Liza came across an image of Sarah Bernhard in the role of the Byzantine empress Theodora and the image got stuck in her head. It emanated intense power, but also there was a sense of vulnerability, timelessness and very pure femininity. From that moment on she knew what she wanted her collection to be.
The center of her research became the topic of women in history/art who were portrayed as creatures able to enchant and enslave anyone who crosses their path, such as Oscar Wilde’s story of Salome and the dance of 7 veils.
Loom Loop is a design partnership between Polly Ho and Andy Wong. Inspired by a trip to Guangzhou, the couple discovered an interesting heritage fabric. When the designers saw the heritage fabric called the Canton silk, they were bowled over by the artisan techniques employed to dye the silk, using plant based dye, river mud and solar power.
This collection embodies a mixture of traditional craftsmanship, with the heritage Canton fabric, along with a modern approach to contemporary individualism.
Originally fascinated by the idea of opening up closed forms, through a meditative process, sketching, Lottie began exploring how she could apply internal space to closed forms. These 2D spatial exploration sketches provided a platform of inspiration for her collection.
Through a transition between dimensions, she took the initial 2D forms and transferred them into 3D form through cutting and draping fabric onto a body. The cutting of the fabric exposed the inner space between the fabric and the body and allowed the idea of space to flow through a garment.
Louise Desoeuvre’s AW/20 collection ‘Magnificence of the East’ is inspired by her Russian and Breton heritage. It is an emotional and powerful tribute to her great-grandfather, Ivan Ivanovitch. a Cossack, obligated to leave Russia during the revolution in the early 20th Century. He and his brother, Vassili Ivanovitch, survived and came to France. They lost everything but always kept their dignity. Louise was inspired by their strength and elegance to create powerful designs.
Lucy Saltinstall’s collection was heavily inspired by the High Line in New York, which she came across last year whilst visiting the city.
Incorporating the juxtaposition of brutalist structures and the resilience of nature into her designs, Lucy created an androgynous womenswear collection featuring a mixture of tailoring, knitwear and sportswear detailing, a new genre to portray the clashing of these two concepts.
In Lydia Fung’s MA collection Nebulous Erotica, she is trying to see new age intimacy through her own world. Lydia started with her 2D visual exploration to express the freedom of endlessness and formless erotica in the digital age, there are no ends and beginnings of bodies in her images, every interaction, every object, subject is formless.
It is amorphous, it is raw, it is not fixed, it is freed. How bodies interact intimately with each other is purely based on the essence, based on a formless bond, based on the tension in between.
Maddie’s graduate collection was heavily inspired by the Wilder Mann documentary by Charles Freger. It is about how the transformation of man to beast is a central aspect of traditional pagan rituals that are centuries old, which celebrate the seasonal cycle, fertility, life and death.
Each year throughout Europe, from Scotland to Bulgaria, from Finland to Italy, from Portugal to Greece, Switzerland and Germany, people literally put themselves into the skin of the ‘savage’, in a masquerades that stretch back centuries.
Maddy Stringer’s S/S 19 collection draws inspiration from the beauty in the mundane, exploring the human desire to collect and why we can feel connected to inanimate objects.
Maddy identifies with being a hoarder, her most notable collections include an extensive range of hotel soap packets and miniature doll’s house furniture items. The juxtaposition of traditional furnishing motifs and bright plastic packaging became the unexpected starting point for Maddy’s designs.
Malene's collection is mainly inspired by the movement of contemporary dance and musicians such as Patti Smith or PJ Harvey. The term femininity played a key role in her work and she wanted to combine different perceptions of this by putting the softness of the dance together with the more rough image and look of Rock’n Roll musicians. She experimented with different techniques of twisting and stretching the fabric around the body and combining see-through materials with rough materials to bring together and play with feminine and masculine elements.
Initially inspired by the clashing gangs of Tokyo Tribe, a dystopian rap battle musical, Manimekala’s SS19 collection "Wayward" is about the interaction of different cultures. Researching the Japanese subculture of the bosozoku bikers, and their adoption of the American greaser lifestyle, Manimekala developed distinctive abstract motifs to identify her own imagined gang.
