Representing the creative future

CSM BA FASHION 2021: discover the entire class

Happiness over success: The 106 CSM BA FASHION graduates talk about their inspiration and techniques

I took my time, I went at my own pace. I never thought “I’m too late” or “maybe I should work more” because I didn’t know how it was going for my classmates. – Victoria Valette, CSM BA 2021

On Tuesday, 100 BA students walked a repurposed patchwork runway, each personally modelling a single look from their graduate collection. Organized as a resourceful solution to social restrictions, the show offered a long-desired moment of celebration and release, from isolation, from limitation, from loneliness.

Over the past year, these graduates received feedback through airpods and cracked screens, stitched their prototypes on rented machines, and fitted the results on themselves in kitchen lighting. Where an art school education is usually nourished by beer-soaked social interaction and spontaneous discoveries, supported by technical guidance and facilities, they became entirely self-reliant, diving deep into their own worlds and down the DIY hole of YouTube tutorials. Where four years of education are traditionally concluded with competitive selection shows – the pressure to be included in the social validation mounting with every semester – they constructed entirely alternative modes of self-evaluation, finding worth and purpose outside of the institution.

The graduate show reflected that, and so did the research.

Unsupervised and without a clear endgame to work towards, these students started playing. They returned to their parental homes and explored their upbringings in a haze of psychedelic nostalgia and childlike fun. Creating became a form of therapy, even of spirituality for some, as they focused on enjoyment and pleasure, on relaxation and fun, in what seems like the first generation to grasp that stress, pressure, and emotional breakdowns don’t necessarily lead to better work.

There was talk of sustainability but through an intuitive, craft-based approach that took wholesome creation as its starting point, rather than large-scale, systematic change. Materials were repurposed, recycled, vegan, deadstock, and organically dyed. As the students had nothing but their own rooms to source from, the contents of their closets and bins and fridges to scour through, they reflected on their personal relationship to the objects around them, wanting to treasure these precious, intimate materials. When you’re not aiming to fit into a polluting and exploitative system, it’s suddenly much easier to create responsibly.

There were a handful of students who found inspiration in the political, shaping a narrative around feminicide, abortion rights, or the BLM movement through their collection, but overall the design journeys turned inwards rather than out, exploring the individual rather than the collective. In all cases, research topics were personal and intimate.

This generation had the opportunity to step outside of the institution while learning and growing under the guidance of dedicated tutors. Yes, they were disconnected from peers and industry experts, but also shielded from judgmental eyes and competitive atmospheres. Suddenly, they could recalibrate their values and priorities. They felt more authentic, more true to themselves. They could question reality and dream. Of travel, of nature, of owning a dog and being able to walk it in the park every day.

In an industry that has been struggling to keep up with its own rhythm, this is a welcome energy – in case these graduates decide to join us in the first place.

But how can we assure that these newfound values are preserved? As the graduates leave their isolation pods and slowly enter the sector (expanding on the freelance projects and Instagram commissions they started during lockdown), will they re-adapt to the current system, or will they change it? Will they remain focused on themselves and use their self-explorations as a means to self-promote, or will they invest outwards and give back to the communities around them?

The answer lies in the nature of their upcoming social connections. Rather than pleading at the doorstep of the gatekeepers, we hope these creatives will come together and build a new network.

Below, you will find a wide array of interests, specialties, and reflections, rather than a reduced selection of the most commodifiable talent. Go hit those dms!

 

**The article is updated as more students answer our questions!

I am exploring how technologies used for space mechanical engineering, such as rotative or deployable motions, could be integrated into design ideas and how they could make the status of clothes evolve to add more functionality than they already have. I really like the idea that a garment in the future could be sewn and coded. The garment would become an electronic device by itself.

Aesthetically, I mainly referred to space-age geometrical designs adding a very strict tailoring construction to the garments. I designed a womenswear collection as a menswear student, so it was very important for me to keep a menswear construction of the garment.

My workspace essentials: Sharp scissors, soldering material, a mannequin, electronic/programming equipment, and an industrial Juki, the formula one of the sewing machine.

 

Agatha's electronic equipment

I’m making garments out of common products and everyday items. The idea behind that is really to create with what’s already there, trying to create more links and make a sense of the line between fashion and our lives, creating something that looks comfortable and modern. All my garments reference football colors. I started the collection by reproducing towels. Next year, I’m doing an MA course which will refine my work much more. It will be really exciting to see myself growing in this short time.

I am from Buckinghamshire, just outside of London. The inspiration behind my collection is the manifestation of feeling when you’re being observed. When you no longer see the person watching you but you only see yourself through their eyes. When you feel this you tend to exaggerate certain parts of your body and innately become more sexual. For me, it originated from lockdown and the inability to go out in public, dress up and be a spectacle, which I missed. The collection’s colour palette is inspired by the film ‘Juliet of the Spirits’ by Federico Fellini. A mix of pastels cut through with bright reds and oranges. The PVC and latex contrasts in sensuality and texture of the gathered and embellished tulles and velvets.

“Working from home meant I was able to have the support of my parents, and coming back to dinner on the table was appreciated like never before.” – Amber Healey

Most of the collection had to be sewn by hand due to the nature of the volume and complexity of the designs. The design process was incredibly tricky. Working in my bedroom was challenging because you weren’t able to have space away from work. I would wake up in my bed and directly see the toiles on my mannequins at the end of my bed. It was very difficult to switch off. However, working from home meant I was able to have the support of my parents, and coming back to dinner on the table was appreciated like never before.

My workspace essentials: plasters for when I put a sewing machine needle through my finger.

 

My year in an image:

My collection is all about your inner family, who you speak to when you speak to yourself. Zigzags, swirls, and squiggles ‒ colour! The show is really rewarding, it’s surreal being able to wear my clothes, especially because I’m a womenswear designer and I’m a guy. It’s changed so much! I think I’m more willing to streamline my design process, cut out what isn’t possible to do considering the pandemic. I’ve been lucky enough to be offered a job during my internship year!

Who I would want to wear my garments: My mom

My year in an image:

I’m from Sheffield, I went to college in Chesterfield before moving to London to study for my degree at CSM. The inspiration behind my collection is ‘distalgia’ ‒ the concept of nostalgia for someone else’s past, more specifically that of my close family members’ archives of 70s images and portraits. My collection is joyful and colourful, heavily influenced by childhood crafts that I and my family members have taken part in over the years.

My family collaborated in creating some of the textiles which include hand-painted ginghams, stripes, and polka dots using a mix of paints including shiny puffy paint which I used to use in primary school to decorate my shoes. Other techniques were chenille crochet flowers, rug tufted and pipe cleaner sunflowers, and handwoven plastic canvas handbags and accessories. The concept for the silhouettes is based on a mix of aesthetics found in my family archive pictures, including school uniforms.

Arianne Scott sketchbook page

My collection’s starting point was my drawings. Alongside exploring my own emotions and studies of mythology and elements, making sustainable clothing has also been a key factor in my collection. I would describe my work as entropic… I create characterful clothes for lonely people. Making this collection was all I thought about for a year. I taught myself to slow down, to take time, and pay attention to every single process,. I fell in love with patchwork and hand sewing.

After uni I was hoping to travel to the Arctic circle by train – otherwise, maybe I’ll just become a toy maker.

The physical show was pretty nice, it definitely made everyone very happy, but it was very very very tiring and I’m not sure everyone had the physical and mental strength to do something that intense! But i’m glad we did, it was emotional!

My go-to meal: 3 pistachio mochi ice cream balls a week!

The inspiration for my collection is a tale I came up with, inspired by my family heritage and Persian political turmoil. It’s based on a young Persian volleyball girl, set in pre-revolutionary Iran. The character is obsessed with the new Shahbanu “Farah Pahlavi” and she naively fantasises about being royalty. The images display her watching Farah on television whilst she is crowned empress, running to the mirror, daydreaming whilst raiding her family’s wardrobe, she puts together anything she can find to make her feel like she is Shahbanu (empress). I visited Iran with my family a few years back and became obsessed with the Golestan palace, an outrageously opulent palace, covered from the floor to the ceiling in mirror work and ancient tiling. Researching Iranian history, the last Pahlavi reign, and how brutal these fantasies were for the Iranian lower classes, I knew I had to use this chaos in my collection. This time from a naive perspective.

“It was incredibly important to me to have fun with my collection this year, which I think is the most different way I worked compared to my previous projects.” – Avisa Curtis

I used only vegan fabrics throughout my whole time at CSM and for this final collection, I used only natural fabrics or deadstock/charity shop/gifted synthetics. No virgin synthetics!

It was incredibly important to me to have fun with my collection this year, which I think is the most different way I worked compared to my previous projects. I made this year about play and having fun and this how I made it through making a seven-look collection from my kitchen.

My year in an image:

My collection is inspired by my mother’s childhood storybooks which she would read to me whilst growing up. By subversive visual cues, I’ve worked towards exploring the appetite for stories we seem to all share and how fashion can be a means for catharsis and escapism. I’ve found myself in this limbo between adulthood and childhood so this collection is about dealing with adult topics through a child’s eyes. It’s about growing up and not really wanting to. There’s a resistant sense of humour to the way I approach these ideas.

