Representing the creative future

CSM BA FASHION 2023:Sensibility, spirituality, and wholesomeness

Discover the 134 collections of this year’s Central Saint Martins BA Fashion class

What makes a “good designer”? Is it the ability to capture what people want or is it the natural talent of turning fabric into a piece of cultural resonance? What makes fashion graduation shows so special is that the garments that walk down the runway have no intention to answer this question, yet they manage to be signifiers of cultural shifts, pointing towards where the industry is (or should be) heading in the future. At first glance, the 2023 BA Fashion show at Central Saint Martins had it all: a good soundtrack, entertaining show looks, performances, experimental tailoring, multi-layered knitwear, protesting, and an explosion of colours and textures. It is digging behind the (134!) collections though, that reveals this generation’s need for depth and wholesomeness.

“We are in need of solutions that go beyond greenwashing and empty eco-target pledges,” says Cathy Meyong. These designers know their stuff when it comes to sustainability. It’s no check box a tutor told them to tick, it is what makes the majority of the 2023 cohort excited to create. For them, fabrics are not just fabrics; they are plant-based fibres, carefully sourced antique lace, a result of yearly textile experiments, upcycled flags, or the handkerchiefs their grandmother gave them when they were ill as kids. Authenticity is not hidden in the aesthetics, it is in the sensibility in which these designers approach observing, living, and making. Finding value in small pleasures like being with each other, or hugging their family after the internal show.

Pushing traditional techniques to new, unexplored pathways is the drive that helped most of them out of the trauma that Covid isolation left behind. This class of designers spent their first two years of fashion school away in remote or hybrid learning, and almost of all them consider this period as the worst part of their education, which by the way was “extremely expensive” as they note in a critical tone. It can’t be a coincidence that so many of the 2023 graduates are inspired by spirituality, religious rituals, and nature. There is a collective urge for a more esoteric approach to fashion, but not in a “find your niche” kind of way. It feels more like an instinctive response to an oversaturated industry that is no longer capable of welcoming any more “good designers”.


Eden Tan

The motivation for the collection was the possibility of making clothes which could be as easily reprocessed into new garments as if the fabric had never passed through my hands. Trying to preserve the integrity of the fabric as it came off the roll created the project’s golden rule: no offcuts! This meant developing an arsenal of techniques with the purpose of convincing the eye that what it’s seeing is more than just a roll of fabric. ‘On Borrowed Fabric’ starts the materials on their journey from creation to obsolesces to recreation. The best part of the BA has to be the camaraderie that came from always being surrounded by friends working to the same deadlines. And so, although I possibly didn’t realise it at the time, now that I’m leaving, hindsight tells me that the experience lost to the pandemic was the lowest. It had the combined effect of dulling the ambition of the university work and causing constant social disruption. The best part has to be the camaraderie that came from always being surrounded by friends working to the same deadlines. And so, although I possibly didn’t realise it at the time, now that I’m leaving, hindsight tells me that the experience lost to the pandemic were the lowest. It had the combined effect of dulling the ambition of the university work and causing constant social disruption.

Dorottya Csókási

‘Ecce Tenebrae’ represents a metamorphosis; a road with its struggles in creating one’s ideal self. The Latin title translated to ‘let there be shadow’, refers to the action of self-creating from the point of struggle and unrealised suffocation. The first look ‘Dark Ilushka’ is the primitive and unconscious self that will slowly be understood and shedded-off. The archetypes evolve until reaching the moment of bliss, meeting the criteria of one’s ideal self. The transformation is narrated through the juxtaposition of colour and fabric choices, dark upcycled, torn leathers being translated into artisanal off-white linens. Sustainability is a key concept in my design practice, the collection is made of second-hand leather pieces and my great-grandparents’ old linen towels, tapping into my Hungarian heritage through fabrication and design ideas. ‘Ecce Tenebrae’ is inspired by an indulgence in my roots through examining Hungarian folk tales, incorporating artisanal makings, and collaborating with Hungarian craftsmen to elevate and preserve the Hungarian culture. The BA at Central Saint Martins is definitely not a piece of cake. Moving here as a 19-year-old, I had to learn how to navigate through the everyday life of being a full-time university student but also needing to work to support myself financially. My BA years were about finding balance, organising, and planning which took time, errors, and sacrifices. At first, I thought that this lifestyle is such a burden and suffocates me, but by the end that has proven to be the quite opposite. It is my greatest strength and accomplishment. This journey is the main inspiration for ‘Ecce Tenebrae’ alongside the realisation of action and bravery that it took to face the struggles and turning them into success.

Christopher De La Cruz

discovery of one’s self and identity. The research started by looking back into my childhood and personal experience with my sexual identity as a gay man growing up in NYC. As a kid, I grew close with my toys and created my own world of Christopher Robin and Alice in Wonderland. As I grew up and found a community, good friends, and a supporting family, the journey in which I luckily lived, shared hope and a bright light for the next day. Depicting a journey of a kid protecting his innocence and joy whilst he grows up in a judgemental world to his adult life filled with wisdom and hope. The silhouette of the collection starts with an armour of the male anatomy that then slowly disappears into the body to then expose the character with no armour but depicts hope and wisdom. The hardest point in the collection was combining all the different textiles, colours, and techniques into a collection that can capture the dynamic world of queer culture and source materials and techniques that are innovative but still feel real to knitwear. The best part was having the vibes in our studio always amazing and protected, having the best friends and studio mates made this whole year possible. I’ll be continuing designing for Alexander McQueen whilst making a capsule collection to kick start the launch of my name and brand.

