Laura’s graduate collection is about the journey of a mysterious woman living in a far away world. This collection is inspired by two very different yet both highly detailed types of clothing. On one hand, it was influenced by the 1870s Victorian fashion which is well shown in the handcrafted detailed elements.
On the other hand, there is the modernity and cleanness of space suits and science fiction, which has led to a dramatic but realistic fashion story.
Laura Gacci’s collection celebrates success and failure in the workplace. Often, in fact, behind an objective are many failures. These last ones are needed for ‘build’ the steps of a solid staircase that leads to success. Practicality and uniqueness join together and translate into a combination of different materials and in the originality of the construction cuts that recall the elegance of the lines of Art Noveau. The woman’s collection is active, with masculine attributes, great femininity and a strong desire to assert herself.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Stereotypical references have labelled the women of society with what is expected of a female. Rhiannon used this as her main tool for inspiration. The equality of the sexes and how gender ideals have been developed link feminine qualities such as body image and beauty to a feminine role.
Rhiannon wanted to use fashion to change this strongly controversial view within society and refigure the image of the feminine gender ideal. This would not only be determined on the history and culture but also the activities of new fashion trends. These show how feminism has evolved from the history of women’s rights to the influences of the male form and sportswear.
Serra’s interpretation of Against Nature sees a female protagonist, disgusted with modern society, flee to an isolated manor, decorated in a world of her own creation. In the story At Her Majesty’s Pleasure, which accompanies the collection, it maps out a day in her life.
From rising from her slumber, tending to her garden and creatures, to an offering to Le Sacre Coeur. The tale sees the conceptual embodiment of her overly stimulated environment become part of her body, dressing it for every occasion of her day.
Rosey Norman’s collection was inspired by the rich, luscious textures and colours of traditional still life paintings. This contrasted with the comforting and traditional qualities of pub decor. By contrasting these two traditional and conservative aesthetics, the collection was created in the aim to be more contemporary; creating new from the old.
During the development of the collection the silhouette was drawn from sleepwear throughout history, returning to the initial concept of comfort, and also the silhouette emerged from the fabric techniques and the best way to maximise the rich textures.
The concept for this collection really started with a love for the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons. To me it has always been a very intriguing place as the subject matter is very dark and controversial, however I have always found that by looking closely at many of the articles inside there is something very beautiful about the make up of the specimens. The collections are there for medical display, and the museum used to house both animal and human remains.
The collection explores the relationship with the clothes we wear and the sense of protection they give us. This originated from questioning the role clothing plays in everyday life. In the most basic sense, clothing protects us from the elements and keeps us warm and safe. But it also holds a strong emotional attachment.
Ruth plays with mixing functional clothing and objects such as sportswear and tents and the traditional art of knitting.
Sabrina explores the vitality of different cultures through following collections. Above all, the experimental attitude is at the core of all she does, which is not only manifested in the patterns and silhouette, but also in the attempt to challenge the gender stereotypes. The opulent patterns can still be masculine, and femininity and strength coexist.
With the aim to reproduce the conflicting, a little mysterious feel of the process while diverse cultures confront and integrate, Sabrina deconstructed and reassembled art paintings to create daring and unique patterns, and accentuated the contrast with Jewish traditional clothing-inspired clean-cut silhouette.
The main theme of Sarah’s collection was revisiting her 13-year-old self, trying to be an Emo Goth Kid and rebelling from her Eastern European Jewish heritage. What sparked the idea for this concept was when she visited Israel, and learnt to appreciate her Jewish identity not through religion, but through the arts and culture.
It wasn’t just the late 90’s trend of visible underwear that inspired Sarah, but also the layering of sports bras under vests than many young women wear today, as they fit workouts with their busy lives.
Shamima’s collection ‘Conflicted Heritage’ focuses on the inner struggles that exist within all of us in various aspects of our lives, which shape us to be the individuals we are. This particular project explores her own conflicting thoughts and emotions that arise out of a need to construct an identity that considers all of the flavours of her different cultures.
Shamima is a British-born, Bangladeshi Muslim and very often the values of these different identities can clash with one another, meaning mixing together the aspects of each culture is perceived as a paradox.
Shannon Louise’s collection has captured the harsh reality of bullying, focusing on cyber bullying as it is growing with todays society on social media. Demonstrating that it is just as important as any other social and political discourse. She is wanting to change the globals perception of this accepted behaviour, which causes serious mental and physical health issues.
Taking the deconstructed, anti-fashion and activism inspiration from Vivienne Westwood, Katharine Hamnett and Martin Margiela she created an iconic sentimental showcase of art using fashion as the platform.
'Nocturnal Dreamscape' relates to the complicity of Karro’s new collection. A lot of design twists such as asymmetry and disproportion enhance each piece. The black and white collapse represents overthinking and over emotionality. The collection is very abstract if you look at the full range.