“This time next year I hope I’m happy, whatever I’m doing whether it’s bitching around Paris making frilly frocks or the polar opposite, maybe a radio host would be nice. Their jobs look easy, I just hope I’m happy wherever I am.” – Ben Redouane Bennai

My collection is designed for nervous gestures, open back jackets are to be worn swung forward with the hands in trouser pockets creating a distorted bell-shaped silhouette. A halftone graphic is made up of individual pins similar to the ones you’d get on your birthday cards growing up and applied to a flat jacket. Gathered armholes and tight jersey sleeves on oversized outerwear pieces are a nod to growing into and then out of your clothes. I’ve stayed relatively close to the walls during my time at university and my collection is a love letter to the introvert, garments open up and expose their insides, and in retrospect that is largely what I’ve tried to do to myself with this collection.

This time next year I hope I’m happy, whatever I’m doing whether it’s bitching around Paris making frilly frocks or the polar opposite, maybe a radio host would be nice. Their jobs look easy, I just hope I’m happy wherever I am.

Ben-Redouane Bennai's sketchbooks

The title of my collection is 7140, a reverse of my birthday. I chose the numbers because numbers are neutral and shapeable. The idea of my collection is inspired by different childhood memories. I selected a few memory clips which I see as turning points that helped shape the person I am today. My sketchbook is full of different drawings representing each story. The collection is very personal but explosive, messy but with logic, not planned out, happened naturally. I didn’t have any expectations for this year since everything changes so quickly and unpredictably.

It’s quite tricky for me to be the one to model the garment but at the same time, I do feel a better connection with the garment. My design process was more technical. It became more emotional as it developed and it helped me find a very comfortable place in this collection. After graduation, I want to spend more time getting to know this industry, and I would like to eventually start up my own studio. But before that, I will spend more time with family and friends, especially some of my friends who are getting married. I’ll also explore and do some market research.

My go-to meal: Having iced coffee and talking with my friend each morning before working becomes a very motivational habit.

My collection started from a mundane observation during my placement. I was looking into a water glass resting on a table observing the refracted lines through it. I found myself contemplating the idea of distorted facts. I believe that there is always a certain truth that lies beneath skewed realities. This idea of distortion also applies to print and design elements.

With my identity being as a female designer mostly working with menswear, I wanted to reference myself for developing shapes and silhouettes. I love wearing Victorian and Edwardian era women’s clothing so that I looked up Victorian womenswear; a lot such as corsetry, voluminous skirts, emphasised waistlines, and crinolines. It was such a fun time, translating old times womenswear into contemporary menswear. With skillfully hand-woven fabric and a touch of craftsmanship such as handmade embroidery beads, blown glass goblets, and hand stitching, I envision men’s couture.

My year in an image:

I wanted to create a real “human sculpture” to express my ideas and commitment. My style is a hybrid of fashion and art. My creations are disruptive, unusual, and unconventional. My questions are feminist. I am the issue of binary and post-gender theory, intrigued by the importance of the body in our lives, and what it represents today. Our perception of our body is influenced by culture, social, psychological, historical, and political factors, and this impacts our experience of the body and its meaning. My goal is to metamorphose the human figure into non-binary characters: mixing the bodies of a man and a woman to make one garment for both. This year I learned a lot: I have worked with an old scrap of fabric that I found at my place, books, old images that I collected through the years. I was finally working with stuff that I had from the past and that I never used – it was sustainable.

My go-to drink: Coffee and coffee, and also coffee – Just coffee (strong and black, without sugar)

My year in an image:

Mathilde's process

Boy Against the Sea is a collection rooted in my Californian upbringing, seeking to explore queer identities within surf culture. I was initially inspired by Rainer Fassbinder’s Querelle and began to take it back to my own experiences. The collection strives to be as sustainable as possible, utilizing deadstock fabric from Taroni Italy, upcycled US Naval panel signals, sustainable tailoring canvas, vintage Hawaiian shirts, and wetsuits sourced locally from Cornwall.

“I became incredibly self-confident in my design process over the past year.” – Boy Kloves

I wanted the collection to be incredibly bright and fun, so there is a lot of colour and print. I became incredibly self-confident in my design process over the past year. Being in and out of lockdown throughout the year, you really had to be self-sufficient and just go for it. There was a lot of googling, watching American crafting and sewing channels on YouTube, and trial and error throughout the process, but in the end, you really just had to go for it. After CSM, I would love to be on a beach. I would love to do an artist’s residency somewhere in America where I haven’t lived before! Americana has always been such a part of my design ethos, and I would love to go back to explore facets of it that I haven’t yet while putting out a new collection.

My morning routine: I have become vegan in the new year and have always been a bit of a Californian stereotype when it comes to food. I always start my day with a run, a workout, and a protein shake!

This collection began with a subjective view of values. While thinking about what is the most objective and subjective, I felt that time and space have both properties. The space each individual sees can look different according to the passage of time. Space exists objectively, but time exists in fiction. Imagining how people see the world differently depends on time. I developed my collection with the idea of panoramic pictures and twofold optical illusions. No one knows whether the space of one-second frame in my eyes will look the same to others. If I’m looking at one side of a cube, I would say it’s a cube, but whether the backside is also square, I can’t prove that! What I want to say through this collection is “Can you believe that what you see looks the same to others?”

The main source of inspiration for the “The shadow on the road” collection is an ancient Buddhist ritual where one sits across from an empty chair and imagines their darker emotions as entities to bargain with whilst sitting opposite them. The notion of giving a loving farewell to troubling emotions and empowering the wearer by giving them control over these representative garments. The balance between the purity of sculpture, the search for meaning in form, and my obsession for the technical aspect of garment design. It has been an amazing experience to distill so many of my intrigues into one body of work. Creature design, spiritualism, science fiction, and my personal emotions somehow all found a balance within it. It has been amazing to work with Ventile, one of my favourite fabrics and sponsor of my work as well!

My year in an image:

 

For this collection, the concept is taken from Donna Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto”. Relating to the current context, a time of myth ‒ we are all Chimera (with a top half like a lion, a middle like a goat, and a bottom half like a viper with fire spewing from its mouth), a mixture of theoretically fictional machines and living organisms. I named this collection Facima, a hunter who represents the post-human, with a Cyborg body.

This year I became more comfortable with exploring design through graphic design and CGI, making more images to add to the process of knitting fabrics and the whole storytelling, and finally making a short film to present. After graduation, I will continue to design knitted fabrics but not necessarily for clothing design only, I may want to explore knit attached to furniture or something else. I would also like to be a storyteller and continue to direct CGI films and do fashion communication work.

My studio essentials:

My collection is about FEMICIDE, a gender-based hate crime, as I initially wanted to raise more awareness on this topic. The number of women being murdered every year is continuously rising and recently the government of Turkey withdrew from the Istanbul convention.

I used 474 pairs of tights all in different tones in memory of each woman who was murdered in Turkey in 2019. I ripped and topstitched each of these tights to visually tell the story through my sewing technique. I combined these neutral tones of patchwork with 300 coral crochet flowers in memory of all 300 women who were murdered in 2020.

“I used 474 pairs of tights all in different tones in memory of each woman who was murdered in Turkey in 2019.” – Cansu Lisa Aytac

I combined my crochet flowers to add colour and softness. They also define the femme and the youth that was stolen from these women. I developed one look by combining fine draped tights with resin which looked like real skin and leather. I moulded this drape with a wedding dress crinoline to recreate a contemporary sculptural dress.

My essentials: red lipstick, white sage, stitch, fluffy socks, and a jar of Nutella.

The concept came from when I and my mates would sneak out or tell our parents we were staying at each other’s houses but we would actually be getting the train to London to go to squat parties. I have wanted to explore this concept through the development of anarchic construction methods, subverting traditional knit techniques, and layered silhouettes. I feel like my process became a lot more digital this year. I normally get a lot of my inspiration from people watching when I’m out and about so it’s been a bit harder to design in a lockdown.

After graduation, I will hopefully be working on my own stuff. I’ve applied for the MA but if that doesn’t happen I want to set up a studio wherever I can. I enjoyed shooting the visuals for the collection so I want to keep working on different projects like that also.

My essentials:

The inspiration behind my collection is to create a living room utopia, a celebration of the beauty and joy that can be found in our own living rooms. My collection draws a lot of inspiration from famous product designs of the 1960s and 1970s. I have been inspired by the work of Joe Colombo, Verner Panton, and Eero Saarinen since they did not sacrifice function for aesthetic value. I have carried this principle into my designs by creating garments that look beautiful while being worn and can also be admired after they are taken off.

“I packed all of my collection into four suitcases, two boxes, and two bags, a total of 23 kg each, so 136kg worth of things onto a flight from Hong Kong to the UK.” – Celine Kwan

The collection is fun, colourful, cutting edge, and INFLATABLE! There are a lot of 3D-printed textiles. It’s important to note that 3D is also less wasteful and lower cost than traditional plastic manufacturing since it is an additive process that yields no waste material.

