Representing the creative future

Central Saint Martins White Show 2022: Shedding light on the process

Discover the sketchbooks, thoughts and techniques that go into creating the White Show

On Thursday, 140 first-year fashion students sent their designs down the runway; for some, it’s the first time their work has been shown on such a large and public setting, and for past students, it’s been one of their breakthrough moments where they’ve established themselves as ones to watch. The show marked the long-awaited return of the White project’s physical showcase which celebrates not only the end of the project but also the end of the students’ first term as undergraduates at Central Saint Martins.

One of CSM’s longest-running projects was first introduced over 20 years ago when the college still called its original Charing Cross Road campus home. The White Show brings together the five fashion design pathways, challenging them to develop a concept and create a single garment using only white calico or felt fabric. The void of colour, patterns, and embellishment helps the students focus on design research and push the limits of silhouette, texture, and construction.

The project not only platforms the work of young design students but also fosters cross-disciplinary collaboration between the design and fashion communication and promotion (FCP) students, whose job is to develop the concept of the show, which over the years has been inspired by abstract ideas ranging from factories and banks to black Friday shopping malls and philosophical treaties. The FCP students are entrusted with the digital promotion of the show; from social media to a fully formed digital platform documenting each designers’ work, along with managing the production of the actual show; down to the running order, music, hair & make-up, and throwing the all-important after-party.

Created through collaboration, the White Show is seen by many as the moment where students begin to find their place within the fashion industry; their debut as designers. The emphasis placed on process and construction for many students is the catalyst for the creation of their aesthetic and signature as creatives, and for the FCPs, it’s a look behind the curtain at the inner workings of a runway show.

Dubbed the Light Show, this year’s concept took inspiration from last year’s digital show, expanding on the themes to both illuminate and deconstruct the inner workings of a designer’s process. The show this year was materialised in three parts: a runway, a pre-show exhibition, and an interactive digital space featuring 3D scans of garments, all of which were overseen by FCP students. “If I had to pinpoint the inspiration behind this year’s White Show, I think it stems from the desire to explore process,” says Moritz Ryser, a first-year FCP student and one of the show’s organisers. “The refraction of light into different colours was a visual metaphor which exemplified the many aspects of which the final garments are comprised.”

We interviewed a selection of BA Fashion Design and Fashion Communication students to delve deeper into their process, and unpack the wide array of aesthetics, specialties, and techniques seen on last week’s runway.

Eloise Sayles, Knitwear

I currently study fashion design at Parsons School of Design in NYC but came to CSM for the term to study abroad. My look draws inspiration from royal love. I specifically looked into 16th-17th century King and Queens and noticed how much of their love was based on class and status rather than truly loving the person they are married to. I pulled from design elements in the 16th century including ruffs, using them as a symbol throughout my garment. Not only that, but I drew inspiration from their wide billowing skirts and created a billowing short attached to my ruffled bodice. One of the most challenging parts of using white during this project was trying not to stain the white fabric because it picked up anything and everything it could possibly hold on to.

Being able to have a physical show was such an amazing experience and I feel it is necessary for us students to feel seen within our projects by having us showcase our garments physically. It also gives us the opportunity to get a glimpse of what it is like or what it will be like to potentially have our own fashion shows in the future. Seeing garments in real life gives us a certain feeling that we can’t truly get online.

Myah Hasbany, FDM

I’m from Dallas, Texas, also known as the land of all things unholy. It’s been interesting seeing the reaction of people when I tell them where I’m from, as I’m the opposite of a proper southern gal. In many ways, I think it was a blessing in disguise to be from a place so devoid of culture and industry access. It pushed me to make a major leap to a different country and the fact that there was nothing to do meant that I was essentially forced to work on my craft to keep myself entertained.

I wanted to look at the idea of generational trauma and how behaviours can be passed down from woman to woman. Despite the huge differences in lifestyle, time period, and attitudes about the world, all the women in my family seem to be attracted to the same type of people and in general, these people are narcissists. As I have gotten older, I have recognized this same pattern in myself and have felt very disillusioned in my search for a romantic partner. If my inevitable fate is being married to a narcissist, why get married or fall in love at all? My solution to this problem is to marry myself. This way, I can never put myself into a position of being in an unequal relationship, plus I’m a catch!