My collection unites the past and the present, weaving together the memories and identity passed down from my ancestors. Guided by my grandmother’s wisdom, I honour my heritage through traditional techniques she taught me and local resources such as Esparto dry branches and Arundo Donax canes; these materials carry the authenticity of my genesis. I am committed to a regenerative approach, preserving the earth’s resources and promoting biodiversity therefore my garments are made from organic Pineapple and Nettle yarns, hand-dyed with innovative natural dyes from bacteria and invasive plants. Water conservation is a key aspect of my collection, utilising materials and dyes that require minimal water usage compared to synthetic alternatives. I am not just creating garments, but a symbol of my connection to my ancestors, my community, and the earth. Through my collection, I aim to inspire a deeper appreciation for the natural world and the importance of preserving our heritage for future generations. One of the most demanding yet thrilling aspects of my experience in my BA journey was continually pushing myself to explore innovative materials and develop approaches to incorporating them into plant-based fibres. Simultaneously, I found great satisfaction in revitalizing ancient techniques and adapting them to a modern context. This fusion of innovation and tradition became the most inspiring facet of my creative process. I find immense joy in elevating materials sourced from my parents’ greenhouse to a luxurious standard, undoubtedly obtaining significant inspiration from my family’s farm life. Their influence has been paramount in shaping my trajectory as a knitwear designer. After graduating, I am going to continue working on my knitwear regenerative fashion brand, ACIEN, collaborating with bio designers and scientists to carry on with a regenerative approach to a luxurious standard, developing a blend of crochet, knit, and weaving techniques, focusing on the use of invasive plants and bacteria for dying processes. In ACIEN knitwear brand I focus all the attention on the details of three-dimensional techniques, biodiversity conservation and plant-based fibres.

Tilda Fuller

A contemporary celebration of women’s craft, combined with an anti-patriarchal, satirical humour in the face of deep disregard. Telling a story with a modern folk look using craft techniques like patchwork, embroidery, cross stitch, and paper cutting which are all typically considered women’s domestic work and less important. Taught to me by the craftswomen of my family. Combined with metal and woodwork, skills that do not have the same stigma. Hidden middle fingers appear throughout my prints, which sum up my own feelings on the invisibility of the hands that have been made. A pretty, but poignant profanity. Accordion-inspired, lenticular, zoetrope skirts allow my engineered middle fingerprints to flip up and move for the onlooker, whilst the wings of my magpie print flap. Literally flipping the bird. Stripes reference the depiction of witches and the devil, the condemning of women to an unchosen role. Reclaiming the use of the word “crafty” to describe, decorative, “feminine” and often mocked tastes.  The hardest part of my BA experience was working through the pandemic. Doing a hands-on, technical course that has had to transfer over to online learning at different points throughout our first and second years was such a shame. It was so frustrating at points and limited creativity as well as key time getting to play with our styles as young designers and experimenting using the facilities CSM offers. I just wanted to be in the print room! This year our final show without those constraints gave the final collection so much more value. I feel proud of what my friends and I have achieved. The best part has been watching our shows and seeing each other’s reactions as the vision comes to life, it has been overwhelming and joyous.

Kitty Hemmings

My collection explores how to be less human and more creature, escaping to an animal form. I believe that what we cover our bodies with should be just as “animal” as we are. I wanted to discover what defines “animal”’, and subsequently what it means to be human, answering the question: “What thing are we?” I took references from my childhood belongings and familiarity, reverting back to a nostalgic innocence. I researched folk and craft traditions and costumes that celebrate a rural community’s connection to the primitive, including the Mummers Play in my grandmother’s village. I became interested in how horse saddles act as an interface between the human and the animal, fusing movement and freedom. Creating ‘hooves’ changed the gait and stature of the wearer, turning the garments into performances. I wanted my collection to have a post-human approach, using a primal sensitivity to touch and the sensory memories of materials to create creature selves. The most challenging part of my final year was to capture the feeling of escapism that was in my head and put it into real things. Balancing the intensity of the course whilst keeping my work playful. Through my collection, I have been able to develop a really personal and imaginative language. The animals have come out! By discovering through making, and pushing drawing and physical processes symbiotically, I have developed the belief to let the project unfold in real-time. Also allowing theory to have a role in the concept and narrative – asking a big question and trying to answer it.

Gavin Gega

My goal was to approach garment design from the perspective of the relationship between the textile and the wearer. Rather than communicating garment design through the means of familiar menswear shapes, this collection explores the possibility for the connection between the wearer and the garments being a direct relationship. Through developing an understanding of the body and an understanding of established pattern-cutting methodology, I can understand the context of how these things relate to each other. Through an understanding of this context, I can re-contextualize this relationship.

If we contextualise garments as a form of dress, it can be established that their relationship to the body is to serve as a means to cover. a means to protect. My garments do not exist for the runway but are meant to be felt, worn, and experienced. Honestly, the hardest part and most inspiring part are two sides of the same coin. I spent my internship year in Milan working at Carol Christian Poell, working alongside a team of inspiring designers, which was an incredibly impactful experience for me. However, at the same time in Milan, I felt entirely isolated, not knowing anyone there and not speaking the language. I had a deep longing for the connections I had built back in London and it made me realise what a strong community I have here. Even still I have never regretted the 6 months I spent in Milan and it still holds its place as one of the greatest experiences of my life.