I am one of the students that studied in their home county for this WHOLE academic year. One whole year. I actually flew back just for the show. I packed all of my collection into four suitcases, two boxes, and two bags, a total of 23 kg each, so 136kg worth of things onto a flight from Hong Kong to the UK.

What I ate when making the collection: Seaweed and apple juice. Weird but actually a really good combo.

My year in an image:

My inspiration was the journey of finding beauty and tension within imperfection, celebrating the asymmetry in nature. Growing up in Japan, I was always inspired by the concept of timeless Japanese beauty. My grandmother used to tell me since I was a kid: “Women preserve beauty naturally and age gracefully.” I believe that women gain more power and become more resilient as they gain knowledge and experience. I think the clothes I design should be spiritual and sensorial. The frustration of admitting that it is human nature to age, meanwhile believing the idea of aged beauty, led me to explore this unspoken “tension” by using fabric manipulation such as stretched and ruching technique on top of foam structures and crinoline, two ways crystal pleats technique and stretched knit lace to express my culture and the emotions towards the idea of youthful beauty, the contemporary obsessions with youth and status.

I have just gotten an MA womenswear offer today and I am super excited to start my new journey and seek a different version of myself, very very excited to see what I will create in the next collection!!!

My concept comes from the idea of our unclear futures and how life is a series of scary surprises. Life is like walking down a dark path, but it leaves you exposed to what could jump out from the periphery. Thinking back to the fishing trips I used to take with my grandfather, and the excitement I felt of not knowing what might be on the end of the fishing line as it surfaced. Finding a parallel between these formative experiences and the unpredictability of the pandemic, I used the ocean as a physical representation of the wide expanse of the unknown, and the creatures that lurk around within it. I took references from utilitarian diving and fishing garments, bags, and compartments. I also repurposed old wetsuits, creating a collection of couture gowns and modern tailored pieces. I am drawn to modern technical fabrics as they lead to a harsh, unnatural finish. I am fascinated by how these materials perform and the complexities of constructing with modern, sports-like fabrics, and their juxtaposing qualities with couture-tailored clothing.

My year in an image:

I found my inspiration in Russian pre-revolutionary (1900-1905) political satire magazines that depict the tsar as an evil creature as well as all of his followers. It was difficult not to find this concept relevant yet again, having spent my entire life under the regime of a self-proclaimed monarch. Thereby, I applied this “demonisation” to current politicians, and their perfectly tailored Italian suits. Whereas, looking back, my concept for the collection has been shaping for some time on its own, with every new absurd law, political imprisonments and assassinations, brutal detention of peaceful protesters, and jail time for Facebook posts.

“I asked my friend to cut my hair between the shows because its length really wasn’t working with the jacket!” – Darya Egorova

At a certain point, as an artist, I couldn’t imagine making my work about anything, but this because as a human I could not think about or see any meaning in anything else, including my collection.

The entire show day somehow fits into one huge moment in my head. I asked my friend to cut my hair almost in half between the shows because its length really wasn’t working with the jacket!

My graduate collection’s design inspiration came from a trip to Cambodia. I saw several monks in red robes walking through a corridor where the sun was shining diagonally. The sun was shining deep and shallow on their robes. I imagined a monk walking through the Palace of Versailles in the postmodern era. I use knitting and gradual yarn quality to present the scene of the avant-garde/post-modern palace. Maybe the traditional monks will wander under the decayed and fading crystal lamp of the installation work of artist Lee Bul. I like to show romantic femininity and brokenness with the texture of gradual organza. I also like that my design is very agile when the model moves around on the catwalk, showing the vitality of fabrics other than static from every angle.

I am very grateful to all the teachers for their hard work and help to make the impossible possible. Online teaching made the garment adjustment process very difficult.

I hope that in addition to becoming a fashion designer, I will set up an association of emerging fashion designers to help more start-up designer brands who have just graduated like me find suitable resources and survive in this fast-moving fashion industry.

The inspiration behind my collection was material memory, the sense of traces of the past when you interact with an object. I began with a fossil I found on the Jurassic Coast and the connection I felt when I held it. I became curious about what traces would be left behind by our generation and how this might form. I’m passionate about sustainability so I’ve made this collection as consciously as possible, using deadstock fabric, organic and recycled PET threads, natural fibres.

I arranged pieces of my fabrics together, stitched them to a base fabric, and slashed along the lines of stitching. It creates an interesting texture and a unique fabric to reference the sense of material traces that inspired me initially. The colour palette was created with earthy tones, oranges, and greys with blue accents to link back to the beach where I started my project. I became very in touch with nature during lockdown which is partly why my project has such an organic feel. In the next year, I hope to take some time to travel and explore a bit more, and hopefully, find a job at a sustainably-minded brand.

My final collection is inspired by ‘The Suicide Boom’ photography collection by Japanese photographer Kenji Chiga. By researching the Aokigahara forest in Japan, I found the textures of degraded clothes very absorbing. I made various kinds of draping samples by using water-soluble fabrics for the ‘melting/degradation’ experiment. The reaction of dissolvable fabric on the skin creates a special feeling and texture. I worked with a factory to create some customized Devoré to achieve a similar visual texture. The final prints are inspired by one of the works in Yateng’s Crinkled Fog photography collection; he captured people’s emotions and feelings of depression defining them as ‘crinkled fog’-visible but untouchable. After graduation, I am planning to continue studying for a Master’s degree at CSM, and to start my own fashion brand afterward.

The inspiration behind my collection is processing grief and finding acceptance and hope. That and medieval little monsters and cats licking their bums on the side of illuminated manuscripts. My collection is resourceful, I had a mission to keep my environmental impact as low as possible and to work with waste (food waste, dead-stock material, byproducts, pure garbage) making it into something enjoyable, escapist, and theatrical. The solutions I am most proud of are not even visible, like with the structure of the egg dress, I managed to make a lightweight cage completely plastic-free.

At CSM I learned to manage my stress much better, and during my final year, I stopped completely thinking about what others would think of my work. I didn’t design thinking about an MA or starting my brand, I lost myself in my practice and I was present. Next year I see myself involved in some extravagant project that hopefully won’t involve blowing almost 900 eggs…

I consider my collection a form of ‘institutional critique’ ‒ the work of Andrea Fraser and Louise Lawler informed the start of my investigation into the art world. In the vein of Fraser’s performances (formed by collaging art world speeches), I used four different books on the ‘art world’ and with auction house results, chose the pages. The prose on each page informed the research for each look! The result was a seemingly impossible mix of artists, industry rules, and themes. Regardless of how seemingly meaningless, tasteless, or absurd, I felt they were, I diligently had to enforce these ‘institutional values’. Thus the collection grew to become something totally detached from my own aesthetic preferences or preconceptions … something I found rather therapeutic given the circumstances!

Our own institutional conditions at CSM were being reconsidered ‒ being offered a physical show, with everyone included, was a welcomed relief! Moving forward, I would love to continue this body of research. Moving to Italy is the dream!

If you look at my collection, you might ask what I’m trying to say, because there are so many variations in materials, textures, shapes, and shadows. I would say that I was inspired by artists like the Swedish abstract painter Hilma Af Klint, American futuristic sculptor Matt McConnell, and Swiss sculptor Laetitia Florin. The collection shows the contrast between the vastness of space and the feeling of being trapped. Using the Deneb star found in the Cygnus constellation as a starting point, I explored various ways of deconstructing geometric and asymmetrical lines, resulting in what I call a whimsical cage. I will not attend the physical show in CSM because of Covid, instead, I’m showing my final collection via a film. My future plan is to find work with existing brands in South Korea first, and I hope to launch my own business in the next few years.

Working on my final collection remotely from my home in Seoul was difficult at times, but I feel proud of my work, as I was able to overcome the obstacles in my way. I did everything I wanted to do, such as photography, directing, and editing videos.

My collection is called My Wedding and it is about me getting married to myself, looking at who would come to my wedding, where the wedding would take place… I was inspired by my dad’s work, who is a sculptor, and wanted to reinterpret some of his shapes so when I get married at home, I’d look good with the decorations. 

I started the process by looking at the steps you have to go through before getting married in Morocco (Hammam day, Henna day, Bride of Fes…) and then moved on to the people who would attend my wedding (my aunt, the waiters…). I mainly started working with materials that reminded me of my home, like the raffia shoe/raffia top which are hand crocheted/woven. Then I also looked at the art that my great grandmother used to make, where she would make life-sized dolls representing brides from different regions in Morocco. She used to bead the dolls, which inspired the more opulent side of my collection (like the fully beaded jacket look). 

I also had the chance to collaborate with a friend of mine who made music based on the sounds of the videotape of my parents’ wedding (who later got divorced, ironically). So the collection is actually about understanding to love yourself.