Coming from a mixed race background comprising British, Indian and American (USA), she takes an intersectional approach to consider the implications of her specific heritage within the context of contemporary power structures and the legacy of Western colonialism.
Inspired by drag racing cars and their bold and eclectic drivers, this collection celebrates the sport’s daring and playful spirit. Protective wear and car interiors inform inventive pattern cutting and textiles techniques – creating new and exciting 3D surfaces using foam squares trapped in between layers of fabrics.
Focusing on the contrast between rigid and flowing fabrics in exaggerated silhouettes with details borrowed from sportswear, the car’s complex construction is referenced throughout.
Everything in nature can be seen as patterns. We as a human race derive inspiration from this. We construct concrete jungles, build roads like vines and tree roots, follow a flow where feathers grow in, making us so much a.LIKE to nature.
Manon’s collection is a Ready To Wear collection which takes influence from this, colliding the worlds of geometrical shapes and architecture, with the repetition found throughout nature; these elements are key details to each garments.
Maria-Raluca Streang’s collection was heavily inspired by her dad’s childhood stories. Investigating the ways in which Communism affected Romania’s traditional culture and the effect that had on the mentality of millions of children that grew up under the Romanian Communist Dictatorship. Looking especially at the difference between the school uniforms children used to wear during that period (1970-1989) and the traditional costume, symbol of craftmanship and folk art.
Marine Beybudyan's “Entangled” collection was initially inspired by Louise Bourgeois artwork, explores an idea of knots as a form of therapy for mental illnesses. Bourgeois considered art as a "form of psychoanalysis", offering unique access to the unconscious, as well as a form of psychological release.
Exploration of knotted shapes convey mixed emotions and feelings such as anxiety, fear and anger.
Matilda Aberg’s collection was inspired by a story she came up with herself drawing inspiration from Swedish folk myth. It is a story of a lost princess in the dark Northern forests of the 17th Century and her encounters with the creatures of the forest - the femme fatals. From them she learns about sisterhood and revenge.
The inspiration of the collection comes from royal fashion with heavy velvets, the veils of the elves, the naked body of the mistress of the forest as well as her rotten back.
The collection is inspired from digital footprints recorded by Google, revealing our digital twin and a new internet culture which reflects our digital life. You can be anything you want online, as the internet is a space that promotes visibility as the ultimate equalising platform. Internet culture has been the biggest inspiration for Mayya's designs for many years. There are three significant steps in creating a data-based collection.
A Journey into a psychedelic landscape. Read Only Memory, a film by John Maybury, takes us on an experimental trip into an alternate microcosm. Megan Cummings’s collection, Microdose, desires to enter this world, translating surreal visuals, moods and feelings through the medium of cloth. Along with influences from 1980s club culture which catalysed the films production. Ultimately the collection is creating a physical portal into Maybury’s mind-bending tour.
Storytelling is a familiar pastime and one of the most ancient and compelling human rituals. This notion is important to Megan Greenfield, and the most exciting way for her to bring her design practice. She can not resist the art of creating another story from the very beginning; to form a narrative to design around, and to know who it is that she is designing for. The tale for her final collection starts with an exploration into her own family heritage. Deep-water ports hold the antiquity and glamour from the 1920 'Glory Day's' of sea travel and masts that are heavily draped in rope, reveal stories about characters onboard Naval ships during Napoleonic Wars.
Megan Rose’s collection ‘obsessive|compulsive chaos’ is in aftermath from her most recent collection banepn valeri, where a new sense of understanding is found through the element of collecting. ‘Obsessive|compulsive chaos’ moves on from the formal elements of collecting- entertaining a more obsessive, compulsive chaotic association surrounding collecting with a strong focus on symbolising objects in place and being.
The collection really captures the impact of obsessive compulsive hoarding, developed from the initial inspiration of her Grandmother and her unusual range of collections on display within her home.
Megan wanted to present the idea of reflection, layers and silhouette through her collection.Through her design process she would refer back to her concept and colour boards to gain inspiration on how the layering of the images could develop into garments.
