Representing the creative future

London College of Fashion MA 2022: Design beyond clothes

All you need to know about this year’s LCF MA graduates

With the news of Maximilian Davis being appointed Ferragamo’s new creative director, it is a great time to be an LCF graduate. Just like the British Trinidadian designer a few years back, the latest batch of graduates presented their final collections in the college’s MA 2022 show at London Fashion Week.

This year, one got a taste of what fashion can be. While clothing was still prevalent, the accessories did take centre stage – quite literally in the case of Youjia Sun’s eyewear – and often stole the show, with attendees quickly holding up their smartphones to click a picture. MA Fashion Artefact definitely lived up to its name, yet still leaving plenty of room for Footwear and Fashion Design Technology.

Digital presentations are getting rarer, especially with in-person shows back on the schedule, but LCF’s video feels zeitgeisty. The format is reminiscent of early 2000s’ video games with models spinning on a pedestal, providing us with a 360 as if we are about to choose our fighter for a battle. With a futuristic tune in the background and zoomed-in cuts to shoes displayed as sculptures, it’s giving MoMA exhibition meets Y2K gaming world.

The concept of the show was straightforward, giving each graduate a clean and open space to show off their respective work. The layered unicolour looks, mostly in white and crème, that opened the show were contrasted with colourful explosions towards the end. Dirk Vaessen’s footwear creations had models shuffling back and forth and taking social media by storm, with some users dropping one or the other Yeezy reference.

Shiqi Zhou’s quilted jackets and skirts are experimental, reminiscent of the latest Moncler collaborations, and Licong Gong surely left an impression with his inside-out coats that go from generously blocked colours to tight geometric print. Outerwear and utilitarian elements such as large pockets, zippers and belts are a clear trend for this year’s batch, visible in Yu You’s, Shuhan Zhou’s and Xuejin Liu’s collections.

Before giving an insight into LCF’s full 2022 line-up, accessories deserve a mention. A portable blonde ponytail, a materialised migraine as well as wearable vegetation were standout pieces, yet Yicheng Fan’s fascinators brought a traditional piece of headwear we rarely ever see anymore back onto the runway.

Read on to discover the MA Fashion 2022 London College of Fashion graduates.


For his collection ‘Who Controls Whom’, the Chinese designer heavily relied on 3D methods to bring his ideas to life. His research revolves around the balance between one’s digital and physical personality, given we are all somewhat pressured by the ever-expanding world around us. Zhenwei Wang aims “to create a timeless Utopia for people who are stressed.” His plan for the future is to start his own brand to help build a new fashion system.


Mikel Lazkano describes himself as a technical designer. He wants his work “to resonate on a quiet, deep level”, really putting the focus on simplicity and traditional craftsmanship. ‘BENEATH’ presents menswear at the intersection of tailoring, leisurewear, and sustainability, using re-purposed fibres, overstock as well as donations. “There can be a lot of pressure when producing a viral social media statement. At times, it can feel more relevant than the actual design of the garments. It was a defining moment for me when I came to realize that online is not where my work belongs. I should and want to focus on detailing and silent longevity instead.”


Originally from the Netherlands and educated at the Dutch Shoe Academy in Utrecht, Dirk Vaessen’s collection is centred around his alter ego BRAVE HENDRIK. Living in 2050 where everyone looks alike, Hendrik is striving for autonomy. His footwear combines technology and nature as construction and detail meet bone-like colours and organic materials. The designer says that he is “inspired by humans as his canvas”, mentioning Peter Popps and Leonardo da Vinci as personal heroes.

London College of Fashion Victoria House, London Feb 2022
London College of Fashion Victoria House, London Feb 2022
London College of Fashion Victoria House, London Feb 2022
London College of Fashion Victoria House, London Feb 2022
London College of Fashion Victoria House, London Feb 2022
London College of Fashion Victoria House, London Feb 2022
London College of Fashion Victoria House, London Feb 2022


‘Concealable Zone’ explores how the ratio between fabric and skin on the body alters how a person is perceived. Heyun Pan skilfully decomposed and reorganised garment structures, even mimicking the structure of human muscles, to create menswear that works in complete tandem with the body. “This project forced me to break through the boundaries of traditional garment production,” he says. “I hope that design is not only a means of making a living, but also a way to create dazzling moments throughout my life.”


“I have always been between two worlds of fashion design. One is the world of producing garments and the other is one of fine art, such as installations, videos, or objects,” shares Slovakian designer Adela Babinska. Her collection is a way to “prolong the present moment”. This is achieved by the means of a jacket, whose construction is distributed amongst six looks, turning the experience of the finished piece into a long journey. Adela is also the winner of the British Fashion Council x British Library Research Design Competition 2021.