My inspiration comes from my childhood experience and memory of virtual relationships on the internet. It is interesting to me how people jump in between their virtual self and their real self to build their relationships from a distance. They search for a different way to have a connection through virtual bodies, particularly as a child. I am referencing and experimenting with these child lifestyles, similar to mine when I was little, defined by being addicted to virtual fantasies.

The designs of the collection reflect the combination of the self and the virtual avatar. In the late 1990s, many Asian families would treat children who spend a long time on the web as problematic and nerdy. We were all wearing the same checked shirts aiming to look as simple as we can, as normal as we can pretend to be.

I would like to ask someone from that nerdy community to wear my clothes. People always consider these nerds as boring people in boring clothes, but I am from the same community as them. I want to prove that we are very special.

My year in an image:

My collection is inspired by my military experience back in Taiwan, which is mandatory for all Taiwanese boys. I found it interesting to talk about my own military experience through the art of clothing. People perceive it as suffering, but to me, it’s more of a process to turn the boys into men, which is the reason why I capture those military moments through my biggest passion, fashion.  The army’s life and rules serve as the foundation of this collection, which includes the notions of camouflage, haircut, body armors, helmet, and uniform. During wars, soldiers use hay and grass to camouflage and raffia aims to create a similar effect in my collection. Raffia has not been widely used so I decided to use it as a material for knitting. Next year I’m planning to continue learning and attend the MA at CSM.

 

Getting inspired for my final collection started when I began lifting weights, or rather when I started to see my muscles grow. My relationship with my body was quite unexceptional before, it was very general. Suddenly everything was new. Every time I looked in the mirror there was something I had never seen before. I would bend and twist and tense just to see how my obliques would protrude, or how my deltoid muscles would show their definition if I lifted my arm in a certain way. It was something I had never felt, this newfound connection to my body. It was art for me, I was a sculptor. I was so proud, and it was all so personal and powerful, I just had to explore it.

I wanted the techniques to reflect the discipline of weightlifting, using movements such as barbell squats and deadlifts and Russian twists, symmetry, and balance, pushing and pulling, focus and mind-body connection, as well as damage and relief. I built some make-shift barbells and dumbbells, pulled and draped jerseys, sculpting them around the structures. Then, I took the bar out and gave them some relief, just to see what would happen. I used other tools, like little clay sculptures I created of hyper-muscled torsos or legs and backs, forced them into the movements, and used these for silhouettes and placements.

My collection in a few words: sexy mud girls and being a horrible wench. The physical show is bittersweet I think. My process hasn’t changed a lot, it just evolved. I surprised myself this year because I have actually enjoyed making the collection ‒ not that I don’t love what I do but every year leading up to this I would see the pressure final year students had to deal with and I honestly thought the whole thing seemed quite scary and unpleasant. But it’s been quite the opposite!

“Burnout is shit and I want to avoid it at all costs. There’s no point in doing this if it makes me miserable so no thanks to THAT.” – Freyja Newsome

As long as I can manage to stay in London around my community ‒ that’s success for me, for now. I’ll be opening up my commissions again once this is all over, making stuff for the next fantastic toiles drop and online shop. Just freelancing and hustling as usual. I never really stop working but it’s important to live too, otherwise where is your perspective to make something interesting? Burnout is shit and I want to avoid it at all costs. There’s no point in doing this if it makes me miserable so no thanks to THAT.

Freyja's moodboards

My collection portrays this dystopia where the human race had to evolve and change its bodily structure to survive. It is very contrasted in terms of colour as all the knitwear is very bright and colourful whilst the outerwear is very dark, representative of an obscure environment. It is mainly fully-fashioned knitwear and second-hand leather which I reuse to create mosaics echoing reptile skins, and upcycling defective wellies for the shoes. Obviously, the show we are having is not what we expected but I feel like it’s more of a reunion and a big get-together before we all part ways, which is really nice and makes me feel a bit nostalgic!

Over the past year, my design process was more immersive than ever because we were locked down and working from home so there was no escape from my collection and concept! Sketchbooks were replaced by walls. Next year I want to take a break from all this, do some sculpture work, take time for myself, and ideally have a freelance design position somewhere. I applied for an MA but feel like I need some time before I do that.

My final collection is about one’s unconscious experience during sleep. My inspiration was a French avant-garde film called The Blood of a Poet by Jean Cocteau. I was fascinated by the surrealistic aspects in the film, for example, dream, mirror, an artist speaking with a sculpture…

From there I got into exploring dreams. I was asking questions like “what is the meaning of dreams? Does a dream have a deeper meaning?” I looked at a group of sculptures by Czech artists called Virtues and Vices where each of the sculptures has emotion. Based on each sculpture’s emotional state, I created characters for my muses. My four characters are happiness, despair, love, and hate. My garments require a lot of hands-on work. The fabrics I chose are mainly velvets which I hand-dyed and did Devore prints on them. I made a lot of corsets which was challenging because this is my first time making them.

My starting point was my kindergarten drawings from 2002. Looking at them, I understood my childhood: dreaming while being awake, playing, and having fun. I couldn’t stop thinking about this chaotic uninterrupted energy. A childlike naivety mixed with references that are neither clear nor trying to be, because they are just instinctive. These drawings offered me the chance to look back at some of my first versions of ’’designs’’ and therefore they have played a vocal part in informing my collection’s shapes.

“This whole situation made me reconsider the way I work and realized that having fun with what you do is key.” – Konstantinos Damis

My aim was to absorb these childhood drawings and gestures into my own visual lexicon of today, not only by appropriating unskilled simplifications employed by children but also by reflecting on the strength of imagination and expressive authenticity shown in children’s work. Breaking down stylistic patterns in Child Art to build a visual language that will urge the viewer’s spiritual awareness to respond in sight of these nostalgic symbols. “Childhood drawings on an acid trip” is probably what I would describe my collection as.

This whole situation made me reconsider the way I work and realized that having fun with what you do is key. So, that’s literally what I did for the past few months, once we came back to uni: just had fun in the print room.

My graduate collection, An Ode to the Gambiarra, is a practical investigation into the Gambiarra, an epistemology of design rooted in the global south, specifically Brasil, emergent from a particular socio-economic context. It explores how non-western practices of design, that take place in the margins of capitalism, can be seen as counter-narratives to the Anglo- and Eurocentric hegemony in the design field. I wanted to understand these practices as forms of resistance to capitalist imposition and contemporary neo colonial thought, as a fundamental tool in the process of decoloniality. My work is a case study of the potential of incorporating traditional artisanal techniques into high luxury and what that could represent to the fashion industry at large. The concept is simply to dwell and explore on non-Eurocentric means of creation and to celebrate the Gambiarra while developing a collection that is made almost entirely out of artisanally and ethically sourced materials such as upcycled shrimp fishing nets, hand grown+spun+dyed+woven cottons, natural latex, fish scales, clay beads, and more. I’m still in Brazil and I didn’t take part in the show.

My process became much slower and more balanced. When thinking of final year, I had always envisioned nine months of no sleep, mental breakdowns, no social life, high anxiety, etc. but the reality couldn’t have been further from the truth. Doing my final year remotely from Brasil was the best decision I could’ve made. I think I’ve finally found the importance of taking care and prioritizing your personal life and not focusing just on work.

My workspace essential:

Luma's Essentials

For my collection I am drawing inspiration from my home country, Argentina, during the disastrous military dictatorship in the 70s through to the early 80s. Coincidentally, it was the peak of showgirls theatre and telenovelas, full-on glamour and hyper-feminine fashion.

“If there is something this year has taught me is to not overthink the future and see what happens.” – India Safdie

The contrast between the military uniforms and the showgirl costumes is a sarcastic approach to the patriarchal notions that interlink masculinity with rigidity and uniforms, and femininity with sexiness and ornamentation. My collection aims to create ultra-feminine and ornamented uniforms that are comfortable, practical, and at the same time, sexy. Most of the fabrics, especially the tweeds and wools were sourced in Buenos Aires from a deadstock factory from the 80’s. The fabrics are shiny and colourful. I sourced the satins from London, and I printed them with images of Estudio Luisita. She used to be an amazing photographer of the time who used to take pictures of the showgirls. I found out about her and her story through a documentary made by Sol Miraglia, and I got in contact with her. She was so kind and allowed me to use the whole archive for inspiration as well as for the prints in my collection.

Having to do a collection in lockdown felt like having to go back to basics and focus on the details, since there was no space for big and experimental garments. If there is something this year has taught me is to not overthink the future and see what happens.

I am inspired by the movement in my surroundings. Kinetic sculptures by Anthony Howe, encyclopedia illustrations by Ernst Hackel, and my favourite childhood animation Naussica, Valley of the Wind are big inspirations for this collection. My work is heavily based on the craft of knitwear, mixed with my aesthetic. This collection is how I see the future of knitwear. There’s always something unexpected making headways towards me, so this year has enabled me to hit all the curve balls coming my way. I dream of either launching my knitwear label in London, or finishing my first year of the MA at CSM.

My go-to meal: KFC and Bubble tea, I’m addicted to sugar.

