Invited personally by Lord Stanley Fink and held in the prestigious surroundings of Parliament, the House of Lords was host to this years Kingston School of Art 2019 BA Fashion Show. On Thursday 6th June, Parliament transformed into a fashion frenzy. The highly anticipated show presented 19 of Kingston’s most promising graduate designers, with their collections sashaying down the regal runway. From menswear to womenswear, the elderly to the young; this season saw a focus on diversity and inclusivity. Driven by Elinor Renfrew, she has pushed Kingston to the forefront of graduate fashion.
With the newly appointed sponsor, Tatler, womenswear designer Victoria Lyons won the magazine’s coveted Haute Couture award for her incorporation of hand craftsmanship and technology through her vibrant digitally printed garments with a touch hand-painted artisary. Her collection dominated the runway with models faces adorned with black netting, accompanied the floral statement garments reminiscent of any high fashion show. The black foundation of her pieces acted as a striking contrast to the vibrant Richard Quinn-esque florals, with explosions of colour dominating the catwalk. Victoria’s bold brush strokes and billowing cascading fabric, ensured she is certainly a designer to watch.
In stark contrast to the luxurious haute couture garments presented at Kingston’s annual BA catwalk show, a focus on sustainability was also prominent. From upcycled fabrics to the eco-friendly processes and manufacturing methods, more and more graduate designers are making a stand. With the graduate season exposing this year's fresh talent, it is extremely encouraging to see young designers acknowledging the importance of sustainability. Expressing both their creativity and innovative minds, the graduates created showstopping high fashion looks, using recycled tarpaulin and colourful tents, transforming them into statement couture pieces. Both Georgia Troulan and Elvis Griffin presented well-executed collections, a far cry from the initial recycled materials, highlighting sustainable fashion’s never-ending possibilities.
Under the ostentatious architecture, Kingston BA Fashion class of 2019 embraced both diversity and inclusivity. With conscious consideration, several graduates selected a mixture of mature and young models, varying in both age and size. Stealing the show was Morayo Akodu’s tailored and traditional menswear collection featuring organic cotton and high waisted trousers were modelled by her elderly yet fashionable granddad. Contrasting the more mature runway model, was Molly Gray knitwear collection. She also presented an age-defying collection modelled by both children and adults, highlighting the colourful, chunky knits are perfect for any age. In addition to the age of the models, there was also a focus on gender. Several of the designer's collections featured both female and male models. Jessica Tighe’s vibrant and colourful collection featuring those statement lampshade headpieces. The circus chic garments were modelled by both men and women, varying in age. With the fashion industry stepping further towards gender fluidity and inclusivity, the choice of models was a charming touch.
Under the watchful eye of professor and Head of Fashion, Elinor Renfrew, Kingston’s BA Fashion Show was a tremendous and memorable event. The extravagant venue created an air of intrigue and anticipation as this seasons graduates presented their collections to a room packed with industry professionals and sponsors. From ASOS to Tatler, 2019 saw an extremely encouraging increase in sponsors, allowing the young designers to showcase their designs in such a professional setting. From sustainable fashion to haute couture showstoppers, Kingston’s annual fashion show was jam-packed with diversity and inclusivity. The event exposed the sheer skill and talent of these young designers, positioning them to the forefront of the fashion industry.
Words by Gabrielle Smith
Images by Lucy Davidson, Jordan Baines, Eleanor Clark and Fernando Lobina