The Chinese designer is adamant on building her own aesthetic that is rooted in multiculturalism. Her work reflects her personal experience of different nationalities and cultures and while remaining untitled, she self-described it in a myriad of words ranging from ‘confused’, ‘struggle’ to ‘unfamiliar’. “A while back, I have started my own fashion design brand with my BA classmate, which will launch its first season in Shanghai in April. It’s called MOLE’NERATION,” she shares. “Our aim is to do something for the protection of our culture, and we will look to collaborate with diverse artists to establish our own labelling group.”


‘ARMED WITH SOFTNESS’ is probably the most experimental yet personal collection of this year’s batch. Inspired by Shiqi Zhou’s time of accompanying her mother to breast cancer treatments, the designs are rooted in a traditional Chinese philosophy – fighting hardness with softness. The sharp structure of her pieces represent struggling, while the padding is the counteracting softness. The orange strings wrapped around the looks stand for infinite vitality, adding a true sartorial touch of hope.


Describing her style as “violence aesthetics”, Jing Qian is all about rough details. Her collection ‘HOMO SAPIENS’ deals with the relationship between control and compulsion, investigating what it is that makes people self-conscious. When it comes to her shoe design, she ditches the rational human component and focuses on more primal aspects. The heel is based on a 3D model of human as well as animal teeth, which, according to the designer herself, makes the collection “more unified and complete”.


‘WASTE IS A MISPLACED RESOURCE’ – the title of Liyi Chen’s graduate collection says it all. Her work is all about repurposing the plastic we all produce as part of our daily lives. With the help of various heating, melting and pressure techniques, the Chinese designer turns former waste into contemporary accessories. Her inspirations include designer James Shaw and artist Thirza Schaap, who both raise awareness about pollution caused by the use of plastic.


Yanni Fan’s designs revolved around a theme that fascinates the entirety of humanity – the relationship between dreams and the real world. She chose eyewear as an outlet to express her ideas since its placement on the head “is intended to echo the blurred lines of reality while we are within a dream state.” A focal symbol in ‘MAPPING THE UNCONSCIOUS’ is the butterfly, which is often regarded as a signifier for self-awareness and the human self or soul.

London College of Fashion Victoria House, London Feb 2022


‘Green Blood’ explores the relationship between botanics and humans in the form of six wearable and non-wearable pieces made out of wool, leather, and resin with a brass wire body and high-density modelling foam. Ziwei Liang’s creations feel more like sculptures than fashionable accessories. Worn, they create this illusion of being an extension of the body. Their work is forward-thinking by exploring the idea of a future where plants have a collective consciousness.


London College of Fashion Victoria House, London Feb 2022


Inspired by her personal experience of struggling with intense migraines, Yaxin Liu’s collection ‘Aura’ is an assortment of wearable fashion artefacts which materialise the flowing colours and illusionary patterns the designer has to endure during episodes. Silk threads are carefully wrapped around soft rattan, creating the effect of seeing the world through a hazy gaze. The pieces are worn surrounding the head and upper body, the areas where she experiences pain.



For jewellery designer Runlin Song, preserving and fostering her home country’s traditions, art and culture is of high importance. Chinese calligraphy runs in her family, with Runlin’s father and grandfather teaching her early on in life. What started as an interest in her family’s past and a fascination for beautiful patterns turned into the foundation of her design today. Through the brush as a medium, her work explores “different possibilities of writing postures directed by various body parts.”

London College of Fashion Victoria House, London Feb 2022


‘See it behind the screen’ deals with the use and potential risks of social media in our world today. Youjia Sun, an accessories designer from China, mainly uses metal, acrylic, and glass to create eyewear, headpieces as well as rings. Her final collection consists of “funny and witty eyewear” that is supposed to remind the wearer that social media, just like cameras or binoculars, is a tool that makes us see the world in a certain way.



A truly interdisciplinary designer, Constanze Bachmann creates haptic fashion-based experiences by uniting sustainability, sociology, music, technology, and science into her practice. ‘NO WEAR | Synaesthetic Sleeves’, presented through performance or installation and even available as an NFT-illustration, has the wearer feel physicalness on and below the surface of their skin with the help of sound and cross-sensory associations.


With a particular interest in art therapy, it comes as no surprise that Xueying Liu’s soft inflatable fashion artefacts are a remedy for mental distress. Meant to provide “a self-soothing and cathartic experience for the wearer to encourage emotions and reduce anxiety”, her collection can be seen as a source of comfort and relaxation to the wearer made from PVC, PU and sheepskin.

London College of Fashion Victoria House, London Feb 2022


‘Jam on the Train’ is about an everyday issue we all have experienced at least once – rush hour on the train. Ka Kit Zhang was inspired by this hectic time in which passengers find themselves almost stuck between one another trying to reach their destination. The designs are meant to be a physical boundary, enhancing one’s well-being by avoiding unwanted intimate contact.