My collection is based on a lab environment and the idea of protection and mutation. It is about using cutting techniques and materials to create 3D, structural garments. The limitations of this year made me have to rethink my process of designing and making garments. Since pre-collection I wanted to keep a PDF sketchbook and this led to more digital outcomes. I’d like to gain more work experience after graduation. I enjoyed my placement at Marine Serre and working in a team environment.

My go-to drink: San Pellegrino Lemon

My workspace essential:

The collection started by looking at two horse racing cultures. The Tibetan horse race in Kham and Ascot in England. I wanted to investigate both the Tibetan riders and English jockeys as well as those spectating. Especially as both are social events where attendees are showing the best versions of themselves.

As racing is often associated with betting and luck I wanted to incorporate this into my project. Whilst researching, I learnt about Zaido, an annual good luck ceremony that takes place in Japan. A lot of the good luck symbolisms inspired the prints in the collection, such as the lilies. With this being the first year that a female jockey won the grand national I wanted to celebrate female success within what is predominantly a male-oriented sport. With each look, I wanted to create my interpretation of badass women riders who are wearing a ‘uniform’ similar to that of jockeys but with the attitude and individuality of the Tibetan festival. The colours/prints were my versions of the classic jockey silks/outfits worn in the Zaido ceremony focusing on the harlequin pattern. I wanted to use fabrics that had a shiny quality like the sportswear worn and chose to use a heat press for its intensity of colour and ability to have three-dimensionality which you don’t always get from other techniques. Each print has a minimum of three layers hand-painted specific to each pattern piece of the garment.

My go-to meal: Pepsi Max and crisps. I’m certain I have contributed to an increase in Pepsi Max profits this year. 

My collection is inspired by different cultural surroundings that I had in my life. My experience of living in Paris and London has a strong influence on my vision of art and fashion design. The people I saw on the street, transport, or in different areas such as the art or underground party scene, really influenced my way of thinking. These two cities are very different but complementary. My sculptures are made from recycled and bioplastic I made myself. I have always been interested in interior design and created some sculptures for my own place. It’s a process that helps me relax and feel good. I try to create inspiring surroundings in my home to escape the reality of the pandemic.

As I was working and living in Paris for my placement year, once I was back at school I had to stop thinking about commercial products and go back to a very creative vision as we learn at CSM. It’s quite interesting to see the difference when you are a student, and how different it is when you are in the industry. I really had to push myself to create garments that are more of art pieces than clothes.

I will see how it will go for next year, but it is clear to take a bit of time for myself and see what will be the different career options that I have. We are pushed by society to do everything very fast.

The collection is an exercise of the unconscious; the tale of a nomadic warrior falling asleep on horseback into a psychedelic dream. I formed a language for my design aesthetic by combining research into the Huns (4th-century barbarians) with a study on the graphics of the psychedelic movement. The notions of fluidity, graphic colour, and negative space are juxtaposed with the rage and ferocity of the Huns. The silhouettes are slashed and elongated, referencing painful rituals that distort Hunnic profiles into a wild and threatening image. Streamlined cuts dominate the collection, drawing upon their extreme archery skills and archival editorials from the psychedelic era.

“With fabric shops closed, I was lucky enough to get a lot of fabrics from my last internship at JW Anderson which was a lifesaver!!” – Tom Kindon

Over the past year, I have learnt to trust my instinct and trust the process. Not everything needs to be over-designed. It was very important that my collection had a bold colour palette and felt very tactile to provoke a sensory experience. It would be totally different if lockdown never happened. I think I would have spent more money on facilities too. With fabric shops closed, I was lucky enough to get a lot of fabrics from my last internship at JW Anderson which was a lifesaver!!

In my collection I explore a personal collection of items that seem unlikely to behold any memories or emotions. Some may call these items rubbish, but somehow, to me, they hold an emotional connection. I explored these items and connected them to my family heritage and the idea of carrying on emotions through generations. The process was very hands-on.

“I did a lot of draping, photographing and recording myself in the clothes. These recordings have become a big part of the research and it puts into perspective the vulnerability of the collection.” – Thora Stefansdottir

I like to make my fabrics from scratch, so I did a lot of weaving in Iceland and made some of my fabrics there, which was very therapeutic! I mix the weaves with digital and screen printing as well as focusing on sculptural shapes which at times become dramatic.

I did a lot of draping, photographing and recording myself in the clothes. These recordings have become a big part of the research and it puts into perspective the vulnerability of the collection. The print was an accidental process that happened while criticising my body in the videos. Through the videos, I started looking at my body as a canvas rather than having negative feelings towards it.

The idea behind the collection is to create an illusion. I guess we create those for ourselves everyday so I applied it to this, with mirrors. I wanted the colours to be bright and fun ‒ there’s not a drop of black in sight. Having a physical show is exciting; you can’t see art through a screen. It’s an experience for the audience but also for yourself to showcase it to real people, even if it’s only one. I went from not finishing anything to making 30 dresses in 2 months. This time next year I’d like to have created my brand ‒ and of course more dresses.

My go-to meal: Domino’s Pizza

The key words for my collection are: contemporary armour for the unprotected. In short, my collection was inspired by two main things: my research on the style narratives of the Windrush generation (post-war Caribbean arrivals to Britain) and the Black Lives Matter protest. The Windrush generation were extremely strict on how they presented themselves through their style narrative. Because they faced a hostile environment and were continuously discriminated against when they arrived in the UK, their style narrative was the only thing they could control, it was their armour in that sense. After watching the BLM protest last summer, I created the main concept for this collection which is about a new Black subculture of people who are concerned about their safety and decide to take agency in their own protection by wearing a contemporary form of armour. I used tin cans (from canned drinks) because I believe it’s very important to be resourceful and use things that are already around you. This is something I learned from Berni Yates on the WP course many years ago. My stepdad is completely addicted to Diet Coca Cola so it was very easy for me to collect the tins (I still have bags full of them).

“The chants from the BLM process “We don’t die, we multiply” made me think about the immortalization of the victims of hate crimes. ” – Angelica Ellis

To create the new armour I ironed tin cans flat and hole punched them into metal embellishments. I then hand embroidered the metal pieces using the technique Tambour embroidery. For the beading I used the embroidery technique, Luneville Crochet. The figures in my embroidery are a mixture of the style narratives of the Windrush generation and contemporary styles of people in hoodies and do-rags. The chants from the BLM process “We don’t die, we multiply” made me think about the immortalization of the victims of hate crimes. I added wings to some of my figures to try and capture immortality.

The main difference with my process is the complete commitment to embroidery. I used to mix embroidery with screenprinting but I became quite passionate about embroidery and felt as though I have a lot more control over the textile technique. I would love to start working in embroidery for a fashion house for at least a few years.

My workspace essentials: 

I was provoked by the abortion protest in Poland in October 2020. I would describe my collection as “A personal archive of modernised Polish history”. I aim to bring lightness to the political disparity within the country. I’m honoured to be a part of this show. It is a great homage to my own farewell to CSM, but I know this place will never truly leave me. During the last year, I became more technical in my work. I have always worked very organically, and I learned to fuse the two together. Post-graduation I want to travel across the globe building more research and inspiration for myself as a designer. I seek to build my own personal brand further into the future and build upon my creative venture.

The starting point of this collection was being awestruck by the sight of a completely gutted and abandoned it-hotel from the 1920s, the hotel Provençal, in the south of France last year. I really wanted to explore the idea of a stripped-back, distorted, or more industrial form of glamour, questioning how it is relevant today. Cecil Beaton’s photographs of the bright young things were a huge influence. The people almost acted as muses for the collection. The gleaming sculptures of John Chamberlain created from used car parts made me think about how I could warp the idea of a car as an icon of glamour, reading J D Ballard’s crash and mixing it with glittering crystal and resin to create the illusion of figures emerging from a twisting metal shell.

During the lockdown, I felt how beautiful nature is (sky, flowers, etc.). I looked into imperfections, such as mothers putting a button on the shirt of their children, a granddad fixing broken pottery, the memories in the ripped wallpaper or the old furniture in the house. I think there is someone’s love and history in the imperfections. Then, I realized that it has the same sensibility as my home country’s (Japan) aesthetic sense of “Wabi-Sabi”. This was the starting point for my collection.

“I tried to find a way to make my textiles at home. I started making handwork textiles; a delicate process. Honestly I don’t know if it is good or not.” – Ayaka Nakagawa

Based on the theme of “imperfect beauty”, the garments have imperfections. The jumpsuits were inspired by the technique of repairing broken pottery in China with staples. I made small pieces randomly shaped like cracked pottery designed to create small gaps between them so that they wouldn’t cover the entire body. The dress I wear in the show is inspired by ripped wallpaper.

It was really hard to work in lockdown, because I couldn’t use the studio and workshops in university at all during term two. I tried to find a way to make my textiles at home. I started making handwork textiles; a delicate process. Honestly I don’t know if it is good or not.

