Representing the creative future

IFM BA 2024: It’s a family affair

Can young designers balance industry understanding with artistic experimentation?

Where is the line between the avant-garde and the commercial? Situated near the Gare D’Austerlitz, the Institut Français de la Mode (IFM) presented its third year of BA graduates, offering a compelling answer to this question. In a recent interview with the Paris Fashion Week platform, course leaders Hervé Yvrenogeau and Thierry Rondenet remarked: “It’s not a fashion section in an art school, but a fashion school that includes all the professions in one sector.” This comprehensive approach prepares students for a promising start in both the Parisian and global fashion scenes.

While it’s easy for student designers to adopt a more conceptual and constructive approach, the 2024 IFM graduates pushed themselves to consider their garments’ mobility and wearability. Faced with the financial limitations of rising material costs and sustainability concerns, the designers utilized found objects such as air chambers from old tires donated by local farmers, fabrics sourced from Vinted, and even recycled blinds. The collections’ construction reached a couture level of craftsmanship, a hallmark of the Parisian school’s final shows.

A common reflection among the graduates was their struggle with creative inconsistencies and self-doubt. “Pushing through times when you’ve seen your work so much you stop believing in its potential,” graduate Nika Mocnik shared, reflecting on the agonies of obsessing over your own creations. One thing is for sure: in a competitive industry, IFM fosters a strong sense of community, evident in the atmosphere of their ateliers and peer-to-peer interactions. The final show is a family affair, and this year, in a powerful protest, the designers walked out hand in hand with their models, wearing “Ceasefire Now” t-shirts, standing together for what they believe in.

Discover all the students, their collections, and their sketchbooks.

Theophane Sorin

Theophane Sorin’s collection is based around a scene within a family. But not just any everyday scene – it is about a role-playing game that he scripted around a family with sectarian tendencies. “Translated into the form of an investigation, this suite of 6 characters embodies the concept of a social drama within a family situation,” he says. The goal of the game is to get rid of the family guru. In order to get there, each of the characters have a significant object which will be used as evidence in the investigation. When he started to do research for the collection, he started looking into the symbiotic dimensions of the family. What do they wear across different generations – is one of the questions he asked himself. “The development of the volumes has been singular for each character, getting as close as possible to familiar figures. Objects linked to special memories,” he says. At the heart of the collection are the cuts of the clothes – the attitude is strict and the sentiment of a uniform is very present. Initially, this collection was built on fragments of memories and personal images, which he then went on to link to more surprising and contemporary inspirations. Through research, he was able to build a whole world himself.

Nika Mocnik

Most people experience it daily, most people complain about it, but the designer Nika Mocnik named her graduate collection after it – the rush hour. “I’ve been working with two main themes. The first one is time, or better said – the lack of it. How do our minds work when we don’t have enough time to get dressed properly and what are the mistakes we make along the way?” she wonders. Her second theme is distortion. It works as a playful approach towards details, and the volumes which are sometimes created when we hurry getting dressed. “I embrace the mistakes made in our everyday life and try to create a fun and playful wardrobe,” she elaborates. The process of making this collection was full of ups and downs. The hardest part was to be consistent throughout the whole year, pushing through times when you’ve seen your work so much you stop believing in its potential. “But generally – it was a very fun year since we really got to dive into our own process and storytelling, and show our personalities through our collections as much as possible.”

Jeanne Godin

Looking at dualities, Jeanne Godin took inspiration from the double-meaning. Her collection expresses dualities in all its forms – being and appearing, the natural and the artificial. “It has been constructed as a humorous composition of synthetic elements in primary colours, such as balloons, and animals in parts,” she says. The us, as in the almost primitive part of the human being, was represented with animal-esque shapes made from furry materials. The positive side was expressed with colour and synthetic material through the medium of balloons. “With a sort of confusion between the two, like as if animals transformed into balloons,” she adds. For the balloon part, the thermos was very complex to use, since it is normally used in small shapes and not on textiles. “It didn’t stick to all fabrics, couldn’t be repaired, some materials wouldn’t fit on the sewing machine, so I had to sew a lot of pieces by hand,” she says. “I really had a hard time because of that but I am very happy with the result.”