London College of Fashion Victoria House, London Feb 2022


“With my final collection, I intend to interpret the menswear craftsmanship by the form of creative bespoke,” says Yicheng Fan. His final collection ‘Metamorphosis’ is based on Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s botanical studies, resulting in “poetic, romantic, and elegant menswear”. The designer’s speciality lies in menswear tailoring, especially sewing and pattern cutting. Nevertheless, he also dipped into the world of headwear by collaborating with Katherine Elizabeth Millinery.


Yu You describes herself as a storyteller rather than a designer. Her collection titled ‘The Shape of the Wind’ is another personal project, dealing with the integration of first- and second-generation Chinese communities in Western contexts, especially Spain, where she herself grew up. “I always involuntarily add some cultural discussions and integrate my own cultural heritage into my designs,” she shares. Many elements of her garments are wind-related, representing the separation, the loss and the loneliness people experience when leaving their home country.


‘STRETCH CUT’ is Xu Zhang’s idea of a new kind of menswear. By involving bionics, mathematics and kirigami, a variation of origami, he aims to highlight movement above anything else. For the future, he already has some concrete plans. “I want to start a brand which would embrace the combination of masculine tailoring and futurism by softening the silhouette using laser cutting regular patterns – giving the wearer the flexibility and freedom of movement.”


Hong Zhao’s work tells the stories of the Chinese working class. Having grown up in a working class family herself, she decided to centre her graduate collection around Chinese fishermen to “celebrate their incredible dedication and contribution as well as positivity”. Her pieces are vastly colourful with an assortment of flowers, dirt, handwriting and city skylines layered on top of one another creating a unique print. 1990s Chinese style meets graphic design and kitsch.



Chao Sun’s goal is to create a new order in menswear. ‘Entopy’ is his attempt at redefining traditional menswear by incorporating a variety of folds as well as contrasts between solid fabrics and complex structures. As a scientific concept, entropy describes a state of disorder and randomness. The Chinese designer’s work, however, feels anything but random.


‘MAN IN THE MIRROR’ is “intended to show how skateboarders express their identity through clothing” and is based on sociologist Horton’s theory that people shape by their self-image through clothing. Needless to say, Xuejin Liu’s collecting is inspired by the skater subculture, but behind the specific theme lies the designer’s belief that we all are more than what we wear. Her goal is for clothing to be freed of traditional thinking patterns and open to independent ideas.


Liocng Gong’s designs are based on research he has done in the fields of printing innovation and traditional menswear. His graduate collection ‘ESPACÉES’ uses colourful print to express emotions and humour, especially halftone – a reprographic technique which stimulates continuous tone imagery using shapes in order to form both patterns and silhouettes. His tailoring can be seen as wearable optical illusions, where dots and triangles are superimposed over one another.


Exploring and working with her own identity and background, Indian native Rhea Sonawane believes in breaking barriers and pushing boundaries. Her collection titled ‘des/CENDANTS’ combines pre-colonial Indian garments with zero-waste techniques and a gender-inclusive approach. Inspired by an image of the Jamali-Kamali mosque where deities and followers “embrace masculinity and femininity in one being to create a divine whole”, she made use of a traditional way of draping a rectangular piece of fabric around the body, resulting in a garment accessible to all regardless of gender.


Based in London but originally from China, Shijie Xu’s final collection ‘hélices – Helicalist Aesthetics’ is influenced by three elements – print, space and helix continuity. By applying helical lines to his pieces, he is able to frame the body, creating a cutting method which feels “very orderly and uncluttered”. Colour plays an important role in his collection, as it aids the construction of the garment, besides also bringing a new versatility and wearability to menswear.


Chinese dance culture forms the base of Chinese designer Lokikey. ‘Mutation’ uses materials such as cotton jersey, wool, as well as a special embroidery in a silk-fur texture to highlight the animalistic component of Chinese folk dance. Her looks reference costumes of dancers, uniforms and daily wardrobe, all infused with the idea of tension which is expressed by the use of clip systems and strings which create various drapes and lengths.



Yulong Xia’s work may appear very clean cut at first, but the research and inspiration behind his designs is far more complex. ‘Behind the Hidden’ explores “the relationship between concave and convex spaces to create complex cyclic patterns”. Having been featured in Vogue Italia and Schön!, each of  the designer’s pieces represent a curved totem, acting as both a metaphor and a symbol. Using three-dimensional embossing relief technology, lines on the garment surface are created, giving them a particularly structured feel.


Spanish native Elena Gonzales is all about the future. Focussing on sustainability and innovative technologies, the designer is committed to doing her part to transform the industry by leading it towards a “(r)evolution”. Her graduate collection ‘Sound/Expansion’ explores music and sounds as a base and driver for design, with Elena experimenting with invisible and auditory stimuli. The result are garments that look streamlined yet voluminous.