The silhouettes are inspired by the transparent flower photographs and how gentle yet impactful they were. The layering of the images inspired Megan to create the pleating throughout her collection, she wanted to use a range of pleating techniques to create depth and detail.
Inspired by a combination of both manmade and natural settings, such as buildings in the rain, Meiqi’s designs are unique and everything in life can be considered as an inspiration.
Strong characteristics and skilful techniques come together to create an artistic aesthetic, in which the quality and shaping of the metal she uses as a material is a priority in her collections. As well as considering the movement, tiny details are also important when it comes to the qualities of the stainless steel and laser-welder used to combine steel and metal together beautifully.
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.
Meng takes inspiration from Chinese calligraphy, architectural forms and curves and gestures of the human body. Curves constantly change and form unexpected lines; this tells you a lot about the wearer’s personality. The energy within movement shares the same philosophy and logic as Chinese calligraphy.
Meng connects intangible movement to tangible volume with every stroke. She combines modern elements of architecture shapes to further enhance her designs.
Michelle Lung’s collection draws upon the untouchability of digital culture we are undoubtedly surrounded by and arguably depend on everyday. Nowadays, it may be argued technology is one of our most valued possessions; if there was a fire, most people would reach for their smartphones and laptops before the contents of their jewellery box. The majority of people hold a mobile or are plugged into earphones closer to their body more than jewellery does. So are these now becoming arguably more personal, precious and considered artefacts to adorn the body than jewellery is?
Galileo was Michel Kabbany’s inspiration for his first collection; The worldly famous, the astronomer, the physicist, the human. He was persecuted and condemned for "Vehement Suspicion of Heresy" And here he is now, on every mind, on every mouth, in every book. “Inspiring people like me, people like you”.
The embroidery are rounded shapes based on the astronomy and the shapes of the globes. Michel Kabbany has two types of embroidery in this collection; one is pure gold sarma and kora and the other one is a mix between thread, beading and cocoon embroidery.
Michelle researched over her families history over many generations and it became apparent to her that textile processes were passed from one generation to the next. For example, her mother taught her skills and processes from which her own mother passed onto her. These skills are iconic and in-stilled within our roots, something which I want to continue as these skills once pasted are at the risk of dying out.
Michelle aims to make the viewer really see beyond traditional textiles as dated, by refreshing traditional methods into modern and contemporary designs.
Miette Farrer’s graduate collection, created in collaboration with Katie Westwood, was inspired by craft processes and the reinvention of the familiar. Drawing inspiration from the mass produced shirt and jeans, innovative textile techniques were explored to recreate the shadows, creases and suggestion of these garments. With the focus on process, techniques were pushed to the limits in order to recreate entire fabrics.
The importance of slow fashion is reflected through the time consuming processes of hand painting, cutting, manipulating and stitching to create fabrics and garments.
Wanting to stay true to her own individuality, Molly began her collection inspired by the music she grew up listening to, after watching her dad play in various bands through the ’80s and ’90s. Approaching her collection with the same unforgiving attitude of punk culture, she sought to rebel against gender norms and twist classic styles in a new approach to androgynous fashion.
Mona Cordes collection is influenced by Clowns and Circus as well as Brexit which comes together as a colour/ pattern madness which is very pleasing to the eye but is rebellious and political at the same time. Her 6 graduate collection looks create a womenswear/ unisex collection that is fully printed. All characters belong to 'Circus Infinity' and have their own names as well as passports which allow them to still freely travel the world. A fuck you to Brexit + a yes welcome to individuality.
The collection 'Two Spirits' has been strongly influenced by the topic of gender.The main inspiration has risen from transgender Native American and XIX century cross-dressing women that strongly questioned gender norms in that age and had major impact redefining gender perspectives.
Inspiration came from various periods and cultural backgrounds such as American Natives, Two Spirit is a culturally distinct gender that describes Indigenous North Americans who fulfil one of many mixed gender roles found traditionally among many Native Americans.
Living in New York for her placement at year inspired Mya’s collection. Taking the term “Concrete Jungle” literally, Mya imagined what life would be like for a wild animal living in the city. Then, discovering the trend of exotic pets in the 70s solidified the concept, creating embellished pieces through rhinestones and colourful prints.
