at GFW.  Josephine Pettman aka Phiney Pet opened the show and also made it to the final Gala with a Girl/Grrrl power collection, which plays up Phiney's strengths in sickly sweet illustration.  I want to be all clever and reference a bunch of graphic artists but the only comparison I can come up with is an ultra feminine version of Alan Moore.  They're scrawlings that work best on the penned and inked leather pieces, particularly the biker jacket, which Phiney was sporting a faded prototype of when I went to see her at the Ravensbourne stand.  Just as you think it's going to be a weet and sickly affair with the pet kittens, felt-tipped lunchboxes and girl power moodboards, then you get something quite cartoonishly sinister coming at you in the form of Medusa snakes, flies in cupcakes and bloody gore.  Her skills could apply to all manner of media but on hand painted garments, there's definitely a point of difference that Phiney can exploit in the future.  

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Leanne Warren (Ravensbourne) – Another brilliant illustrator in the Ravensbourne mix was Leanne Warren's pink-hued look at religious idolatry.  It wouldn't be surprising if Baz Luhrmann's crucifix and Virgin Mary prop set ups in his version of Romeo and Juliet didn't have a hand in Leanne's final collection.  The way that Leanne has illustrated her cast of goddesses and female idols is particularly distinctive and left a visual imprint on the brain.  It's a signature she could carry on in Julian Opie-esque fashion.  Beyond cute illustrations though, Leanne presented convincing garments that didn't just rely on the intricacy of the printwork.   

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Clio Peppiatt (Ravensbourne) – On Twitter, I remarked that Clio Peppiatt could lay claim to Jeremy Scott's heir/heiress throne when I saw her oozing hamburger print jacket.  That might be a tad simplistic a comparison and whilst ghetto fabulous stylings has infiltrated quite a few of the collections seen at GFW, Clio's take on feminine blinged out extremities is definitely memorable.  Mushrooms grow over palm printed latex, currency gets personalised with Clio's imagination and gold chains intermingle with flora and fauna.  Again, even though Clio specialised in textiles print, there was a real sense of a collection here, as opposed to just a display of prints.  I'd love for Clio to try her hand at another subject matter and see what her illustrator's hand would produce.   

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Chen Yu Wang (Ravensbourne) – GFW didn't produce a whole heap of knitwear collections as it has in other years.  That's just how the graduate dice rolls sometimes.  The ones that did stand out however such as Chen Yu Wang's collection was therefore memorable in its own right.  Chen Yu, who hails from Taiwan tells her story of coming from a different country to the UK and branching out from her protective family, with her highly imaginative knitwear collection combined with endearing hand drawn illustrations, printed on neoprene.  The workings of Chen Yu's brain must be like a children's playground because the outpouring of illustrations in her sketchbook were quite simply magical.  The printed neoprene added a different dimension to the whimsical knitted and appliqued mohair pieces.  

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Thea Sanders (Nottingham Trent University) – It's no surprise that a student from Nottingham Trent, with its extremely strong knitwear course, took home the Stuart Peters Visionary Knitwear Award at the Gala show.  Thea Sanders' collection was a no brainer in terms of being technically accomplished, commercially viable without lacking in imagination and visual appeal.  Thea clashed Islamic floor tile designs with British traditional patterns with a really finely judged colour palette and used different methods of domestic knitting and weaving to produce a collection that had a catwalk-to-rail appeal.  That makes it sound utterly dull but for a collection at BA level to have both that commercial knack and directional design is no mean feat.  It would be great to see Thea further hone her skills at MA level or go in-house with a brand to push somebody's knitwear to new levels.  

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Comments (24)

  1. Adam Jones says:

    Honoured and overwhelmed that you have included me in your GFW round-up, thank you Susie! Adam x

  2. Natasha says:

    Loving the colour themes.

  3. alex says:

    Great to see a mix of portfolio and photography images.

  4. Ana says:

    The knitwear just blew my mind.
    Blew. My. Mind.
    I want the 2nd ensemble from the last picture. So. Bad.

  5. Mark Glasgow says:

    Similarly overwhelmed as Adam, thanks so much! Glad you liked it and great to meet you.

  6. milex says:

    all my heart gors to hannah williams
    http://milexblog.blogspot.co.uk

  7. Nico says:

    Will you also be covering the Westminster show?

  8. Love all the designs, they are so special and unique!
    http://thestyle-o-meter.blogspot.ro/

  9. susie_bubble says:

    I didn’t go I’m afraid and it seems a bit false to cover something I didn’t actually see… I was abroad that day of the show I think…

  10. A very nice post.
    Love, unicorns and glitter on you. <3
    Florian,
    http://www.like-enchanted.com

  11. Xandra says:

    Kinda weird, but awesome!

  12. Sean says:

    All I can say is: <3 Mark Glasgow. Those silhouettes and prints! Will any of this go into production?

  13. Linda Qiu says:

    lauren smith’s designs and sketchbook = love the colors and composition

  14. Krystal says:

    Well now, that was so much eye candy, that I think I may have diabetes! I love this new and slowly emerging trend among fashion new comers. There’ve been women swimming in smartly oversized clothing all over the runways outside of the big four. I wonder if these designers have enough pull to get this buzzing. And if so, how will the trend manifest itself in A/W 13/14. This will definitely be an interesting few years.

  15. Kazz says:

    So much awesome talent, so much to look at. BRILLIANT

  16. Haidee says:

    Graduarte fashion week looks so exciting, I would LOVE to exhibit my work their :) Xx
    http://haideeandco.blogspot.co.uk

  17. Merlin says:

    I totally love the look!
    Love from The Netherlands:
    http://www.merlindaily.wordpress.com

  18. Adam Jones says:

    http://www.cat-among-the-pigeons.tumblr.com Adam Jones – Manchester School Of Art GFW exhibitor mentioned above, check out my work! :)

  19. Alda says:

    Amazing work of art :) I love designer fashion that’s why i chose to do a master’s dissertation on it, but I really need help in getting more respondents especially from fashion lovers. If you are interested please go to the link below, you can win one of four Amazon e-vouchers worth ¬£ 15 each. I know it’s not much but unfortunately i didn’t have much more to give. I really hope you find this interesting. Many thanks :)
    http://obsurvey.com/S2.aspx?id=D620BA2F-A944-48B0-983F-5B00E05AEDC5

  20. Inspiring.
    I did an illustration on Phiney Pet’s work and more is coming up!
    http://sarahdezutter.blogspot.com

  21. Rebecca says:

    I love Phiney Pet’s illustrations!
    rafwillyolivier.blogspot.com

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