Within a cultural context where fashion labels seek innovation through collaborating with each other and luxury houses can brand a celebrity’s life from wedding to divorce, turning our heads towards fashion school shows feels like a political choice. A reaction to an industry where the artist is asked to create internet conscious moments instead of art. The forward thinkers are seen as the ones whose work can make the best meme, the rest are silently pushing their craft towards new avenues, reflecting on their work, hoping to change a system so flawed it has forgotten its purpose.
Seeing student work in depth provides an emotional shelter similar to visiting a museum or reading a book when you have nothing else to do that day. There is no direct connection to commerciality, you know that the creator of what you are observing has put everything they had in what is in front of you with the sole purpose of reaching the full potential of an idea- any idea. A romantic moment, taking place in a pragmatic reality.
The class of 2022 strived to enjoy trying things out, instead of treating their final collection as a precious moment in time that they would look back to with stress. They used what they had; old materials, childhood memories, and lucid dreams. Despite the fact that this year the designers worked together, no theme or research resembles each other. With self-referential research, sustainability centered line-ups (from bioplastic materials to a fully AR collection), and innovative textiles, the majority of the young graduates mentioned “touching” as a trait and an aim of their work. Touching fabric, objects, beads, and paper; being hands on to “refine their craft,” Cécile Bousselat notes.
Embarking on creating didn’t come without inner friction. A handful of designers declared the existential struggle of making fashion in a world of war and despair. “When I watch the news I feel sick at the world we live in, but sicker at my lack of material action towards changing anything. At 10 pm I can hear of violent atrocities and ten minutes later I’m planning my next design,” Maximilian Raynor says. The guilt of the pleasure creativity provides can really put any empathetic maker off their craft. Some use their work as “an exorcism of their internal conflicts,” as Raynor puts it. Some use this feeling to force themselves towards a place that feels right to them. Where will this path lead and will it be in or outside the traditional spectrum of fashion? We shall find out. For now, our only worry is to discover authentic ideas.