The central aim of Color Intelligence is to highlight the importance of colour: How colour can guide and direct and tell its own language. A case study about lace and its patterns, formed the foundation for this collection: How women in the 18th century didn't knew how to read and therefore lace patterns was mapped out with a colour for each stitch. This aspect of using colours, as guidance is the main focus in Color Intelligence.
Michel Pastoureau's theory on colour and stripes founded the concept for this collection. Therefore this collection includes linear and irregular stripes from a naive and spontaneous point of view.
Ephialtes. Inspired by a mental state, Sleeping Paralysis reflects the combination of childhood’s terrific dream and nightmare, resulting in the beauty within that frightening journey.
NATTA Ephialtes collection combines together the deconstructed trench coat with loose tailoring details, oversized pockets with the elegance of 1900’s inspired drapery silhouette, yet with modern approach and the digital prints of the face with minimalistic straight stitch embroidery that evokes the elusive childhood. The stitching on the embroideries inspired by the used of thin lines in artworks about human’s mind, emotion and their alter-ego by Daeyhun Kim.
Inspired by living out of a suitcase whilst on Erasmus and her late father’s organised collection of memorabilia, Nia Winstanley’s collection reflects on how our increasingly nomadic lifestyles require new ways of containing our innate hoarding instinct.
The contradiction between wanting to preserve throwaway items developed into the idea of ‘elevating trash’ using materials such as sequins and diamanté trims to create a collection which question the boundaries of ‘good’ taste.Superficially, hoarding suggests a celebration of excess, but it can also be a physical and mental burden.
‘’Why (my) love?’’ Is a project born from the designer’s personal concern towards the narcissist approach of feelings in modern society after the arise of social medias. Inspired by the book ‘TheAgony of the Eros’ (Byung Chul Han, 2012) the designer explores the individualism and technology manipulation of social interaction, which sees an increase of narcissism that looks for love and desire within the ‘inferno of the same’.
She explores how this phenomenon is directly reflected in fashion which sees an abandonment of feelings and a more superficial approach towards it, both in the purchase (online shopping, fast fashion) and in the actual creative process (copy and paste from past collections).
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.
Odella Yue is originally from China, growing up in China and England was an interesting experience, she enjoyed her exploration in the two very different cultures, both of which have influenced her design style greatly.
Odella appreciates Chinese traditional culture as well as modern digital culture; her work is often inspired by her Chinese heritage and transformed into fashion designs with a modern digital twist. Growing up as a child, she was always the nerdy one and used comic books and games to dream and escape to a world of unfettered imagination.
My collection gets its inspiration from peasant’s life on the turn of the 19th century, just before the Russian Revolution. It was a hard and significant time in history, when old and new worlds collided. Dramatic changes occurred in peoples minds.
The main element of the whole collection is the fabric’s textures. It has a neoprene structure and golden embroidery 3D effect. This old decorative technique was my main inspiration. I wanted to recreate this with modern technologies, as I wanted to keep a noticable contrast between traditions and modernity.
The collection SS’19 ’No man’ is a story about a woman who is living without a man. Her feelings and her state of mind were investigated and transformed into the garments. The inspiration was driven by artworks of the contemporary artists such as Polly Borland, Eva Hesse, and Sarah Lucas. The feminism theme was exploring within the collection.
The designer reused and remade such feminist items as tights, bras, and pants for making some of the garments of the collection. The shapes, silhouettes, details, and the way of construction/deconstruction of the garments are the way of telling this story. It is not just garments it is the way of expressing feelings. The collection SS’19 ‘No man’ questions what is the womenswear and the garment itself.
Olivia used her abstract photography as the key development when it came to designing her collection. By capturing the uncontrollable reactions triggered during physical and chemical changes she aimed to use her photography to spark a vivid colour palette, pairing pops of citrus tones with translucencies.
Initially inspired by David Mcleod’s 3D digital illustrations that represent movement and fluidity. The synthetic surfaces in Mcleod’s abstract compositions used in the IBM Outthink campaign illustrate the transition between different states of matter such as liquids, solids and gases.
