Representing the creative future

IFM MA 2024: Innovation in the service of storytelling

Discover the IFM MA 2024’ designers’ sketchbooks and collections

From shapes observed on a bus journey to the irrevocably relatable feeling of awkwardness, IFM’s 2024 MA graduate show is a carousel of concepts. 27 designers from all corners of the world debuted their graduate collections in the official Paris Fashion Week schedule. The yearly event is not just a celebration of fresh talent, it serves as a harbinger of the industry’s future.

This year’s class doesn’t just stand out for its ideas, but for the way it technically translates them into fashion. With a knack for layering complex techniques, the young designers invent idiosyncratic textures, prints and silhouettes. Kira Zander’s ode to her sister catalyzes knitwear that vividly resembles the stones they collected together. Sofia Saerens’ weaves mohair inside of knitwear that, when paired with viscose lace, represents the narrative struggles of the lesbian community. Jude Macasinag made floral embroidery out of recycled beer cans. The 2024 cohort of designers isn’t afraid to expand the technical lexicon of fashion, putting innovation in the service of storytelling.

The 2024 designers aren’t just capable of expressing meaningful concepts in technically fresh ways, something they all do in their own way, they’re willing to amend the fashion industry’s shortcomings by understanding the power they wield. “Runways nowadays become a regular art fair where you can see the visions of creative directors, where you can get a momentary escape from the actual world we’re living in,” says Enrico De Marchi, a Swiss-Italian designer who presented an introspective collection inspired by Italian cowboys. They don’t want to be trapped in toxic environments that demand sacrificing one’s well-being for the sake of fashion, instead they hope to, as the Spanish designer Queralt Orriols puts it, “find a balance in a healthy environment.” This shift is not merely an aspiration for this year’s graduates; it is a standard they are setting for themselves. Success is understood, not as an egotistic goal to reach, but as a collaborative effort to be made. “So many helped me with my collection, that’s why I made a credit list for every single item,” recounts Hyung Kim. Victor Klijsen encapsulates the prevailing sentiment among his peers: “It isn’t an easy industry to survive in, but for sure it’s a damn good one to work in.”

Jude Macasinag 

Jude Macasinag claims couture as a queer art form. His graduate collection, titled “Haute Queer-ture” is not just a queer manifesto, it’s a celebration of his identity. An expert at bridging references, the Philippino designer weaves an impossibly complex tale of high glamour and cultural iconography. Recycled fabrics solidify Macasinag’s statement: couture isn’t about luxury, it’s about craft. “The usage of often cheap, “trash” materials in contrast with more refined fabrics and techniques came naturally to me. Dozens of beer bottles – actually sourced after an 1 Granary event in Paris – were cleaned, crushed and then transformed into an opulent and abstract floral embroidery done by the Italian company Rilievi.” It isn’t just sustainability that interests the young designer, by using non-traditional fabrics, he makes “transgression beautiful.” “This handling of material with authentic age-old techniques – all done under the context of personal queer identity – for me, reject the drab conformity imposed by society. It reshapes and reinforces the main condition for queerness: that it is done by us, for us.”

Mahmood Al Safi

Mahmood Al Safu’s collection, titled “Karaoke Culture”, is a tribute to fashion’s transformative power. The inspiration source is reflected in a multitude of ways. If, on one hand, his collection is filled with indistinctively blended references from the last five decades, on the other it’s also oddly specific. Citing Joseph Beuys’s felt suit from 1970 as an important reference point, the Iraquian designer takes interest in the proportions that contribute to its “deliberate awkwardness.” To Al Safi, distortion is the name of the game. “I found inspiration in the construction of a paper delivery bag—an ever-present yet often overlooked everyday item.” Through the use of unlikely materials, such as paper, vinyl, old VHS tape, old telephone cables, the designer debuts an idiosyncratic aesthetic.