Soo Hyun Sim

“My collection mainly contains the stories of Christian women who lived in the era of the Korean enlightenment,” says the designer Soo Hyun Sim. When he first came to Paris, he felt similar feelings to these women.  Even though the making of the collection involved a lot of reflection, the making wasn’t hard. “Rather, every moment was fun, and I think I found a more specific career path,” he says. “However, choosing fabric, organizing ideas clearly, and balancing them was not so easy.” Therefore, his biggest challenge was to use colours. His practise is usually based on making clothing with innovative cutting techniques, so incorporating colours was a challenge. Nevertheless, the best advice he ever got was to take the colourful risk. “That is a thing I learnt last year whilst having an internship under a designer I really respected. No matter how dark I like it, if I only express darkness in black, that darkness really isn’t my thing. If I really want to find my own darkness, I have to be able to show it through bright colours as well,” he finishes.

Christian Ye

Since Christian Ye left his hometown for Paris, the city has become his home. More than that, the people have become his second family. Therefore, he dedicated his graduate collection “Dust Bunny” to exactly those people. “Throughout the years, these amazing individuals taught me pride, courage, and most importantly – unity. And this collection represents a chapter of my life here,” he says. Christian has Chinese roots, but was born and raised in a Christian Hungarian household, located in Budapest. “As a queer, first-generation immigrant in a rather conservative country I didn’t really have the chance to fully realise my identity,” he says. The collection depicts the story of six different real life inspired characters, standing in a queue, heading to the celebration of his rebirth. They wear looks that incorporate references from sleepwear to leisurewear, playing with contrasts. “The collection is naïve, playful, yet so romantic and real. There is a drop of my heritage, but before this it’s quintessentially me,” he says. “This is Christian’s fantasy world.”

Tony Kayumba

Exploring formal and informal dress codes, Tony Kayumba is recontextualising the classic male wardrobe in his graduate collection. Through added movements and the misplacement of the garment on the wearer, Tony is creating new silhouettes and tropes. “Mainly inspired by my upbringing in church on Sundays, there, I would see people dress differently than during the week,” he says. “As a kid, I always wondered why they couldn’t wear the same clothes or talk the same way as they did.” So naturally, his graduate collection was his way to create a wardrobe that merges both worlds into one.


Paco Fausset Leroy Thomas

Guido – a term often used to describe a man that fits into the male beauty standard. His hair is slick back with gel, his abs are perfectly defined, a sharp jawline that could cut through anything and an attitude that causes desire. “Throughout our personal evolution, whether that is physical or moral, our interactions with society will also evolve,” says Paco Fausset Leroy Thomas. Evolution can be good or bad, exchanges can become abrupt, provocative or curious. “Through clothing I convey the emotion of what we feel when we get attacked. The garment itself can become a weapon then, through its material, its movement and its construction. This can help to assert what we want to convey,” he says. In the making process, Paco saw this as an opportunity to think about his ideal self. “I saw myself as a little boy, imagining my own dolls. Like a dream, each of my silhouettes is ready to overcome these fears and assert its place.”

Victoria Yujin Kwon

Victoria Yujin Kwon’s final collection is about the borderline between image and reality, the confusion and the duality. Inspired by surrealist artists and writers of the 20th century as well as modern film directors, Victoria translated her vision of this topic into garments. “It all began with my reflection on how I perceived today’s fashion, and how others do so. I realised that we put less importance on the beauty of craftsmanship and construction in fashion. The garments, to be precise,” she says. We may not be forgetting their value, but due to the vast accessibility of fashion through social media, we tend to focus more on the visual side of fashion. “In the past, people created images – pictures or paintings – to embody a reality, or to make it look real. Contrary, now, we try hard to make reality more edited and hyper realistic, more like images,” she adds. In her collection she conveys a lot of these themes, particularly the duality of visual value and versus the practical value of garments. She recreated the codes and details of a classic wardrobe without their actual utility (for example pockets or collars) whilst discovering new volumes to appropriate the value of constructive garments. When she started working on her collection, she started with image research on “strangeness”. “It led me to study the concept of surrealism, then I narrowed down to the idea of the confusion of reality and dream where familiar things appear in an unreal way,” she says. In the end, she worked with a lot of sketches, bringing this conceptual vision to life.


