On Tuesday night I saw the top 22 fashion design graduates from Ravensbourne University strut there stuff (well the models did that for them). Being that it was my first Graduate Show, I cannot compare the quality to others, however I can say that these graduates have a talent. A strong one at that. Many of them where walking around in a daze, utterly exausted and not sure how to feel. You could tell them apart from the oglers by their shaky hands gripping on to cans of Red Bull and the glazed look in their eyes, followed shortly behind by their proud parents.
From the 22 collections shown there was a glorious mix of designs – Menswear, Womanswear, Print and Knitwear. Each piece was strong, individual and carefully manipulated into a collection. My favourite type of collection is fluid; it has a story being told through each garment that flows from one piece to the next. The strongest collections told whatever story they represented. Niki Pearson‘s print collection was one of my favourites. The prints were dynamic and vibrant, with a strong backbone of technicality running through them. Her inspiration comes from “the accidental stumbling upon beauty within our natural surroundings,” - loving that.
Jody Shafton who I interviewed resently had a great night. Not only was her collection received imaculately well, but she was awarded the ‘One To Watch’ by designer Louise Gray. Watching her run down from our high up post to the stage with complete excitement and wonder was the highlight of my night. I absolutely loved the colours, and the collection was completely different than any other – making simplicity beautiful.
Emma Anderson who won ‘Best Collection,’ has a truely creative and innovative vision. Her collection was dark and twisted yet stunning. Below is some inspirations from her portfolio.
The show proved that young talent really is where it’s at. Even Hilary Alexander was impressed. She tweeted “Fantastic knit creations by Hannah Withington, Stephanie Farrugia, Korina Kyriakou, Beth Kinsella @Ravensbourne BA Graduate Show last night,” yesterday. The closer and closer we got to show time the more industry professionals took their seats and us commoners crowded around the scafolding-esque balconies (nice architecture by the way. Great new diggs!) The panel was made up of Guy Hipwell the founder and Creative Director of Fashion156, Annalisa Dunn from Cooperative Designs, Alex Mein a Menswear Buyer, Louise Gray and Catherine Teatum from Teatum Jones.
All that I can say is well done peeps, you know your shit! Good luck to you all, though you don’t really need it…
The past few weeks its been all about the graduates. The soon to be up-and-coming designers. It can be amazing to see what they come up with, knowing that unlike their established counter parts, these designers have literally made their collections themselves. OK so there may be a few who do get help, but mostly, a graduate collection is not just made up of yarn, cotton or silk, in the materials they have used is their blood, sweat and somewhere, deep in the stitches, is probably their souls. Jody Shafton is a Knitwear Designer, who is just about to finish her degree at Ravensbourne. She answered a few questions describing what fashion means to her…
1] What was the inspiration for this collection?
My collection is inspired by natural beauty. This developed from inspiration from a series of abstract paintings at the Tate, by artist Agnes Martin that reflect on states of beauty and perfection. I have taken the simplicity and use of clocking blocking from these paintings and combined with the detailing and intricate pattens found on butterfly wings from a previous study of butterflies.
2] Why did you choose the materials used?
I have chosen to use fine/ lightweight yarns to complement the spring summer collection. I have chosen to use silk and linen yarns in particular as I wanted to create a slightly transparent feel to my garments and layer brights under more subtle nude colours. I like the contrast of the shimmery silk yarn and the almost transparent printed silk georgette fabrics to the stiff /more structured yet very fragile looking linen yarns.
3] Have you always wanted to design?
Yes, I have allways been creative and had a passion for textiles and making clothes. I find textiles and knitwear such an exciting and interesting process.
4] Do you feel encouraged by the university, friends, parents?
We have amazing tutuors at uni who are all really encouraging and help push us as much as possible. It’s nice to have such supportive friends and family especially during the run up to deadlines with many allnighters.I dont think I have ever had so little sleep in my entire life. It is definitely worth it though. Its a great sense of achievement to see finished garments after all the hours of work that has been put into them. Before starting my fashion degree I never thought I would be spending 24 hours straight knitting a single garment.
5] What other designers inspire you?
I am inspired by many designers from Missoni and Rodarte to Cooperative designs, craig lawrence and christopher kane. I love knitwear and its great to see a lot of designers and graduates are doing really interesting things with it.
6] Everyone works in different ways; how do you take an idea and turn it into a garment?
I start off gathering many types of research, pictures I have taken, magazine images; I spend a lot of time looking on blogs for new inspiring images and collate all this research into drawings and moodboards to create a colour palette. I then spend quite a while sampling and from these samples drape on the stand and use photoshop to create collages to come up with silhouttes/garment ideas. Its a really exciting process going from 2d research to a 3d garment.
7] After uni, where or what do you wanna do?
I plan to gain a few years work experience working for different designers whilst saving up for an MA. I plan to apply to the Royal College of Art to study knitwear for womenswear in a few years time. Having previously worked at Topshop Head Office and Cooperative Designs, I am [now] interested to work in high fashion. I would love to work for Missoni.
8] How do you define fashion itself; what does fashion mean to you?
“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” – Coco Chanel
I hope to get to see the entire collection, as the piece that I have seen and the sketches above prove that what Jody creates are subtle, intricate garments, beautifully tailored and stunningly put together. I think we have a one to watch here!
Jody’s collection will be shown at the Ravensbourne Gala Show on the 28th of June.