Younes Benbousselham 

Drawing inspiration from childhood experiences of bullying and the impact of societal labels, “Mommy Am I a Monster?” is a bold exploration of conformity and individuality. Influenced by French folklore and Japanese surrealism, Younes Benbousselham’s work captures the pain of metamorphosis. The garments range from strict tailoring reminiscent of Japanese school uniforms to raw bias-cut gowns that cascade like shedding skin. “A prim 50s-style skirt suit morphs into hulking proportions with matted fur, evoking images of fairy-tale monsters,” describes the designer. Looking to capture the moment mid-metamorphosis, the French designer creates exquisite pieces, like a sumptuous feather coat handpainted with resin that symbolizes the “ struggle to resist transformation and the glory of accepting what you are.”

Cécile Bousselat

Cécile Bousselat’s collection, titled “La Mue”, is a careful consideration of how womanhood changes with time. Inspired by the process of reptilians shedding their old skin as they grow, the French designer portrays what it’s like to “keep living with the fear of growing older.” The cutting and silhouettes of the pieces are influenced by the constrictions of snakes, creating a sense of strangeness and intrigue. While challenging conventional beauty standards, Bousselat shows off her technical prowess. “Froissages and “plissages” are techniques she uses not only to convey the notion of snakeskin but to preserve “know-hows that are getting lost in time.”

Yannis Francillon

In Yannis Francilion’s world, the normal is abnormal. Trousers are shirts. Shirts are dresses. Blankets become raincoats. Titled “La Dégaine,” his graduate collection reinvents the everyday to make it peculiar. “The collection is worn and worn out, sometimes even consumed. Imperfection becomes perfection, with misplaced pockets creating tension and drape, traces of wear, unraveled hems at the bottom of sleeves.” Individuality is elevated as the ultimate expression of the self. Expert at the art of transmuting, Francillon makes tailoring a synonym for workwear. In his words, “the mannequins embody a look and « une dégaine » so singular, a symbol of individuality and personal expression.”

Enrico De Marchi

In Enrico De Marchi’s collection, life imitates art. The Italian designer builds parallel to his journey, taking inspiration from Italian cowboy communities that move from one territory to another to care for their herds. Titled “Transumanza,” the collection is a visual representation of the designer’s journey. “I saw in this process my personal experience of moving from rural Tuscany to the metropolis of Paris.” By “hybridizing the Butteri culture with that of the Parisian businessman,” De Marchi creates an idiosyncratic visual language. Classic tailored business suits twist to “echo the pose of a person on horseback.” Utilitarian leg covers transform into “flamboyant chaps,” “cowboy duster coats” into “refined raincoats.” Deadstock leather and Mongolian sheep hides give a Western twist to utilitarian accessories, such as backpacks and laptop cases.

Filippa Geslin

“Inspired by my aunt, a pastor in Denmark, contemporary Protestant mentality and Danish Christian art, my collection celebrates craft as meditation, a prayer for our society.” Filippa Geslin is distinctively aware of her references. “Réincarner” transubstantiates humble materials into precious works of art. “Leftover scraps of calico are made precious by their manipulation and shape abstract forms that create a secret garden and an ode to femininity. Religious robes become papery gowns. Fragments of discarded garments reincarnate as shimmering knitwear.” Geslin makes a point to mention her collection as a collective effort. “A monumental paper collar by Eva V. N. Krause-Jensen, abstract waves of silver by Amalie Grauengaard, and loom-woven human hair by Antonin Mongin celebrate the sharing of knowledge and the sensibility to craftsmanship, creating a feeling of community.”

Ruben Arnaldo Gollin

“I don’t care about standards and rules. I am proposing a new contemporary uniform where the wearer’s silhouette becomes indistinguishable and exaggerated: broader shoulders, tighter waists, and pushed-out hips.” Ruben Arnaldo Gollin is an iconoclast. By playing into archetypes, the Swiss-Italian designer subverts them, creating clothing that doesn’t just break gender norms but ridicules them. “I am always interested in twisting the true understanding of what men’s or women’s garments can or should be, redefining and criticizing the line between masculinity and femininity while also enhancing both stereotypes.” Through his hands, “historical military attire is hybridized, ridiculed, and rendered contemporary through denim,” while basics are “playfully and questioningly distorted.”