I want my works to speak like music notes singing melodies. Every person is also an unheard-of instrument, you have your own unique sound. More importantly, you decide what music you want to say, so you will open a piece of music, this is not clothing, this is unseen instruments, you put them on and they make a pleasant sound through you. I disassembled a real piano and reassembled its materials to create a wearable and audible device.

De-Wei Yu

My project is based on body and skin, aiming to turn 2D into 3D by revealing what’s concealed in our skin. I was inspired by the statue of Flayed St. Bartholomew, who was wrapped with his own skin. From there, I saw a great combination of the second and third dimension: A smooth one-piece pattern with no cuts and fewer sewing lines. however, you can still see 3D details showing on the 2D surface. There are many possibilities hidden underneath that can be preserved and revealed, like crushing something to make it flat. It looks 2D to our eyes but it’s 3D by design. The curves, shadows and creases indicate the hidden volume. I struggled to bring my complex shapes and designs into reality, and I made sure all of my materials were 100% natural.

Jane Fu

Jade was believed to possess magical properties that would protect the body from decay and ward off evil spirits. Much like the ancient Egyptians, the ancient Chinese viewed death as a prolongation of life. Life-size Jade Burial suit was made to protect the corpse from decay. The collection plays around the idea of wrapping and protection with stone like structured texture. TRP (Thermal Radiation Protection) is an exterior layer material that was invented inspired by emergency hiking blanket, reflects 90% of body heat, wind proof, water resistant, ultra light. The hardest part of BA is trying not to be overwhelmed. Splashing of energy and expression all over every single second, which can be a challenge to stay focused. The best part is to be not taught, questioned, or drugged but pushed, suggested and appreciated.

Suge Chen

I was inspired by an ancient Chinese love story in which an elf falls in love with a human, a forbidden love that transgresses societal norms and moral standards back in time. As tempting as it was, the elf did not choose to breach the boundary between the two worlds, but instead adored him secretly and silently from afar. Her feelings are of the utmost sincerity, untainted by time and distance—this is a great, unrequited love, a selfless one unhindered by conditions and reciprocation. Upon hearing this story as a teenage girl, I didn’t really identify with the elf, who seemed to me the paradigm of the submissive, gentle female figure in my culture. But as I came across this story again recently, I found myself peeking through a different lens and unavoidably appreciating her spirits. Just how much courage and strength would she need to commit to a love without reciprocation? And this is not a singular case or a singular form of love. In reality, I am seeing women from different backgrounds with different identities delivering unconditional love to people around them—mothers, teachers, carers, and more. While we celebrate our integral identity as ourselves, I would also like to honor the beauty of love and the incredible willpower it takes to devote to such love, which is why I integrated metals into my work.

Andu Jang

The project commences with Albert Camus’ “The Rebel.” The word itself, “rebel,” may initially evoke roughness, but ultimately signifies the process of individual independence in the world. Reflecting on this, I contemplate rebellion within my relationship with my mother; my creator. Like the moon and the earth, our orbits diverge and endless conflicts arise, yet in moments of eclipse, we find understanding and align with each other. Conflict and understanding, seemingly distinct, actually orbit together. This beautiful process of rebellion embraces both, signifying my uniqueness while honouring my mother’s role. Our connection, like no other, intertwines our lives in an extraordinary dance.My BA experience is defined by an extraordinary absence of doubters. In this remarkable environment, tutors and technicians propel me beyond my perceived limits, nurturing an unwavering belief in my potential. This liberating community embraces open-mindedness, allowing me to explore boundless possibilities. However, this empowering support also presents a thrilling challenge: the constant pressure to excel. Balancing exhilaration and trepidation, I embark on a transformative journey, fueled by the audacious notion that nothing is insurmountable. Embracing the unknown, I forge my path with determination, savoring the fulfillment that accompanies this extraordinary experience.

Tahar Al-Shekhly

In 2003 I had to leave Iraq. This collection is a testament to the fragmentation of my personal experience—torn between home and my new home, the machine of the US. This collection is a commodification of national symbols. I do not think that either side is right, war is never necessary, but our reality is a product of war, and this is what informed me to pursue doing a collection of this sensitive nature. I felt I had no choice but to delve into my most buried traumas; the fragmented vignettes of leaving Iraq; my twisted relationship with living in America. A pivotal point of inspiration for my BA collection stemmed from a deeply personal experience. When my mother returned to Baghdad last fall, she shared the heart-wrenching reality of our unrecognizable home, destroyed by war. This morbid revelation served as a catalyst for my creative process. However, the hardest part of my BA experience was the struggle to showcase my collection due to censorship. Despite believing that CSM valued fashion as a means to make powerful statements, my collection was largely disregarded. The tutors limited me to presenting only one look in the press show due to the “absence of knit,” a decision that felt extremely regressive and arbitrary. Overcoming the disappointment and navigating the obstacles of refugee censorship tested my resilience. It challenged my belief in the institution’s commitment to addressing pressing issues like the refugee crisis and war. Nevertheless, these challenges solidified my determination to amplify marginalized voices and shed light on the profound consequences of war through my art.