Yujia Sun

Yujia Sun is obsessed with music – and that is what her collection is partly about. The other part is about rediscovering her Chinese heritage. “In this collection, I had taken inspiration from ancient archetypes from traditional Chinese relics, architecture and garments,” she says. She created a new wardrobe, which integrates the influence of pop and rock music, relating to her heritage. Yujia merges her heritage with the influences of her youth, which took place in Camden Town, London. “This collection contains personal objects and accessories, surrounding the rock and punk scene – for example guitar picks, strings or cables – all of these were utilised and transformed into wearable garments,” she adds. The collection, “Thousand Steel Radio” is about creating sounds that capture notions of melancholic glamour, rebellious spirit and heritage. There is a clear focus on transforming objects into clothing. “Emphasis was put on precise craftsmanship, materials, and cutting as it was a main focal point during the development of this collection,” she explains. The process was rather challenging – she developed knitwear from guitar cables, or hand sewed thousands of aluminium metal guitar picks. The result is a glorious hybrid collection, marrying two worlds that might have not met each other prior.

Antoine Lafleur

“If I had to sum it up in a few sentences, I would say that this collection features silhouettes imbued with a naïve clumsiness,” says the designer Antoine Lafleur. “It reveals, in a childlike manner, how to create a counterfeit synthetic elegance with whatever is at hand.” The aim of the collection was to create a conversation between a normal guy growing up in the world and a fashion student, growing into the fashion sphere. To make this happen, he juxtaposed 50s and 60s haute couture references that he discovered throughout his research, with something super poetic, raw and basic about Paris, the urban landscapes, the textures, but also the people and their attitude. “My inspiration mainly comes from what surrounds me, the conversations I have, the people I love, and the banality of everyday life that everyone tries in their own way to shape into something exceptional,” he says. He loves sourcing new fabrics – each silhouette has a surprising element. Some of them have a special material, some have a really unusual fabric in general. “I like to show something literal while playing with the eye of the beholder,” he says. Bringing all his constant inspirations together was a challenge, but the result is a coherent, well-constructed, and of course, a surprising collection.

Zoe Lubken

Imagine a scene of chaotic nightlife monsters. This may sound unfamiliar but it’s what Zoe Lubken’s graduate collection is about. “They’re emerging out of a party that lasted hours, maybe days. They are pleasantly strange – in a fun and goofy sort of way. They are also dirty and sweaty. The monsters inhabit the chaos unleased during night life – the true and authentic self that emerges when we are able to let loose far from social constraints,” they say. You may think they are strange, but they exist to embrace the strange. They embrace themselves to the fullest. “For this collection, I drew inspiration from the crazy creatures of the night that I have encountered, and all that they have taught me,” they add. Zoe chose this theme, because the monsters encapsulate their chaotic tendencies. “I decided to reclaim all the things I was shamed for and turn them into my signature club bizarre trademarks. Wrinkled dirt coated clothes left at the back of the club became my fabric treatment, coming sweaty out of the club became a “sweat” scotch sweater, the t shirt that I would wear upside down gave me inspiration for the giant custom clothing tags, having to walk out of the club without my pants having lost them gave me inspiration for the giant latex bob and a messy bag became a hooping chewing gum bag full of lost junk.” This collection is a testament of reclaiming inner insecurities, but also a way to show how proud you should be of yourself, no matter what the others say.