The Fashion Print class of 2021

It all started last summer when I painted the hands of my loved ones to film their interactions with nature. Through this video, we understand that we are at a privileged place of communication with the world. This dialogue between humans, nature, and forms is my starting point. My collection is about creating shapes as extensions of the body in nature, which leads to a loss of body contours. My collection is also a way for me to express my love of painting. Indeed, I love to paint and I wanted to continue painting, either directly on the fabric or on a canvas that I integrate into the garment. It’s also a way to move away from today’s textiles and towards something more unique.

“I have no plans post-graduation, and I think I like that.” – Victoria Valette

This year was very different because I was in my own bubble, without any interaction with others (except the teachers). I took my time, I went at my own pace, never thought “I’m too late”, “maybe I should work more” because I didn’t know how it was going for my classmates! I went for a walk in the park every day, and I took time to cook. Things that I didn’t think I would do in my final year, because I had the misconception that you had to be stressed to produce my best. I have no plans post-graduation, and I think I like that. I know I want to continue to create, still, always, but where and with whom, or alone, I don’t know.

My workspace essentials:

In my work, I give myself the opportunity to live in a parallel world, one in which I feel safe and secure, able to regain my childlike freedom. In order to give shape to this world, I have created sculptural beings, with which I developed a personal relationship during the process of their creation. Together, they form a secret society, in which they complement one another. They have no gender, and are not subject to standards of beauty like our own. Their ways of communication are secret, yet accessible to everyone. This society invites the viewer to become part of them, to get closer to them, and to convey their message into our world through their clothes. The search for answers and the desire for perfection are evident in the development of every society. This was also my aim in the conception of the clothes: to shape them in such a way that they correspond to each individual character. In order to be able to do their individual meanings justice, the clothing is formed by the shape of their bodies. The quality of the art and the tradition of the craft is an important basis for my work, as well as the need for art and expression.

All garments are reversible. I used about 3000 buttons on all the pieces. Which makes it easy to wear all of them individually and to make them fit your own character. All materials are deadstock, fair produced, recycled ocean plastic, upcycled used materials and 100 % compostable. All patterns are low to zero-waste patterns. I also did a 3D exhibition, because I wasn’t able to bring the sculptures to London.

Svea's studio

My collection is inspired by Scotland and the experiences I had growing up there, the different personalities I was surrounded by. Abandoned spaces that represent the natural blend of life and decay all over Scotland, the way you see nature growing through structures that have been left to rot. To represent this life and decay aspect, my collection is made up of natural dye techniques like pomegranate and indigo dye with some rusting. I also have some chainmail pieces made from the pop tabs of canned drinks, some “knitwear” loosely woven out of Scoubidou strings that remind me of my time in school. I recreated an iconic jacket from my teens using two second-hand damaged berghaus jackets to create my own interpretation. Lastly, I definitely can’t forget my bagpipe/JD sports hybrid drawstring crossbody bag, made with a mustard yellow mohair tartan.

My main inspiration is the year 2008. I got really possessed by that period. Emos, MySpace, Rockstars… They have a very distinctive silhouette which I studied obsessively. My collection focuses on how the typical 2008 MySpace ‘selfie’ distorts the body into hunched shoulders and ‘X’ shaped legs from a birds-eye camera angle. The garments are all recognisable pieces, like a polo shirt, a suit, or a biker jacket but I changed the proportions of the body, added features like hip bone prosthesis and disproportionally large shoulders to mirror the silhouettes I found in these selfies.

Not having access to the usual resources this year meant I turned to researching to find inspiration within my family home. The collection explores the complex relationship between possession and owner, and the way in which possessions maintain the ability to both hold and reflect their owners. It focuses on how over time, the perceived value of our belongings can fade. This led me to consider the state of some of my own family’s treasured possessions which have been stored away in the attic, gathering dust for such a long time.

“Being separated from my classmates while designing and developing my ideas has allowed me to be more authentic to myself. ” – Ella Morris

The look I present in the show is an over-exaggerated interpretation of a christening dress, adorned with an enormous reimagination of a navigator’s sweetheart brooch. My experimentation with scale within this collection speaks to the manner in which our items maintain the ability to convey truths about ourselves for years to come as if our items are demanding never to be forgotten. The rest of the looks also have this slightly surreal feeling about them. The silhouettes are odd with big wide coats and exaggerated collars. One of my looks is a tailored jumpsuit completely covered in vintage objects, ambrotypes, and jewelry.

Being separated from my classmates while designing and developing my ideas has allowed me to be more authentic to myself. Not having any input from anyone else was surprisingly so refreshing and freeing in a way.

My starting point was to repurpose antique clothes. I wanted to give them a second chance in life and to be worn and enjoyed. I just really wanted someone to have a good time with them just as their previous owners once did. Imagine if Anna Mendieta time-traveled to 1985s for a tea party. Then stopped by to party with the Gypsy Rose Lee in 1928 and then ended up stuck in the 1980s clearing out Romeo Gigli’s boutique. Unfortunately, on her way back she couldn’t fit all the clothes she collected over her trips so she had to take them apart and reconstruct them so she can preserve all these memories.

Having a physical show is fulfilling. In today’s climate where you study, work, socialize, shop, date, eat and sleep online it’s important to go and experience the theatrical nature of a show. Call me old-fashioned but I don’t think any video will ever be able to make you feel the way the real thing does. This year has been definitely challenging but I think it was liberating as much as it was scary. You had to adapt quickly to a new way of working. I guess this taught me to be flexible and utilized the materials I had around me. In a way, the process became more sustainable as you really look into the materials you have, instead of chasing after new references all the time. You really focus on all the details. I’m currently working in One-of-a-kind archives which brings me such joy to be able to investigate all these fashion relics. In the future I see myself with two dogs, a house in the countryside with a tomato garden hopefully working for someone I admire.

My inspiration was the design-based upbringing that I’ve experienced, being the child of two designers, as well as the British tailoring that influenced my taste in cut, fit, and type of garment. Mixing these different facets with the beauty behind my island, Mauritius, is what’s created my new collection The Heart of my Ocean. In my research, I focused on marine ecology in the Indian Ocean, biomimicry, and bioluminescence.

My collection is inspired by the dreams I see at night and the research I did to analyze them.

My title for the collection is “casi la misma” (“almost the same ” in Spanish). I wanted to express how dreams and reality are quite similar and we are all just actors playing roles in two worlds. That’s why my outfits have no faces to show that everybody could be playing the character that I created. For my research, I painted the most interesting scenes from each dream and realised that the same characters appeared in multiple dreams. Therefore I combined those scenes and started designing the outfits for each character. I used flowers that were unsold during the pandemic for my print techniques. That was the most enjoyable thing I did. I made my collection at home so I had to think about how to create prints without relying too much on digital printing.

Unfortunately, I could not make it to the show but I am very grateful to have such fabulous tutors that worked very hard to achieve this show!!

My year in an image:

My collection is an exploration of self and individualism through community, an examination of culture, heritage, and personal history through my childhood and young adult memories via an Afro-Caribbean upbringing. Looking at characters whose paths crossed over mine lending to the development of my experiences and perspective. Highlighting the seemingly unimportant moments of our upbringing. Both positive and negative, memory webbing, rhythm syncing. Commenting on the significance of those around us who unintentionally form the fiber of our beings through the complex webbing of crossed paths. Family members, friends, lovers, neighbours, uncles who aren’t uncles, cousins who aren’t cousins.

Community, conversations, experiences, memories, dreams.

Does the self exist without these things? Does the self exist without the collective?

Self-design within the collective – with a focus on the experience of alienation and stereotypes. The search for community and like-mindedness goes hand in hand with the feeling.

The collection explores an expression of Creole and Jamaican aesthetics, informed by Caribbean philosophy and the notion of the literary movement “créolité“ ‒ an active process of forming identity. Look forward to a post-essentialist future. Ultimately Creoleness is a celebration of diversity and a negation of what it sees as false universality.

Consistency in honoring the concept of community with a democratic approach to clothing.

My workspace smells like:

The universal identity of one;s self requires a foundation that is built from the 7 chakras. My collection represents the unfolding petals of these chakras, restoring a deeper meaning within ourselves, with the use of crystal and colour therapy.

“The moments of helping each other get dressed, was a really special moment in the studio.” – Jamie Howes

Each look is an expression of the divine, visualising the vast and abstract forms of each of the chakras. Recognising our many identities as items of clothing that are part of a larger wholeness, that can be put on and taken off when appropriate because they are not the sole statement of who one is. The day of the show, the moments of helping each other get dressed, was a really special moment in the studio.

My collection explores the relationship between a person and their environment. Interpreting personal interior space as clothing. Inspiration has come from personal photographs and collages and artists such as Edward Hopper and Lucien Freud, whose bedroom portraits have been important reference points. My collection is soft and deconstructed, straddling the line between fragility and complexity. The knitted structures have intricate rib cables moving freely around the body and are met with fragile laddering stitches and loose ends. The tailoring pieces are made from upholstery fabric, colour matched to dye Edward Hopper’s bedroom portraits. Those pieces are split up the back exposing raw edges and contrast lining.