Throughout the years it has become noticeable that culture tends to have an influence on the way individuals experience and perceive life. Paloma has always had a profound admiration for Peru, its culture and its people.
Being bought up in Lima, the capital of Peru, developed her interest and admiration of their architecture and textile manipulation. Their colourful layered houses and diverse historical locations such as Macchu Picchu and Chan Chan provide meaningful illustrations of ancient art.
刹那 is the word that represents the shortest accountable time in Chinese, and equal to 1000000000000000000 / 1 second. This is a project about distortion, transformation and the complexity behind simpleness.
The project begins with a part of my memory from childhood. When I was younger, I used to sit in my father’s car and look at the things moving backwards outside the window. I always enjoyed looking at the fence beside the highway. When things quickly moving behind the stripes of fence, I see the shape of the things being broken, distorted and twisted, which amazed me a lot.
Inspired by the way insects are constantly renovating and breaking their own inherent patterns in order to become brand new, vivacious and beautiful beings, Peng Yu focused on breaking original lifestyles when it came to creating his collection.
Moving on from this, Peng Yu began observing himself and how he immerses himself into the world, and more importantly, into a chaotic society. Through this he learnt who he wanted to be and how to achieve that goal.
PIAGETTI shoes are produced in the South of Brazil. Piagetti produces shoes with extreme detail and sophistication, using gloves during the manufacturing process. In the factory’s portfolios there are a range of luxury brands being produced, such as Sophia Webster.
Inspired by nature and beauty, the colours have been chosen to be feminine yet detailed. The shoes are all made with calf leather and are soft and comfortable.
Thailand has been in control of a military government for quite some time and the long overdue general election has been repeatedly delayed; whilst the recent death and funeral of the beloved 9Th Thai king deeply affected all Thais it diverted attention from these issues and affected the whole country not just emotionally but also economically.
The collection honours the hard work the king had done to stop poverty and homeless but also highlights the issues which concern its people and uses the rich culture and heritage through the medium of a dystopian science fiction film.
Polina Oleynikova’s inspiration for the collection is Demon-based theory. I was inspired by Vrubel’s artworks dedicated to the same topic and his work in general The key word is duality. The eternal contrast that comes through our lives, decisions, opinions and actions. Looking at the dark and light in ourselves and finding this balance between them.
Drawing on her initial theme of magic, she expanded to a more abstract approach as her work progressed. Focusing on elements such as transformation, distortion of reality and secret knowledge allowed her to express her research in a more individual way. Graduations in colour, obscured patterns and glitches all contribute to the illusive mood of her designs.
The concept behind her final outcomes were that they were talismanic fabrics, with specific protective elements woven into their design. It was important for her to capture the sense of mystery from her research while creating a collection that was still sophisticated and new.
Poppy Simone Dowsing's luxury resort graduate collection embodies all the bright and bold colours of the swinging 60's, along with the shapes and silhouettes of mother nature.
Poppy's collection was originally inspired by the culture and heart of Dubai. The use of hand-crafted flower motifs and gold tones in The Grand Mosque, in addition to the yellow desert, started the journey she took towards creating her colour palette and silhouettes.
Classic beauty is no longer adored, imperfections and the bravery to show them are treated as a symbol of uniqueness and of a well-defined personality. The media portrays ideals telling us who, what and how we should be. Pravjot wanted to explore imperfection in our daily lives focusing on textures, colour and silhouettes. She turned this negative view and embraced it into something of beauty.
During the research stage of the concept, she had looked at model Winne Harlow, who has Vitiligo which is a skin pigmentation caused by lack of melanin pigment in the skin. The designer was enticed by Winnie Harlow’s beauty and how she embraced herself in society.
Qi Rui Siew’s collection explores the boundary between fashion and art, inspired by the culture of Singapore. Chinese knots, batik print, handmade Chinese opera headdresses, handmade wooden clogs and sari prints are elements found in the collection. Non-binary clothing and the notion that skirts can be worn by everyone are discussed in this collection.