Dani Reto

Inspired by family fotos, Dani Reto’s final collection is called “IDYOOM LAILAN BET AWER”. “Captured in “BAKHDIDA”, a small village in northern Iraq, these photos were abandoned because of the war in 2014. They were found at a flea market in the same area back home,” they say. The story of the album and his collection is very emotional. “I wanted to give my family the voice that has been taken from them since the war,” Dani adds. Inspired by imagery of weddings, holy communions and baptisms, the collection explores ceremonial garments with a twist. “Men versus women, fragility versus rigidity and traditional versus contemporary. It’s my take on personal observations,” they add. The process of making the collection was all about joy and being messy.

Alessio Rubin Pedrazzo

Alessio Rubin Pedrazzo’s final collection is inspired by the adult insect, also referred to as the “perfect insect”. “It designates the final stage of an insect whose development takes place in several phases (egg, larva, imago). In flying insects, the “imaginal stage” is characterized by the development of the wings. What is commonly known as a “butterfly” is the image of Lepidoptera,” he says. Using this metaphor helps Alessio to talk about the sometimes paradoxical behaviour and protective mechanisms that humans can have. The biggest challenge in his process was the balance. He wanted to find the perfect balance between the “second skin” and the idea of evolution and extension of the body, whilst still remaining identifiable clothing. “The second challenge was to talk about insects without literally making insects, so to look more closely at how to translate behaviours into clothing,” he finishes.

Gwen Bodiou

“My collection is about a weird and awkward guy who doesn’t know how to stand and act in society,” says the designer Gwen Bodiou. Additionally, the guy also thinks he is a superhero. A lot of designers think of a generic character when they design their clothes, but Gwen thought of a very specific person. Some people may be confused by the weirdness of the guy, but Gwen used this as an opportunity to play. “I am playing a lot with the idea of attitude and I am trying to find it through this guy’s eyes – his idea of coolness, sexiness or sensuality,” he adds. He really wanted to figure out how garments help the character to be himself, to pose, to express. Throughout his research process, one of Gwen’s main inspirations was the TV show Batman, filmed in 1966. In this show, the heroes look very ridiculous in very serious situations, whilst portraying a very old-fashioned image of masculinity. Gwen was very intrigued by this juxtaposition. Additionally, he was intrigued by modern meme culture, and the “cringe face”, which again, relates to his character – a person who wants to be invisible, but ends up looking ridiculous. “The process was very interesting because I started by thinking about attitudes and how movements would influence clothes,” he says. Then the first prototypes came around and he had a lot of fun by getting inspired through unusual garments, like the superhero cape. Even though this was a fun collection to work on, finding the right balance between funny and awkward and elegant and subtle was a challenge.

Joachim Dumas

Joachim Dumas has frankly expressed, always been attracted to the object and the ways we can use it. Taking note of this, he got very inspired by sofas and armchairs from the 1970s for his graduate collection. The materials and the relationship between the object and the body intrigued him the most. “I am also very inspired by attitude, and this case, I am inspired by a diva in the 70s, who at the time had delirious houses with crazy armchairs and I found it super interesting to mix the two sets and make clothes out of them,” he says. Therefore, his collection is called “DIVANO”, meaning sofa in Italian. Coincidentally, Italy is known for making great furniture, armchairs in particular. To break it down, you kind of have to imagine it all like a diva in the 70s, so obsessed with her armchairs, they become her clothes. Joachim’s process was defined by finding the right balance between his concept and the garments. “I wanted to mix two completely different minks from a sofa, insert them between padded leather silhouettes, and incoproate the shape and the volume of the sofa,” he says. To have something representing the diva part, he used “flou” fabrics that are reminiscent of the caftans divas famously wore. Being a fashion designer, learning and respecting the craft of sofa-making was something hard during the process. “The woodwork was carried out by the very talented Antoine Cleret with whom I collaborated. It was a big challenge, since wood is not an easy material to work with.” Balancing out between sofa and diva, new crafts and old techniques came as a natural challenge, but visibly proven, Joachim mastered them.