Seo Yeon Kim 

“Can clothing and art mentally protect and liberate us?” Seo Yeon Kim’s collection stems from a heartbreaking question. Inspired by 1900s mental hospitals, the young designer explores the tensions between creativity and uniform. “Growing up in South Korea, I keenly felt the sociopathological phenomenon of how my peers were forced to follow ‘normal’ and ‘stable’ careers apart from their own dreams and creativities.” “Phantom Pain” is born out of the realization that “people keep living on with missing their self-recognition, identity, and creativity, still feeling the pain of their absence.” Carefully considering her reference points, Kim takes bug duvet pieces and rips them, fashioning them into dresses. With a background in Sociology, the designer’s collection is a cerebral consideration of “how individuals are powerless against social norms by revealing the mechanism under the garment.”


Victor Klijsen

“‘Mes Femmes’ is a tribute to my women.” Victor Klijsen looks to the female figures in his world to create his graduate collection. The young designer lists his muses. “Annette, the glamorous mom in the schoolyard, Esther, my primary schoolteacher, my younger self playing dress up, and my mother.” Klijsen distances himself from the male gaze. His collection isn’t a depiction of women through the eyes of a man. It’s a narrative that surrounds the designer’s own “story regarding gender and sexuality.” Inspired by 90s Dutch glamour, he equates tackiness with elegance. The shoulders are bold. The waists are waspy. The hips are bulging. “Mes Femmes” stands as an ode to female empowerment through the lens of a passive admirer.

Hyung Taek Kim 

Exploring reality in the digital age, Hyung Taek Kim’s graduate collection is an intriguing look into the complexity of our worldview. “Our understanding of reality is shaped by the consumption of digital images, which inevitably undergo distortion through factors like lens and perspective.” Titled “Distorted Representation”, his collection isn’t a critique of our new reality, it’s instead the start of a thought-provoking conversation. “These distortions form a new reality for us, blurring the lines between natural and artificial, and challenging traditional notions.” His message is conveyed through garments like the glitch top or an elongated jacket that blurs the lines between coat and jacket. Through the use of puzzling prints and hypnotic grids, the young designer encourages us to doubt our own eyes. “This is an invitation to reconsider our view towards the world surrounding us.”

Louise Le Borgne De La Tour

Inspired by the timeless guardians of the urban landscape, “Skyline Purgatory” is projected from the gargoyles that sit atop the American metropolis. The collection unfolds a narrative of observation, blur and transformation. “People merge with buildings and buildings merge with people; everything is blurred. My collection is an in-between. Towers are in construction, standing tall, and collapsing. Garments built directly on the stockman with no base pattern, a blank page in three dimensions, contrast with precise tailored constructions.” Drawing from the chaotic energy of junk space, materials are selected with deliberate irony. Luxurious cashmere, silks, and exotic skins sourced from deadstock are used as a “satire for satyrs.” The end goal? The result aims for a cynical seriousness.


Qianhan Liu

“Lull: The Sleep Temple” is “about healing. A journey of understanding. A philosophy of peace, sobriety and equality. A utopian lifestyle. A yearning for wellness.” Qianhan Liu conveys a message that escapes the realm of fashion. The young designer masterfully blends two seemingly antagonistic aesthetics. Her graduate collection “draws parallels between two unreachable, overmarketed nirvana of stereotypical Eastern oneness: the generous tailoring of one piece cut, easy jersey and chunky knitwear of East Coast preppy style and the drapery of natural textures of the East Asian temple tradition.” Through her idiosyncratic aesthetic language, “t-shirts and coats twist like knotted robes, recycled leather is printed and treated to become aged wood, and thousands of fallen leaves (each one laser-cut from leather offcuts, singed and stitched by hand) to envelop an oversized sweater.”