Frank Liu

I started the first part of my design research with my own painting and photography. In it I showed anxiety, depression, and lack of energy. So darkness became the base of my collection at the beginning. Gwiazda’s figure sculptures show an emotional and physical state that matches mine. The tall, thin figures, hunched over by the heavy geometric objects on their shoulders, standing in a decadent pose, combined with the dark hues, provided me with the inspiration for the black robe silhouette and infuse the “casting” into my designs. For the second part, the design inspiration was gained from the sculpture Ishi’s Light by Anish Kapoor. As you stand in front of this huge artwork, it completely engulfs you. However, this work gives me a sense of security. It’s like the person who closes himself up and stays in his comfort zone just to escape from the real world. “Wrapping” has become an important design element for me. For the third part of the design, the inspiration was my vision of myself as a bird as shown in Constantin‘s sculpture Bird in Space. By removing the trivial structure, the wings, head and body are integrated into one simple shape. This sculpture shows the bird at its peak breaking free and flying into the sky. The sharp and smooth silhouette is my design element. At CSM, the most challenging aspect of my studies has been adapting to the intensive project schedule. During my first and second years, I struggled to complete each project thoroughly before moving on to the next one. Additionally, I often encountered difficulty expressing my ideas effectively. On a positive note, attending CSM has allowed me to interact with a highly talented group of students and foster a healthy competitive environment. This atmosphere has motivated me to improve my skills and become more efficient in my work.

Angus Kramer

My graduate collection was inspired by a historical moment that signifies the human obsession with beauty. During the 19th century, the rise of emerald green, also known as Paris green, Vienna green, and Schweinfurt green, was being seen in clothes and accessories but also in wallpapers. These greens captured the public’s attention as their pigmentation was so vivid that they had never been seen before. However, as time passed, families were slowly found dead and covered in green dust. For a while, it remained a mystery as to why innocent families were being found dead until they discovered it was the arsenic used in the wallpaper that had slowly shifted from the walls to the residences that was then slowly killing them off. With this becoming public knowledge, men and women would still adhere to their lives with arsenic green due to their infatuation and lust for beauty.

The hardest part of my BA experience would be the permanent damage made to my back from carrying a fully loaded ikea bag around like its a purse and being hunched over a sewing machine for 12 hrs a day… or I would say the even most challenging part of my experience was doing my second year in isolation during covid. No shops were open so I spent all my money ordering things to get them shipped to the middle of nowhere. The best part for me would be my internship year. The sheer amount I learned was enough to fill a whole course worth of knowledge. During my internship, I was also brought along to the fittings and backstage of the show, which just made me feel like a kid in a candy store. It reminded me that fashion is a fantasy world that creates characters and tells stories. After uni, my goal is to land a job that will further enhance my knowledge and skillset and pay off some bills… then after a couple of years of working in the industry, I would love to do a master’s and then move forward with setting up my own thing.

Jessica Pan

My collection illustrates a love story between the women and herself. Each look depicts a different phase of life that she is going through and her transformation. Look 1 “The Widow”, the hat dress, depicts a woman who is presenting a funeral for her past self and throughout with each look, it ultimately leads to Look 5 “The Aisle,” showcasing the woman in her full femininity. CSM is filled with so many different individuals, everyone has such unique styles and I think for me the most fulfilling part is being supported and the environment allowing me to hone in on my own fashion identity.

Frankie Staples

My perspective on the form of the body, and the imperfections/diversities between people’s physical form. I’ve looked at the body from a structural and sculptural perspective, drawing on references from surrealism, nature, art nouveau styles and random pics on my phone from exhibitions, walks, architecture, birds, you name it, even wet feet on a carpet. Every design aspect is in correlation to the body, pocket placements, fabrics, drawing of embroidery, and sculptural pleating. The painting that was the main inspiration for the collection was Salvador Dali’s “day & night” painting. I thought the fit was perfect, on one side is a sculptural blue jacket, tailored, structural and intricately detailed and on the other is a jacket that reveals sections of the body. it’s soft, draped, and shows the internal construction. The contrast within led to the idea of juxtaposing my collection, hard/soft, woven/knit, heavy/light, show/hide. The hardest point within my BA was toiling, transferring my ideas and designs from paper to reality- forming physical  3D pieces. This task requires a lot of trial and error, there were changes to designs and spontaneous decision-making. Some impracticalities within the designs which I at first took as mistakes, soon informed my design decisions. The toiling process for me was a challenge- I knew what I wanted to achieve, but the outcome failed to meet my expectations. I learnt about how being too much of a perfectionist can lead to a false expectations and that mistakes that were made can also have a positive impact. Eventually, things came together, and I managed to gain momentum but mentally it really tested me.