Valentin Prinz

Valentin Prinz grew up in southern Germany. For his final collection he got very inspired by southern German traditional culture, garments and minimal art. “I reimagined garments that have been handed down through generations in my family, aiming to evoke memories such as the sound of cowbells in the fields surrounding my childhood home and the Swabian Alemannic Fastnacht parades with their bell-embellished costumes,” he says. For his collection, he wanted to blend these traditions with his passion for minimal art. The simple shapes and the act of repetition create an unexpected harmony between the two. “The process began with a journey through photo albums of my childhood and those of my mother and grandmother,” he says. “I observed how garments and traditions were preserved and passed down through generations. I studied the construction and materials of these heirloom garments. I frequently explored connections to works to minimal art.” In the end, he focussed on individual pieces, rather than full looks, constantly styling and editing the collection. “Essentially, I was creating a wardrobe. The wearer and their comfort played a central role,” he finishes.

Alexander Lacqua

Alexander Lacqua’s collection is inviting us to explore our emotions, our memories, our fantasies and our dreams that push the boundaries. “It is a mix of reality, made up of little things and childhood memories that make us dream and desire,” he says. Inspired by characters talking at a family meeting, he wants them to express experimental, surprising and sensual ideas – existing in a space where ideas diverge and words mingle. He revisited the idea of “banal clothing”, resulting in a collection where each piece has a different personal reflection on political and social dynamics. “The process began when I had to find the subject for my collection. The beginning was quite vague, I wanted to talk about many things at the same time without necessarily finding things that united them,” he says. At some point he realised one thing all his inspirations had in common: the emotions, the connection to human relationships and everyday life. That was the breakthrough moment. “It was as if since childhood, some questions finally had an answer and I wanted to address topics such as authority, marriage and sex,” he says. Of course, children have trouble understanding these topics, so he wanted to dissect them in a de-complexed family meeting, which served as the scene for his collection. In the end, each piece was made differently, just like an individual character. “By broadening our thinking, the clothes become carriers of ideas, artistic manifestations of my desire for a different world,” he finishes.

Lena Scheutz

Lena Scheutz’s collection evolves all around stripes. She wanted to use them as a tool for optical illusions and visual intrigue. “I wanted to explore the notion of clothing being used as a sanctuary and shield for the wearer. In my collection, we see stripes utilised as layers and shredding to convey our layers of protection and stability,” she says. Lena has always admired strong colours and graphics, which also served as an inspiration for her collection. “I spent most of my time working with prototypes and mock ups. I enjoyed deconstructing pre-existing garments and discovering new silhouettes from my own wardrobe,” she adds. Lena’s main intention with this collection was to craft something that people would feel comfortable in. The stripe effect adds another interesting layer to her vision, resulting in an outer shield, like a protective armour. “I used to make garments that are way more structured and sculptural than what I have in my collection now, because I never used to care about mobility. It was challenging to make garments that people can move in easily while also embodying my love for sculpture and art.”

Nicolas Chaulet

Nicolas Chaulet’s final collection explores the journey of growing up in our society, celebrated through unconventional fabrics, materials and upcycling. “It draws inspiration from a wardrobe that merges contrasting elements into stereotypical garments,” says Nicolas. He took inspiration from Disney characters like Thumper and Roger Rabbit to the Playboy Playmates and the rabbit tattoo’s pivotal role in The Matrix. “Each garment in this collection is creatively altered with contrasting textures or social codes influenced by societal norms,” he adds. His process started with the places that shaped him – his home village in Bulgaria, his hometown in France, and his current home in Paris. “I used various materials, such as air chambers from old tires, donated by local farmers and upcycled fabrics, from both sides of my family, to conceptualise this wardrobe of stereotypical garments,” he says. Moreover, he worked with natural shapes, draping the materials, and creating new textures with it – the pine dress is a great example of that. “I developed specific methods to achieve the desired effect, including a process to obtain all the individual petals, which involved a lot of detailed work,” he finishes.