Qiqi Zhang graduated from the Fashion BA course from Kingston University in 2017. Zhang has been very passionate about introducing traditional cultural elements into contemporary pieces, elevating the traditional designs by injecting a dramatic element.
Zhang aims to break the boundaries of gender recognition, and at the same time, creating fashionable pieces focusing on practicality for everyday use.
In Qiwei's A/W 2018 Collection, Claude Cahun's work formed a major part of her inspiration. The key concept was developed from two main characteristics incorporated in Cahun's work.
Firstly, it is Cahun's photography, the way how she embraced different personas with distinct characters, using it as a tool to break through the traditional definition and barrier between the two genders, at the same time, blurring the line between masculinity and femininity.
Qi Wu found inspiration for her collection through quirky, chunky objects from all over the world and was captivated by Kintsugi, an ancient craft skill. On her travels, Qi would buy different items in a variety of countries and would use them to decorate her living spaces. She then decided that if these items can be used to decorate her house then why shouldn’t she use them to decorate herself and give them multiple purposes.
Qi Wu didn’t like the idea of old things becoming abandoned. The potential and fascinating aspects of certain items can be discarded so easily in the rapidly developing modern society that we live in.
Collection is inspired by weather vanes from my home country Lithuania, seaside town called Nida. The symbols carved in weather vanes works as visual profile from which you could tell everything about the owner and his family. Each sailor used them to distinguish himself from other sailors and identify the area or town they came from. Same as our clothes nowadays these symbols worked as a profile and helped to identify sailor’s origin, attitude, standpoints and send visual messages to others.
The design process takes inspiration from smart, elegant early 20th-century fashion, which designer’s grandparents used to wear. To be able to create such garments, it required her to learn vintage couture tailoring technique used by worldwide known tailors of Saville Row. Designer creates a monochromatic aesthetic with the splash of bright, ultramarine blue detailing and matt black trims by sourcing the materials from local garment shops and then readjusting them to her needs..
Rebecca Armstrong’s Graduate Collection, Shimmering and Dirty, is heavily influenced by 1990s fashion, taking inspiration from the work of photographers such as Corinne Day and Juergen Teller. These photographers pioneered a new kind of aesthetic in the 1990s that depicted female subjects in realistic terms, often labelled ‘raw’ due to their use of harsh lighting and lack of retouching. Their work in the fashion industry was pivotal to the re-evaluation of unachievable standards of beauty and poise previously dictated by mainstream publications and helped to open up a dialogue regarding the dissolution of normative ideas on the presentation of women and femininity in fashion.
Rebecca Aydons collection was heavily influenced by the mid 20th century; the government model for WWII was to ‘Make do and Mend’, which forced society to be more sustainable. Clothing was more valued, made to last, passed down the generations, repaired, mended and re-purposed. The classic, romanticism of the 1950’s period is heavily portrayed through the profile and detail of this era, and Rebecca has communicated this narrative in her design and silhouette.
Rebecca set the mood by incorporating her own experience and stories as part of an initial concept, such as foreign travel, for example the concept for her collection was inspired by a visit to the ‘Kunglia Slotten’ or Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden. The overly ornate and magnificent state rooms of the palace oozed luxe and excess; colour coordinated interiors in regal reds and greens and hanging with tapestries were edged in an overabundance of gold.
Her design process alway starts at the knitting machine; swatching inspired by research further into the mood set. She then bring swatches to a stand or photograph for collage and sketching.
Inspired by her twin sister, a ballerina as a child and an underwriter trainee to date. Rebecca’s collection 'The Banker & The Ballerina' draws inspiration from the Russian heritage of 'The Ballet Russe' and the androgynous style of a 1920s banker.
Due to the Russian heritage behind Rebecca’s collection, the use of fur became a prominate factor to the fabric choices. However, rather than just using fur Rebecca wanted to draw from the placements in The Ballet Russe’s costumes and reinterpret it through the use of print and pearls. The applique print on Rebecca’s fur outerwear piece was developed further by applying a layer of wadding beneath the printed applique this allowed there to be a three-dimensional emphasis on the printed area.