Max Foucaut

My collection research is inspired by the ancestral heritage of Agricultural Workwear and Ceremonial Tailoring that my ancestors spent their lives in. This collection is a story reflecting upon one’s bloodline and is an ode to craftsmanship. Specifically, looking into my grandfathers, one was an agricultural farmer in Versailles and the other was a city businessman in Paris. I present these tailored workwear looks supported by thoughtful cutting, silhouette shaping, and construction detailing; Coloured with natural dyes and shaped with exposed tailoring along with a Froissement or crinkling technique Playing with the concept of societal hierarchy with regards to rank and status, appearance does not necessarily link to one’s wealth or occupation, and this is still relevant to the present day. I worked at a tailor in Mayfair for two years, which allowed me to elevate the production of my garments and concepts. I found it difficult to break out of my comfort zone, and trying to flourish outside of traditional tailoring. I was honoured to have worked with Matthias Winkler in Berlin on the boots to merge tailored and workwear footwear narratives and to have hats made with the off-cuts from the tailor’s studio by Anthony Peto in Paris.

Luca Pawson

This collection is a story of journeys: evolving familiar with instinctual volumes inspired by natural forms, and the gestural couture shapes of the 1950s. Contemplative silhouettes foster a space for reflection: Sanctuary for a weary traveller. It also remembers the beginning of journeys: my grandmother’s delicate sculptures, my father’s Fly Fishing Vest, and my mother, who taught me the power of clothes. This collection asks how you can write these histories into your clothes, nurturing garments that can protect you. Objects are entrusted into each garment in different ways. Through scent and sound, they act as reliable memories. Leather and waxed cotton are patchworked together from second-hand pieces. The use of wax allows me to reimagine the delicate hand of silk dupion into the weather-proof, parchment-like fabric. The ritual of waxing renews the lifespan of these clothes. The last look is made from a vintage parachute, a life-saving garment as light as a feather. The hardest part of the BA for me was getting to the core of what I really wanted to achieve, realising what was necessary and essential and what wasn’t, and trying to make the collection as pure as possible. And then the marathon of getting everything made! The most exciting parts for me were Christmas break draping every day when everything finally came into focus and, and the surprises that come when it all emerges into the final 3D shapes.

Wooni Jeong

With this collection, the intention is to explore feelings of when as a kid I was able to come to terms with me being an introvert. Using my surroundings to hide, was the primary mode of self-concealment. However, this collection is my coming to terms with the idea that shyness is not always a negative feeling but a duality that a lot of people possess. Human duality remains a complex and multifaceted concept that can be approached and interpreted in many different ways. Drawing inspiration from artists such as Pierre Paulin, who used to express the overall unity and inseparability of everything in his work. To show and express these feelings and ideas, garments that will partly hide the face, and reinforce the body with cushion-like structures m and flowy drapes above and beyond the body will be used.

Mariia Ershova

The image of the snow has always connoted for me a sense of constant movement and the anticipation of change despite all the potential destruction it might bring. The imprint that it leaves on the shoulders, on the folds, creating a unique and multi-layered pattern, folds into quaint shapes on the coat and remains traces on the shoes. Just as the snowfall starts from the lightest, gradually growing into a piercing storm, the silhouettes are first formed by the body and then the body is given the form of oversize pieces. Choosing matte finish fabrics such as merino wool and neoprene and combining them with glossy finish beads, bespoke cut sequins, and laser cut fabric shapes creates the contrast between the two qualities. I also used AI in the research process to add a new approach to creating the collection while still working with a more conservative aspect of sustainability. This involves preserving and amplifying the couture techniques, such as made-to-fit, volume cut, and decorative elements mixing with innovations like 3d print and perforation. With this collection, I wanted to create modern pragmatic clothing that could answer the question of what modern elegance is. It seemed strange to think that you worked so hard for something that you handed in the room and now spending the rest of the time waiting for the show itself. A couple of my classmates and I sat together after we submitted our collections two weeks before the show and tried to reflect on what was done when Ryan Reeves mentioned that it’s so strange to imagine that so much has happened to us since we began our path in Central Saint Martins. Five years ago, there was no global pandemic, Brexit, the war… BeReal and TikTok didn’t exist five years ago, no one vaped five years ago. Thinking about how the world has changed dramatically while we were trying to create beautiful pieces that would reflect everything that is happening in the world definitely enriched my experience in Central Saint Martins.

Joel Hunt

You’re standing on the edge of a cliff and look down. Danger and temptation fill your stomach. You have the urge to walk forward and fall off the edge and into the void. My collection was derived from the French phrase “L’appel Du Vide”, which translates to “Call of The Void”, the inexplicable desire to kill yourself or someone else in a split second. My collection draws upon feelings of danger and discomfort. I have used wire rope, metal and exoskeleton knit swatches to achieve this. I have contrasted harsh textures with delicate textiles, such as silk and elastic, to play with two juxtaposing forces. My main references for this work are etymology and armour. The void is calling and we are pulled in like a moth to a flame. The hardest point of my BA experience was feeling like I was riding a spritely racehorse that hoards new ideas over every hurdle. Trying to slow this ADHD riddled racehorse down and bring to life as many of those ideas as possible has been a real challenge. The best part of this experience has been the sense of community that I have felt among designers. It’s so heart-warming to feel the support of my close peers in this creative bubble. Post-uni I intend to sleep. A LOT.

Tj Finley 

The title of my collection is ‘Fags Forking the Rich’. It’s translated from my Queer and working-class identity through materials and objects that are a play on words regarding the queer and working-class experience. I created ‘fag fabric’ out of cigarette butts as an exploration of how the word fag is used to degrade queer individuals. I also used crushed cutlery to make armour and structures to bring attention to the struggles of being working class and how we have to become animals to be listened to. The hardest part of my BA experience was probably when Covid hit, but I don’t want to get into that, dwelling on the past only prevents growth. I started CSM with very little if not any technical abilities so my outcomes were never what I had in my sketchbooks; so seeing the materials and garments I created finally resemble my thoughts and look how I wanted was the best part of my final year, not only do I have strong concepts and ideas but my outcomes now showcase my technical skills which promote my creative thinking. FORK THE RICH!