My collection is inspired by Doris Salcedo‘s artistic work, my and others’ pain and stress. The lining and part of the garments’ structures come from my paintings. I tried to capture the invisible emotions. Maybe it could be described as aestheticization of pain. I used painting and feathers to present hurting memories. I shaped my materials with a heat gun hence the feathers replaced the boning on the final garments., representing the power of the fragile.

I want to continue painting and keep working as a stylist, which I was doing before joining the BA, whilst trying to create my own brand.

The main focus of my work is to look at perspective and to re-contextualise objects and their original understandings. I enjoy extracting elements from items and bodies that when put together in a seemingly non-sensical way, it presents a new understanding. This is the current basis of my final collection. I’ve enjoyed looking into the L’art Brut movement and my own photographs taken over the past two years, capturing seemingly random yet significant acts of ‘accidental’ art. I want to build on this playful naïvety, and give unsuspecting objects a purpose on the body through clothing. I’ve taken elements from discarded waste of the streets and integrated them into my looks. My show look for example has the ‘cardboard trouser’ which I’ve designed to be flexible as a wearable trouser but also rigid when standing still, like a cardboard box. My collection is a representative of how I see the world, and my interpretation of seemingly benign objects. My design style has definitely matured, and I have more confidence in executing more ambitious designs. Over the past 5 years I have found my rhythm in design, so now the process feels a lot more intuitive and I can do the ideas in my head justice.

My go-to meal: This year has been full of snacks and a great chance to delve into everything Sainsbury’s has to offer. Sadly I have to say rice cakes have been my go to.

My year in an image:

My collection is fun, messy, glitz, and tacky glamour, hence the title “Girls Night Out”. I mainly take inspiration from my friends and myself on our wild nights. Specifically looking at London and Essex nightlife and culture that surrounds girls getting dolled up for the clubs to then being totally wasted in the chicken and chip shop at 4am. Lots of pinks ! Glitter, hot gems, fake nails, lip moulding, fake hair. I really wanted to catch the essence of these girls getting ready for the night and all the accessories that go with them. We have lip moulded clay which has been crafted onto gloves and knee high boots. There are 250 sale tickets gunned into a jacket that has individually been hot gems. Print technique such as flocking and foiling with pink shiny foil. I want this collection to be as tacky and chic as possible to show that tacky can also be high fashion!

My year in an image:

My collection is basically about sleepwalking. I want to point out that the concept of ‘Involution’ is now very popular in Asian countries. If one person in the company works overtime, it will have a subtle effect on others. It’s not your boss who asks you to work overtime, it’s the other people who work overtime… My work is about the state of doing repetitive actions and sleepwalking to work. My color palette is what I imagine the colors of my dreams are. Mysterious Lavender, purple, and mint green.
My plan for the next few years is to do something different from fashion design.

In my project, I take my paintings and expand upon them by turning them into prints which I layer to create a 3D-like holographic effect to represent my own hazy and sometimes unclear state of mind. My design process and inspiration evolved when I started looking more closely at myself and my surroundings: understanding who I am as a creator to then allow my experience of life to colour my work.

In a year I see myself expanding on my print concept and creating even more paintings which would inform them. I want to start exhibiting my paintings and marry the two worlds into my own brand.

My inspiration behind my collection initially came from my interest in the pots and figurines from prehistoric Japan (Jomon period). Having been brought up in London, I didn’t know that Japan had an ancient history and I was inspired by how these objects have been kept intact for centuries, allowing me to discover this part of history. My collection concept focuses on the preservation of memory within objects and how they almost become capsules of emotions or moments experienced during the process of creating. The techniques I’ve chosen for this collection have been techniques that don’t rely on any machinery such as weaving, hand knitting, and crocheting. Though these methods are time-consuming and need a lot of patience, my concept focuses more on the process and experience of creating. I was also interested in the use of natural materials as they are raw, fragile, and short-lived until they are put through a person’s hands and crafted into something strong, refined, and embellished.

My project questions how the environment we live in affects us and shapes our identities.

“Within this project I explore my long-term interest in traditional crafts, their therapeutic qualities as well as their creative potential for a more sustainable garment production.” – Sofia Turekova

The initial inspiration for this project started by being intrigued by a variety of objects trying to ‘escape’ the interior such as curtains, carpet beaters, clothes hangers, and newspapers, that I found during my daily walks in my parents’ apartment during the first wave of the pandemic. Further, inspired by R.D. Laing’s idea of the divided self, the project explores the idea of tension and the search for balance between the ‘sane’, confident self that we present to the world and the ‘authentic’ self that is our honest identity.

Within this project I explore my long-term interest in traditional crafts, their therapeutic qualities as well as their creative potential for a more sustainable garment production. I introduced a technique of bobbin lace-making which is a zero-waste, slow technique of producing fabrics and it also represents the cultural heritage of Slovakia.

My final collection is inspired by a strong sense of inertia that I have experienced in recent times. The idea of resistance and change is reflected in the sticky, blown-up plastic filled with sploshing water and a stifling novelty bodysuit. My collection is stuck in one place, as my peers walk around me. The path ahead of me is unclear as I struggle to reconcile with the idea of becoming a designer. When I consider the challenges of fashion, what comes to mind is how difficult it is to overcome the hurdles of the industry. It is near impossible to be truly original against the backdrop of the current state of fashion. I live in a paradox of wanting to stand out and hideaway. I agonise about how I will be able to learn to embrace this industry and how I feel that this love is unreciprocated. I want to use my creativity and naivety to tell fashion to ‘FUCK OFF’.

There is nothing that brings me more joy than seeing people having to double-take and then closely investigate my work, with great curiosity. It is near impossible to shock an audience these days, and it is even more challenging to gain people’s attention and interest.

“I want to use my creativity and naivety to tell fashion to ‘FUCK OFF’.” – Xavier Chen

I really don’t think my design process has changed since we started making our final collection last year. I always know what I want to make, and I stay loyal to that ‒ make something gigantic and interactive.

My collection came indirectly from my experience of Covid lockdown going from a full and busy life interning at McQueen to plain nothingness, with my only references coming from screens, films and photographs. This kind of vicarious nostalgia I was experiencing made me question what made something real in a world where we have so many imitations of reality, especially during Covid when I felt a blurred line between my virtual life and my real life. I decided to draw on visual and cultural references from my grandparent’s photographs in Hull, which is where I grew up and get nostalgic about.

My collection is very much a marriage of technology and craft. My grandfather’s work in the early days of computing inspired my use of electronics to create a moving print which enables me to display moving images over the surface of the garment using individually programmable LEDs. I felt this was the best way to bring past memories and images back into the present by creating 3D visualisations of parts of photographs.

My year in an image:

Our collection is based on a Las Vegas murder mystery set in the late 70s. With this collection, we wanted to find a meeting point between mine and Felix’s point of view as designers and thought that this could have been the best way to do that. We both always work keeping in mind vibes and muses/characters, and this project was an extremization of this. This collection is in fact extremely dependent on cliches and building up characters. We developed each character separately, defining aesthetic, job, background,… and then linked all of them by the location and event they are attending. In this way, the city is the unifier element of the collection.

Las Vegas plays a fundamental role in defining the core meaning of our collection. It is in fact a city in the middle of the desert, almost separated from the rest of the world, which has developed in its own way.

I have contrasted bright multicoloured printed fabrics and black layers. The textiles and textures were very important to me. I made a lenticular fabric that I printed and pleated, I created different types of pleats and pleated reflective fabric, created fringe out of cut-off leather, and made Devore prints to create different opacities. It has been a very intimate experience creating my collection, just me and my work in my room. I think I was a lot more honest with myself about what I wanted and I was just fully immersed because I really created a space that was my final collection or my world.

My inspiration is a combination of my Italian and Albanian cultural heritage and the way I view an increasing role of technology in the future of fashion. The union of these two universes gives birth to a futuristic vision where man embraces the power of difference and is unafraid to experiment with it. Extended to infinity, the existence of such experimentation implies that an ever expanding number of new spaces become possible.

The bright, monochromatic tones of this collection reflect the speed of our digital society, of accelerated capitalism, of artificially extended demi-gods. I’ve accentuated and exaggerated certain shapes and colours to experiment beyond the natural limits of the body and to bring visions of the future to life today. The 3D piece that I’m presenting at the show, in collaboration with ETH Zurich, seeks to symbolise technology as a means to extend humans beyond themselves, the piece moving in response to how close my hand is to a sensor. Fashion becomes the ultimate vehicle to transmit this ethos, as by wearing technology, people can fully embrace it and become one with it.

My own mixed heritage was the starting point for this collection. I ‘RTRND’ to South Africa, the birthplace of my mother, and to Ireland, the birthplace of my father, to gather material examples of how human cultures have interacted with their raw environments. Confined to my bedroom during the pandemic, listening to Jungle Music (which also originated in bedrooms during the 1990s) provided an inspirational soundtrack for my designs. Attending a workshop on conductive printing during Digital Futures Month at CSM in November 2020 made the fusion of Jungle Music into the fabric of the final garments possible. My collection is fluid and important with sustainability at the core. Felting, dyeing with plants, metal beads from cans, waste fabrics donated from Magee’s Tweed, Cas8, Liberty London, plastic crochet,… New technologies transformed the collection into a drum machine using conductive thread to turn embroideries into a touchpad. The result is using the clothes to mix a full jungle music set out loud. This furthers the garments’ purpose using a circular design.

