Tucked away in the heart of Mayfair, we were invited to experience the work of yet another batch of fashion graduates, this time from the prestigious Royal College Art 2019 class, at the Cork Street Galleries. The industrial venue, with exposed breeze blocks, piping and a bare interior, created an edgy yet high-brow atmosphere, beautifully contrasting the graduate collections.

Upon walking in we were greeted with a work of rebellion by Laura Frandsen. As a member of the extinction rebellion, she made an installation carrying the message that we are destroying the planet trying to maintain our expensive lifestyles, threatening our whole existence as we consumer fashion. Disruptive fashion at its finest, setting the bar for the graduates that were to follow. 

Stepping away from the more traditional runway shows, RCA organised an alternating presentation where models served as key elements to performance art. Adding a dose of excitement to the show, not that it was necessary, was an angelic aerial artist spinning around in a hoop as models switched positions. This atypical approach to a degree show sets an example as to how RCA pushes their students and in doing so boundaries of innovation within fashion. Be it through communicating heavy socio-political or climate issues through fashion or by creating biomaterials.

The presentation was, to say the least, inclusive. Diversity was definitely one of the main focus points, for the All At Once presentation. Karoline Vitto celebrated plus-sized bodies, by putting the emphasis on what is commonly referred to as problem-areas, completely rethinking our approach of an ideal body. In the same line, Ellis Jaz Hussey-Edmonds created a collection for plus-size models, taking inspiration from architectural structures, elegantly hugging the curves of her models. Body image wasn’t the only stigma tackled at this year’s RCA show. Yvonne Lim presented her collection on mature models, celebrating and embracing femininity creating a capsule collection for the modern working women and her daily needs.


A handful of RCA graduates fused art with fashion, creating sculpturesque pieces that could easily be mistaken for art pieces. Knitwear designer Yu-Mei Huang, created bright pastel-coloured three-dimensional textures with eased us into sculptural design. Continuing this theme was Skye Gwillim, after an obsessive study of the seated position, she developed accessories that blend seamlessly with the body. Clara Chu has a more humorous approach to sculptural accessories, working with 3D printing and laser cutting, the repurposes kitchenware, re-imagination our interpretation of mundane household objects. Fusing sculptural design with the cutting-edge technology were both Annie Foo and Anne Sophie Goschin, creating 3D printed footwear with a futuristic feel. Creating a true avant-garde art moment was Lili Zhao’s white ice-queen sculptural dress with equally stunning clear shoes, giving even Cinderella a run for her money.

Sustainability made a big appearance throughout the RCA presentation, yet it was interesting to see how different designer came up with solutions for a greener fashion. Piero D’Angelo delved into the world of biotechnology, working with a living organism to explore the future development of the body. Looking at sustainability from the production side, Andrew Bell created crisp cut tailored pieces without picking up a needle replacing it with razor sharp and structured draping. Margot Vaaderpass addresses to sustainable fashion design by following a mono-material approach where she only sources natural fabrics, facilitating re-use and biodegradability. A fourth method was employed by Timothee Gleize, the RCA graduate cut down waste by designing digitally, creating a beautifully printed collection that blends luxury with technology.

The RCA graduates are definitely tapped into society as they tackled all the big issues currently relevant making waves in the fashion industry, each designer demonstrated ways in which fashion can make an impact whether it is small or big. The All At Once show was one big act of rebellion towards to fashion industry, something that we, as a platform promoting positive change and emerging talent, can only applaud.
Words by Lupe Baeyens
 Images Courtesy of Daniel Sims