Gina Grünwald

My work is about reviving techniques of craftswomanship through repurposing waste and reused materials. There is an oddness to it – the young generations are trying to save the world, whilst the people in power are destroying it. The collection tries to find beauty and freedom through limitation. The limits we all feel – whether that is about saving the planet or finding freedom in ourselves. Good clothing takes not only time but dedication, craft and research. At the heart of this collection stands extensive material research, with materials from excess climbing gear, fabric scraps from Swiss printing companies, and hand-made knits. Re-exploring female craft through the lens of repurposing industrial waste is the motto. There are so many good sides to CSM and one of them is the opportunity to collaborate. It is about creating a community of like-minded people, who helped me to create my final collection. But there are so many influences around you and it’s very easy to get carried away, only pick what pushes you and your work further. After I graduate I plan to start my own brand.

Tzu Cheng

The concept for the project comes from my diving experience. When I dived into the ocean for the first time, it was a totally different ball game because being immersed underwater is such a sensory experience. Everything that can see, hear and feel comes into sharp focus. Any living things, colours and wave shapes in the ocean inspired me. I used different colours to combine weaving and knitting to represent the unexplored ocean. For the highlight, I used a lot of boat silhouettes and canvas sheds to design a lot of different shapes to display on the human body. I love to explore the sea, which reminds me that the sea is full of fantasy and imaginative space like the unknown space. The material that I used for the project is soft steel, fluffy yarn and waxed string and the technique that I used for the whole garment is hand knitting. I wish I could join LVMH or any other high-end designer brand to learn and create more value and then do my own brand in the future.

Giacomo Carpinelli

What inspired my collection was the practice behind rituals, spirituality, and craftsmanship. These are elements that create a unique and meaningful connection between the person, the object, and the divine. It is designed with a focus on slow fashion, and I am planning to make each piece with the utmost care and attention to detail. The use of natural and organic materials like linen, cotton, and silk, along with traditional craftsmanship techniques like hand-embroidery gives each piece a timeless and spiritual quality. The intricate patterns and symbols used in the collection are inspired by various spiritual rituals from around the world with which I am going to define my version of ceremony. The pieces are designed to be worn for special occasions and rituals such as meditation, religious ceremonies, and other important events in a person’s life. The intention behind each piece is to help the wearer connect with their spirituality and feel empowered and elevated.

Michaela Ehrenstein

My collection represents my relationship (or lack thereof) with my mother. As the daughter of an addict with mental health issues, our relationship slowly degraded over time to the point that contact was more harmful than cutting her out of my life. However, the longing for a connection is always there and I find myself idealizing and dreaming of a childhood that never really existed. The distortion of childlike silhouettes and colours partnered with laser-cut crochet images of my mother’s youth is meant to give a sense of warped reality, as if you were seeing my childhood through rose-tinted lenses. The truth, however, lies in the constriction created by corsetry and the creation of a knitted textile interwoven with thousands of nails meant to depict an unhealthy repetitive behaviour practiced by my mother in which she would pull on her fingernails and my own. It is a surrealistic portrayal of my childhood that reveals the perspective I am confronted with when remembering my youth.

Inok Chung

My collection ‘Count to Twenty’ is about playing hide-and-seek with menswear and masculinity. It’s about me asking questions to myself, where to show, where to hide, where to reveal, where to highlight. My research revolves around some menswear archetypes. Pinstripe suits, denim jackets, mac coats, bomber jackets and armoury. I love playing and interfering with those accumulated meanings behind archetypes. I used dusty-pink cotton sheet of fabric to interfere with pinstripe suit, silver beads to replace the notion of hard, stiff and rigid armoury with something soft, round and flexible. Shiny satin interferes and makes the mac coat almost float around.

Imagine the last shop you physically walked into, what did you experience? Reminiscing on my childhood living above my grandparents’ fancy dress shop and exploring the contradictions of being self-employed through a comedic lens with the items my grandparents sell for example balloons and pranks. Taking inspiration from advertising and tongue twisters to inform print within my designs. To keep that connection my work process involves tactile materials transformed to create shapes which have been moulded, tailored, stretched, inflated, twisted and felted. Continuing with the theme of hard work I created my own material using raw wool; processing the wool from start to end, involving a labour-intensive process of shearing, skirting and carding while also being a by-product from my family’s smallholding. Translating the wool into something completely new breathes life back into the textile which during development felt challenging to my aesthetic. Now I just need to sell it!

Sam Crabbe

My work is about a childhood fascination with birds of prey, in particular, the peregrine falcon. I find it so interesting that they have made London of all places their home. To me, they represent the epitome of agility, fluidity and freedom. Which is what I wanted to portray in the collection. The shapes of peregrines in flight have been merged with archetypal garments, such as the trench coat and bomber jacket, creating something that feels quite familiar and comforting to soften the aerodynamic form of the peregrine falcon. The hardest part of the BA for me was working from home over lockdown. The studio environment is so necessary for me to be able to create. The best has been the final year. We’ve all been going through this together and I’ve made friends for life. It’s the year that I’ve felt most confident in my work and have enjoyed pushing myself and working so hard for something that I love to do.