Every season Karro’s work evolves. For this collection she used Nuno Felting techniques to handcraft wool for our premium winter overgarments, jackets and coats. Karro collected a palette of grey shades of raw merino wool as well as raw silks and placed them to create a pattern resembling marbles.
Tanja Novak’s collection was inspired by the First Wave of Feminism. While researching the Suffragette’s she came across images of the first female boxers from the Victorian era. These images would form the basis of the collection concept. The female boxers are dressed in corseted cutoff dresses or ruffled and loose pieces, completely impractical for any form of sport. Tanja explored different forms of combat sports, and sportswear, both from a historical and contemporary angle.
The collection creates a bridge between historical Victorian and sports luxe infusion. Novak designs a wearable but alternative sportswear inspired line.
Timothee's influences are a mix of his own heritage, French and Algerian, and his interests, such as architecture, video games and his cats. His inspiration comes from the places he has lived in – his boyfriend's flat in New York City, and his parents place in the French countryside. Besides that, it is about objects and symbols bringing specific emotions, which he is bringing into his collection in different ways. he is using materials that portray the antagonism between traditional fabrics, reminding him of France, and contemporary fabrics, linked to the idea of New York.
Trang Hoang’s graduate collection ‘Colonialism’ started with an image of three Vietnamese female prisoners, entrapped by ladders over their heads. They were prisoners of the French, revolutionists under the French colonial rule in Vietnam during the late 19th - early 20th century. The ladder, which Trang envisioned as the symbol of the oppression of the Vietnamese under colonialism, became her main inspiration. She started to experiment with wooden structures to create ‘cages’ into clothes.
Her aim was to recreate the illusion of wooden ‘cages’ using wooden rods, which she either inserted into the garments with tubes or built a separated wooden structure to frame the garment away from the body.
Viktoria Tisza’s collection, Splash, is a joyful collection combining the technology developed throughout the years of playing with silicone rubber and some vivid colours. The collection was showcased at New York Fashion Week at Pier59 Studios, at Bureau Seutail Showroom during London Fashion Week and at San Francisco Fashion Community Week in September, 2018.
The liquid nature of silicone rubber allows seamless pattern making as the pieces are all made through an accurate pouring and moulding process. The pieces are all handmade without including any machinery or advanced equipment. The designer is literally obsessed with the challenge of creating pieces with as less tools as possible, providing her with the freedom of creation anywhere.
Vincent Lapp’s atheist vision of life settled the ground of his collection. The horror of Paris and Nice terrorist attacks always in his mind, he decided to dedicate his project to the development of political and social statement. His sister’s conversion to judaism triggered a deep interest in the conversion process and particularly in the religious symbols that have the power to attract individuals into faith. He fulfilled his focus by watching documentaries, movies, and especially the french movie Le Ciel Attendra which depicts how teenagers are lured to join jihadist movements through social media.
To create her SS19 graduate collection, entitled “L’amor perduto”, Viola Menchini took inspiration from topics that affected her personal life when she moved to the city and started to be in the fashion field: loneliness and today’s idea of love and relationships.
Loneliness is a significant topic particularly among women due to the fast lifestyle and long working hours, women prioritise themselves and their careers instead of their personal lives and feelings, also neglecting the need of a partner / family.
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.
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.
Inspired by the visual aspect of physical changes that occur with time, Yana’s collection focus on wrinkles and the body’s shape. Her work is based on her personal feelings provoked by the ageing process of her own skin and the anticipation of its future changes.
According to Yana’s research there are two main opinions formed by social norms as well as personal feelings. One of them is positive: age is viewed as something to be proud of, as a testimony of valuable experiences and the visible part of our personality.
Yana Myronova collection is about heritage, her roots and personal background, mad modernity. It is about challenges inside and outside of her, reflecting her history and creating the future. It is her past and wanting to break apart from this past somehow that has determined her to want to create something new.
Yehua took primary inspiration from three elements: Rococo, Mari Antoinette and Crinoline. His collection mainly consists of oversized black suits, ruffled see-through blouses and white crinolines. Most importantly, he considers crinoline to be crucial in his collection for its resemblance with a birdcage, a symbol of limitation on absolute freedom. His collection had a focal point: the total self-liberation from negative feelings or opinions that people had on him, and the need to be sociable in order to blend in with the rest of the society. At first, the disrespectful attitudes received from many others had made Yehua feel slightly uneasy, and maybe even marginally upsetting.
In this collection, Ying Yang explored the lifestyle changes of first generation Chinese immigrants who are basined in Chinatown, New York. After being an immigrant herself and moving to NYC with family at the age of 13, Ying questions where she truly belongs to. Feeling like an outsider from both NYC and China. The collection involves a lot of personal emotions, with the garments documenting records of the designers’ own stories.
Ying travelled to China Town every week, observing the lives of many people. She interviewed them, shared stories and managed to get involved in their life. Taking pictures, documenting conversations. Witnessing the story they share and the connection they had.