Focusing on the body and movement, particularly within dance was a major influence when it came to Alvin Lam’s first collection. By looking into the history of dance and seeing how it has progressed through the ages allowed him to understand how the art is connected to romance and sensuality.

After interviewing dancers Alvin learnt how important the waist and the legs are, predominantly within ballet. Focusing on the muscles in these two areas allowed him to create designs that enhance the beauty of these.

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Having spent her time in the halls of London’s elite fashion schools and surrounding herself with industry peers, Annie began to notice a stark similarity. Black has circulated saliently, a modest staple in wardrobes and central piece to many designers’ collections. She poses the question, how many black items do you have in your wardrobe?

Her research then started off with two simple queries: What is black? Why do people love wearing black?

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The eye often plays tricks on us. We usually see what we want to see – our brains way of filtering out all the tiny nuances that would otherwise be too overwhelming. Anson Lau, a Textile Design graduate from Central Saint Martins focuses on these preconceptions and more often than not misconceptions. Taking some wise words from the wise philosopher Aristotle to heart, “our senses can be trusted but they can be easily fooled”, her collection focuses on the disparity between what we see and what actually is.

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The utilitarian function of clothing is to house the human body, a body that is always in constant motion. Bo Yang Jiang's collection is an interpretation of this relationship. She dissects the prime functions of what clothing does, on one hand it satisfies the practical demands and on the other, its a manifestation of character.

For her MA Fashion graduate collection at Kingston University, BoYang turned to contemporary dance for inspiration. She looked into female contemporary dancers and choreographers such as Silvia Gribaudi, who is know for her work in body politics through dance. Through this research, BoYang was able to inspect the different elements of dance to identify the correlation between expression and movement. She then transformed these movements into her garment patterns.

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Emily began designing womenswear because, as a young girl, the idea of designing for men simply never occurred to her. It wasn't until her second year at Kingston University that a tutor assumed her clothes were for men, when all of a sudden the penny dropped. Ever since she has been obsessed with Mens clothing, from tailoring and formalwear to sportswear and RTW.

When studying abroad in Asia Emily became extremely aware of the stark differences between male friendships in the East compared to that of the West, and began to question the social construct of masculinity.

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Many words have been penned about the differences between the East and the West. The list is rather extensive, subcategories under umbrella categories. Emily He, a graduate from London College of Fashion BA Jewellery program, can speak extensively about this subject - a subject that inspired her graduate collection.

Having spent an equal amount of time in both Hong Kong and the UK, Emily’s voice on culture difference, habits and behaviours comes from experience.

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1960s China witnessed the rise of the cultural revolution, a political movement that was reflected strongly in the fashion of its time. With the importance of these newfound sociopolitical ideals, utilitarian and unisex fashion was rife – the idea was to place emphasis on collectivism. Clothing throughout the masses were very similar, a sea of dark blue or green tunic suits paired with white shirts.

The idea of the collective through clothing in contrast with later eras of fashion that emphasised individualism sparked an interest in Womenswear Design graduate Haipu Zeng.

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For many Third Culture Kids, the curiosity of one's ancestral heritage is a growing enigma. Embracing her Third Culture Kid status, Melanie Yau, a British-born Chinese fashion design graduate from the University of South Wales, had always been genuinely interested in her roots – places she visited as a child had an instantaneous familiarity yet at the same time sowed feelings of displacement. To get in touch with her family history, Melanie started watching Chinese period dramas from an early age.

Fashion and history had always shared a mutually beneficial kinship, where looking back helped fashion move forward. For Melanie’s first collection, this kinship was the core of her inspiration, “ The over exaggeration of Chinese period costumes mesmerised me. Traditional wear only ever went out of fashion due to the inconvenience of the clothes, and I wanted to reinvent that”.

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Ningyao Zhang combines traditional Chinese culture with modern fashion design to create her pieces. Having a strong interest in historic Chinese painting and calligraphy helped her create her graduate collection.

Before coming to London to study, Zhang was very interested in Chinese culture but found that it could be quite limited when it came to evolving her personal style and developing an understanding of fashion. However, when she started her overseas university life this all started to change.

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Steve Jin's capsule collection titled ‘Between Solidity and Fluidity’ is a work of self-reflection. In order to discover the persona behind the pieces, one needs only to look at the pieces themselves. Steve likes to describe himself as a clean person.

He likes to be tidy and organised yet he revels in small explosions of intricate details, a fine juxtaposition of structure and chaos. By adding an effeminate touch such as flower embroidery acting as decorative accents on a palette of periwinkle blues and blush pink, the collection alluded to the 70s era; and the whole of it, a coming together of the ‘free-spirit’ and the ‘neat freak’.

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Wen Yue Zhang’s graduate collection drew inspiration from the cult favourite Chinese movie Farewell My Concubine (1993), which upon its release had a lasting impact on young people of Wen Yue’s generation. The film is a harrowing narrative on history, politics, romance and drama that centers around two boys who grew up as apprentices to an opera school set in the mid-1920s. It follows them on their journey of rigorous training to master the art form of the Peking Opera.

In the film, the line “yet I am by nature a boy, not a girl”, is recited over and over again which points to the age old tradition of men performing female roles on stage, namely one that is a ‘female of the coquettish type’. Sparking Wen Yue’s interest, this particular aspect of traditional Peking opera expanded into what became her motif.

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During Xiao Qian's studies in BA Fashion Design at the University for the Creative Arts, she became fascinated with the knitting wear industry. As one of the important sectors in the manufacturing industry, it's constantly evolving with new materials, styles of knitting and machines being introduced. Enraptured by the different types of knitting machines, ideas came flooding to her.

These structures, large in their size and their power, can be fatal. At the same time, these specific machines, overwhelming as they are, are able to produce fine and delicate material. the movements of the machine's intricacies and the synthesis of two discrepant materials, cold hard metal and soft malleable fibres became the inspiration to her collection.

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Dubbed “Little Prince” (after the famed fable of childhood innocence suitable for all ages with its underlying philosophical treatise) there is no better name for Xiao Zhu’s first collection, which probes into the fragile friction between adulthood and childhood perception.

Through the view of both lenses, her designs take inspiration from kid’s drawings and childhood toys reinvented for adult appropriate dress. Bright, vivid colours were selected as backdrops to playful prints, building block inspired shapes and childlike scribbles. LEGO pieces were used to create whimsical accessories such as sunglasses, handbags and hats whilst some pieces were simultaneously applied as embellishments.

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“LOVE” a topic that has been heatedly dissected and debated and has become a never-ending source of enquiry, a subjective emotion that has been time again in pop-culture, sociology, psychology… As Plato and Socrates saw it, love was a mental disease, echoed by Haddaway’s infamously catchy song, ‘What is Love? Baby don’t hurt me’.

Yu Ching Shen, a Taiwanese designer, also reflects these realistic sentiments. During her studies at Kingston University for her Fashion MA course, she focussed heavily on textiles research, namely the concept of communicating emotions through textiles. Choosing the emotive ‘love’, Yu-Ching uses different textiles to exemplify her definition of what love is.

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