Cathy Meyong

This collection is a visual analysis of the Western concept of Blackness, the research journey started with the villainization of blackness and the creation of a black “race”. How dehumanization of Black people, and demonization of West African spirituality were used as tools of oppression crucial to the colonization of the African continent and prevalent until this day in western society and across the globe. I looked at colonial uniforms and used them as a basis for my visual research. I used upcycled leather remnants from upholstery, thrifted fur coats and deadstock fur, bought horns from antique collectors and real wings from ethical taxidermists I found in Facebook groups. The animal parts I am using are meant to question the demonization of Black religions such as Haitian Vodou and Beninese vodun, to name a few, by referencing to animal offerings that take part during certain ceremonies. It is meant to question why religious animal offerings are denounced while mass farming animals under extremely cruel conditions is widely accepted in the West. This whole collection aims to make you feel uncomfortable. I want people here to look at it and ask themselves, why do I feel discomfort when looking at horns and wings but still go home and enjoy my chicken burger. The BA was extremely expensive, and an overwhelming amount of work. It is a lot to manage at once with little prior experience and skill. It was very inspiring to see the amount of people who helped me with the making of this collection. It truly takes a village and the whole village showed up! I would love to work for Versace, Trussardi or Rick Owens, but if I can find an investor I am very keen on continuing to develop collections from upcycled clothing and dead stock materials on a commercial level. I believe that there are no sustainable solutions for fashion on the market currently and we are in desperate need of solutions that go beyond greenwashing and empty eco-target pledges.

Ian McGrew-Yule

The weaknesses of an unchanging system are the most frightening. What is most important is exhibiting idiosyncrasies that evolve new understandings of established materials, strategies, or systems. In that context, I am developing a new understanding of the technologies under patent as Kevlar fabric and the cantilever bridge, through their aesthetics. I have studied the use of layered Kevlar inside bulletproof vests. I have worked to discover new ideas of durability, strength, beauty, and fragility embodied in the technology. These contradictory properties inspire new personalities; the cantilever bridge is held together by being pulled apart, Kevlar is simultaneously fragile and strong.

Faye Simister

The collection is an exploration into challenging modern knitwear design; combining old technology with new. I used a hacked knitting machine from the 80s to create immersive pieces which translate my love for bold graphics, illusions, surrealism and space-age design. Both classic and strange low-budget old sci-fi movies have prominence in my research, and I became obsessed with filming techniques which utilise odd perspectives and reflections to create eerie and unsettling outcomes. Digitised knitting seemed so inaccessible to me when I first started out, so I find it kind of wholesome that I can create these looks on my domestic machine. It was definitely a life-changing moment when my dad randomly started buying and selling knitting machines when I was in my first year. He came across a stupidly cheap electronic knitting machine and I decided to have a play around on it, I hooked it up to an analogue TV to create the pattern and  I eventually figured out how to hook my laptop up to the machine after around 9 months of trying, which is how I came to make my collection! I’d love to offer people an alternative to using a STOLL machine to create knitwear for smaller-scale projects. At the same time, I can’t wait to continue creating my own designs and developing my technique even more.

Ryan Reeves

My collection draws its inspiration from the legacy of artists who rooted themselves in the South-West; most notably Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Richard Long. I believe my own works reflect the sensibility of form and structure which links all these practitioners, with considerations being made at every stage of the design process to reflect a refined and sensuous sense of shape & form that subtly alludes to the environments themselves in which these artists lived. Moreover, multiple garments within my collection employ a high degree of interchangeability with buttons and ties being used to offer the wearer an active role in the design process which not only adds an added sense of fun and playfulness, but also offers pushes the types of uses a garment can have and the number of purposes it can serve to the consumer. I feel the hardest part of the BA experience is continuing to refine and push your aesthetic to its maximum potential- it can be draining when navigating all the mistakes, accidents, adjustments and changes of path which ultimately lead to the finished vision and challenging to remain optimistic when things aren’t necessarily going to plan. It seems particularly difficult when you’re starting the physical processes of making the collection and doesn’t necessarily have an entirely clear vision yet of how each look will correspond with each other. However, it was extremely exciting and encouraging as each look came together and I’m ultimately left feeling rewarded at how cohesive yet varied the collection turned out to be. Post-university I’d ideally love to continue to hone my skills and develop my professional capabilities at an existing fashion house. Sometimes, in the creative industries, it feels like a luxury to be paid for your skills and labour and too often the expertise we develop during education appears to be undervalued- after a long and challenging five years it would feel very rewarding to be able to bring these skills to a team environment and work on a collective vision!