I interned on Savile Row during placement year and I fell in love with the craftsmanship of the tailors, so my collection is a love letter to the working hands of the Row. Instead of fabrics, I used things like matchsticks and hot glue because during lockdown I couldn’t get access to the specialist materials. I improvised. Since Savile Row, my sewing skills in particular have improved enormously! I am planning to launch my label as soon as I graduate and specialise in bespoke red carpet wear and also create a demi couture line to start showing at a fashion week as soon as possible.

The inspiration for my collection is the aesthetic of Ancient Greece. The ruined statues and architecture. It is all about envisioning what I felt when I looked at the Parthenon temple. There’s nothing more or less than that single motivation, which is important to me. My design process is always simple: have a quick idea and practice it. My collection began when I worked as a collaborative art director with famous rappers in Tokyo. One of my commissions convinced me to work with the Ancient Greek aesthetic.

My collection was inspired by eccentric elements surrounding Italy’s popular culture and the idea of clothes as a tool of cultural expression and personal identity. The colors came together when I found myself creating the prints for the collection in my London garden during the lockdown. The techniques I used for the prints are dyeing and screen printing, techniques that I have loved to be able to go back to after lockdown. This year was all about: adapt, adapt, adapt!! Find inspiration, textures, colors from the smallest things around me. Also learning to enjoy working in different and spaces

“I’m embracing the excitement of the unplanned and I want to remain open to different projects.” – Annalisa Favi

I see myself riding to my Venetian studio on a gondola! Or anywhere else! I’m embracing the excitement of the unplanned and I want to remain open to different projects. I hope to be able to keep an interdisciplinary quality to my work while focusing on prints.

My go-to meal: Espresso and bananas!

Essentially my collection is a celebration of the nonbinary body. It’s about the joy of getting dressed and creating yourself into whatever image you want to on that day. I am constantly inspired by the beautiful queer people in my community who live everyday unapolageticly. They inspire me to live my own life more authentically. It’s about the spaces we congregate in, and how nightlife can be a catalyst for creating this authentic self. Especially the last two years there’s been a sense of mourning at the loss of nightlife, so I wanted my collection to try and capture some of those beautiful messy memories! Subversive lace, a shit ton of reflective fabrics, and some yarn that I found on the street! The dress of the first look is looped and tied together. I like the fact that I could untie it all and there are hundreds of new garments it could be! My clothes are meant to be moved in and photographed, as on film and in pictures they begin to take a whole new life as creatures of light! When making my clothes it’s my dream for someone to wear it who’s just as excited as me to try and tie it up and style it into something new!

My collection is mainly a reflection of my emotions. I have been trying to make sense of the trials we are facing over these years and sometimes question my abilities to overcome constraints. So there are lots of bondage elements like ropes and latex incorporated into my usual textured knits. There are also elements of reflective yarns and mirrors like how we discover that we can shine brighter by going through the trials of darkness and difficulties. Last year I relied on my laptop a lot, which I have never done in the past.

Elaine's studio

My inspiration is any process that transforms 2D into 3D, from origami to pattern cutting.

“After uni, I will try my luck with my fingers crossed in the job market.” – Kieren Radford

My collection is bright and pleated! The show was a much nicer end to the year than I previously feared, it would be nice to have an audience experience the pieces in the flesh rather than on a screen. This year more time management was needed. We had to consider where we could work and for how long, and planning what tasks to prioritise for when I had space in the studio. After uni, I will try my luck with my fingers crossed in the job market.

Though the idea of trying to have a go at selling some of my own pieces on a smaller scale is also appealing.

The inspiration of my collection was bringing the tranquility of being in nature into the garment-making process. I did a cycling trip by myself from my hometown in Germany back to London before uni started as there was no other means of transport due to Covid. After cycling through so much nature and just being outdoors every day I felt so peaceful that I wanted to bring this feeling into my final year. By gathering all my materials outside and doing most of research in Epping Forest I tried to find a balance between creative work and being outside. The collection is pretty much outdoor clothes made from outdoor materials (like leaves, pine needles, bark, and soil). It’s an attempt at keeping the impact on the environment as low as possible and also finding a peaceful niche to work within fashion. I think especially the mentality of working on garments has drastically changed for me and this was actually the first project I felt very much at ease with. It was still time-consuming but way less mentally exhausting than previous projects. I think I’d like to continue working on the different textiles I developed throughout the past year but I think most importantly I want to work collaboratively with other people and on something that includes being outside.

The soundtrack of my collection was very much impacted by my second-year helper who brought his violin a couple of times, so I ended up listening to some live violin and a lot of folk music.

I experimented with workwear and construction materials. I wanted to take found materials and create something new. My family comes from a background in construction and I wanted to explore this through my work. I feel lucky presenting a collection at this time, I enjoyed making it.

My personal gender transition served as the main inspiration for my project, with the thoughts and feelings expressed during the start of my journey being the main thematic narrative of this body of work. The strong sexually positive imagery present in my collection serves as a commentary on the negative and damaging portrayal of trans women as sexual demons. These images satire this subject through reclamation of sexual expression, highlighting the ever so relevant sex-positivity movement to make a statement about sexual and gender identity liberation.

“This collection intends to remind those that all bodies are valid to express in this way, representing the power in sexual expression and gender” – Xyla Suzuki

Key inspirations include the works of Pierre Molinier and his sexually repressed, grotesque, dark, and graphic images, with his experimentation on hyper-femininity and sexuality being the main point of focus. Alongside this, Madonna’s 1992 book Sex also inspired the themes of liberation, in which post-feminist ideals allow for this project to act as a performative character, in the vein of Cindy Sherman.

This collection intends to remind those that all bodies are valid to express in this way, representing the power in sexual expression and gender, allowing for a safe space for the bodies of those who may be repressed to feel empowered, sexy, and most importantly free.

Hidden Peephole is briefly about voyeurism and exhibitionism. I started by questioning how people can be tolerant as a watcher and shower with one’s privacy. Throughout the collection, I wanted to harmonise contrasting backgrounds, different elements which inspired me to research further how the perspectives of voyeurism and exhibitionism have changed over time.

In old times, voyeurism and exhibitionism happened by accident and were morally forbidden, while people can select what they want to expose and choose who they want to peep into on social media these days.

For my collection, the most crucial part is the angle work. Depending on where you look at the garments from, you don’t expect that the sides and back are fully opened up. I call this ‘a peeping point’ and each look has got this. Therefore, having this angle work states my question about tolerance and perspectives of voyeurism and exhibitionism.

My go-to meal: Stir fried tomatoes and eggs which I had twice a day nonstop for two weeks.

This collection is inspired by the life and legacy of the pioneering dancehall Queen, Anita Mahfood. It is a statement of understanding, I am not the first, not the last but I’m living in the now. Crochet Nazar, clothes that sparkle and shimmy, belly-dance coins, bright colours, spiralling cutting. My work is placing emphasis on having fun over perfectionism. When I was trying the look on myself for the first time it happened in such a rush for submission. If you’ve ever seen ‘White Chicks’, there’s a scene that takes place in a fitting room where buttons go flying and seams burst open. Let’s say I experienced a cinematic parallel. The day of the show literally felt like my wedding!

My collection is inspired by a collection of biomorphic samples I created last year. Using my organic woven samples as the genesis of my project I started brainstorming what ideas came to mind when I studied my samples, ideas such as biomorphism and surrealist abstraction stood out. Bio-morphism comes from the Greek words “bio”, meaning life, and “morphe”, meaning form. In Philip Barrio’s book “The role of biomorphic shapes in abstract art” surrealism is presented as the “ultimate manifestation of Bio-morphism” because it relied on the true automatism and perfect expression of freedom and unforeseeable novelty.

“These last two years, living in a pandemic and seeing how young designers with no employment possibilities responded to the crisis illustrated the importance of creating my own opportunities.” – Gregory Ojakpe

The concepts of automatism and unforeseeable novelty led me into researching artist Max Ernst who invented the notion of the surrealist collage. The holding technique that I used throughout the many iterations of my samples creates bulbous and three-dimensional protruding shapes within the samples, sometimes forcing the entire form of the sample to curve and warp.

These last two years, living in a pandemic and seeing how young designers with no employment possibilities responded to the crisis illustrated the importance of creating my own opportunities.

My year in an image:

1 Granary

Magazine Issue 6

With unprecedented honesty and depth, 1 Granary Issue 6 dives into the work and lives of fashion designers today. As a response to the construction of desire and personality cults that govern our industry, the magazine steps away from the conventional profiles and editorials, focussing instead on raw work and anonymous, unfiltered testimonies. For the first time ever, readers are given a truthful insight into the process, dreams, fears, hardships, and struggles of today’s creatives.

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