Ana Cordoba

Throughout history, the future has been envisioned by philosophers and visionaries, and at a personal level, I try to predict my own destiny. I believe this prediction directly influences my present and decision-making, informing action in order to achieve my most utopian prophecies. Fashion by definition is in constant change, which is dictated by the worldviews of the present time in which that trend coexists. That worldview arose from an envisioning of the future, and that vision of the future arose from changes in technology. This project is a very personal retrospective of my own self and the way in which ambition and passion towards the forthcoming inform my design practice. I believe augmented reality, digital clothing and big data will re-design the tomorrow. However, the algorithms of these have a tendency to oversimplify matters. My aim is to use the power of new technologies such as 3D printing, laser cutting and computer modelling, to reawake the attention to detail from the past and inform my vision of the future. During my BA I developed a strong interest towards technology and the future. This has directly influenced the way I worked, spending loads of hours in front of a screen rather than in front of a machine – how it would be expected to be from a fashion student. During my first year of the BA, while I was doing a project from home during the COVID pandemic, a tutor advised me to move to another degree. She believed I was not ‘a proper fashion student’, or what she believed a fashion student was. During the following years, I tried to understand myself and my ambitions and guide them to merge both worlds. In the end, technology is part of our lives and is already taking the fashion industry with innovations such as the Metaverse Fashion Week. After uni, I am planning to develop my studies with a course at MIT, where I want to study a subject called ‘computing fabrics’ which aims to bring to life textiles through the use of technology (making them transfer electricity, move, react to the human touch…). After that, I would love to explore the connection between the human body, technology and fashion being part of a research group that studies that topic. At the moment most of the people that are exploring the fashion-tech world come from a tech background, not a creative one. I aim to interweave both worlds.

Izzy McKinlay

The collection is an exploration of tangled memories, muted landscapes, and abstract silhouettes. It is a nostalgic call back to Australia’s Blue Mountains and coastal terrain, where I would ride my motorcycle alongside my brothers, splitting through the forest passages and crossing over mountain ridges. I hoped to capture this movement in my designs – a sense of speed and directional motion. Garments integrate discarded mechanical pieces sourced from local mechanics and 3D-printed abstract shapes using filament made from ocean waste. Placed under the tension of the fabric, these objects distort the silhouettes, where the memory of the past and the body merge into one. Reclaimed parachuting fabric, second-hand outdoor climbing material, and cactus ‘leather’ become the basis of each garment. The final look is a hand-cast fibreglass sculpture that takes the form of a surfboard-motorcycle hybrid. It is rooted in an affinity to the speed of time, and, for me, a place of escape. I felt this collection gave me space to really hone in on my own aesthetic and reconnect with memories that were closest to my heart. And I guess it eased this weird form of homesickness – of yearning for a time that was no longer there.

Juliette Cottu

My collection is about oneirism, dream, the relationship between digital and physical life and the power of ‘avatars’ in completing our more spiritual selves. Second lives, real-life fairies, and connecting with your inner mystical creature. The garments were inspired by my mother who has been windsurfing for years: I would see her get dressed in crazy outfits and gears to then float over the sea and fly high in the sky: magic I thought, still exists away from metropolis. I want it to be playful and use different elements – air water and earth (sand, blue colours and air). Coastal fairies and beach life have a history of being subversive. Beach life is a subversion to highly capitalist cities and invites people to embrace their inner playful creatures. It’s also about colours and their therapeutic effect on the soul. The plastic I use is TPU biodegradable plastic (which takes 3 years to disappear) same as they use on kite surf bladders. The hardest part of the BA was not having a social life outside of school which was also nice because amazing people go to Csm. I felt like I was running against the clock. The best part was the people and pushing my ideas to the maximum. I learned how to trust the process and myself.

Mirai Suzuki

My collection is a homage to the nature I spent last summer in and the friends I spent it with. To the late nights and early mornings dancing around a campfire, surrounded by those closest to me alongside strangers I’d just met. Silhouettes from my collection were inspired by the freedom and expression of these intuitive dance movements.

I decided to embrace the childlike curiosity and playfulness in my craft. I have always been intrigued by found objects and experimenting with things that already exist around me. I took branches from Hackney Marshes and found that they created interesting structures when placed on the body, and crafted sculptures out of wooden beads. I juxtaposed this with digitally concocted psychedelic forest-y landscapes, which I printed large scale, capturing the harmony that can exist between technology and nature.

My collection is a celebration of the beauty and joy of nature and serves as a reminder to protect the world around us so we can celebrate it for centuries to come. During the BA, I started getting inspired once we began making toiles – questions seemed to answer themselves given time. Experimentation on the stand led to new ideas and I gained further clarity on the envisioning of the final collection. Once I graduate I would like to work in design full-time. I am mostly interested in working in print design.

Kosmas Papastathis

During my placement year, I read a lot of Victorian and Edwardian Literature. In my reading, I was always fascinated by the sumptuous descriptions of clothing. Trollope, Edith Wharton, Henry James, Proust, Zola; all had a particular interest in the symbolism of clothing and a talent for painting a picture in the most precise details. Their evocations of ruffles, veils, tulles and shimmering taffeta placed the characters of the novels in specific scenes and gave them life, and substance. What I love the most about these descriptions is the dazzling sensation which is often produced in the reader. Reading is often accompanied by a sense of deepening twilight which transforms the clear descriptions into a vibrant Impressionistic haze. My BA collection is an exploration of the contrast between the specificity of form and this abstracting nature of description. I am interested in how, through the process of retelling, details become muffed and get compressed into mere impressions, almost into outlines of the original richness of the described object. Making a collection is a  tumultuous process, and since we are both designers and makers there isn’t much time to respond to new sources of inspiration. Once a design has been picked and toiled there is much that we can change about it, given the time-restraint that comes from following an academic calendar.