With all this in mind, I went with my gut and continued on with the idea of getting married to myself. But this meant I needed the perfect wedding dress and I wanted it to represent the fortress I have built around myself to keep the narcissists away. The FCP students chose me to close the show. I think it was a great way to honour the industry tradition of having a bride as the final look.

Grace Andrews, Menswear

The theme of Lovers was the inspiration behind my final garment. Looking into the sometimes-blurry differentiations between comfort and suffocation when you’re in a relationship. My aim for my final look was to highlight this concept by having the garment be viewed as something padded and comforting, but at the same time overwhelming and restrictive. When researching this theme, I ended up looking at knots, restraint jackets, ski wear, and sofas. Before this, I had never created a garment from scratch from one of my own designs. The process of going from sketch to toile to pattern cutting to toile over and over again was new but also very exciting to me.

“Garments can be widely shared through a digital world; however, it is only when you are up close to these clothes that you appreciate every seam line, button, and pocket placement. ” – Grace Andrews

Only being able to use white fabric enabled me to think more about the detail and the texture within my piece, as colour could not be used to communicate emotion. This meant deeper consideration about silhouette and texture was needed, challenging everyone working on the project to try and effectively communicate their research and themes.

Having Fashion Communication students be in control of the final presentation of everybody’s garment was stressful, to say the least. After working for weeks on a garment solely based around a world and aesthetic you have created, I think most designers were scared about handing the final reveal over to the FC students.  But in the end, having a physical show was amazing! Finally seeing your hard work be celebrated and shared by other creatives is what the industry is all about. Garments can be widely shared through a digital world; however, it is only when you are up close to these clothes that you appreciate every seam line, button, and pocket placement.

Hannah Dixey, Print

The inspiration behind my look was to create this regal ornate historical character, that then ‘FELL IN A BUSH’ and they got back out again still looking stunning but slightly dishevelled. One of my key areas of research was going to Hyde Park and collecting some bits of a bush, to create textural observations. I feel now in my work, I have a strong connection to historical referencing when it comes to silhouette. The National Gallery is a place I always find myself going to for inspiration, I can spend hours looking at paintings by Jan Steen, Ferdinand Bol and Diego Velazquez.

“The white project has allowed me to understand how to construct garments, how to never limit myself because somehow, I can make whatever I want.” – Hannah Dixey

The limitations of the colour white to a print student are always a challenge; lots of us think about print as much as we think about silhouette; I love colour, so this was tricky to start with. I knew that the way I wanted to try and express some form of print was through texture. Each textural sample on the garment was made by hand, I wanted to make sure I was using every single piece of the fabric. I ended up having no waste at all. The white project has allowed me to understand how to construct garments, how to never limit myself because somehow, I can make whatever I want.

A question I asked myself a lot throughout Covid was if we do need to see fashion in real life. At the start I was thinking no because I enjoyed how the online shows made me feel so included in a world I longed to be a part of. But the energy of a physical show is something I think you miss from an online space. Seeing others interact with my work is one of the many reasons I love what I do.

Oliver Jeanes, FDM 

I’m Oliver, also known as The Rockstar King. My look started from the sob story that is my life as a singleton, living in a house full of couples. So I decided to Frankenstein myself the ‘perfect boyfriend’. Furries are a big love of mine so I knew they needed to come into it somehow. After uncovering some brilliant photos from Russian dating profiles, I worked with the idea of my own matchmaking tool – A place where I could explore the different tribes of people I wanted to sleep with. Imagine a super-hung, steroid injected, Eastern European gentleman who goes to the odd furry convention in his free time. In terms of my visual process, I tend to look at bad stock images and documentary photos so it kind of just evolved from there!

“Fashion should be self-indulgent and that’s exactly what shows are for.” – Oliver Jeanes

Working with only white is a fucking pain in the arse. First of all, it’s impossible to keep clean – especially the suede. Carrying it around in an open IKEA bag on the Victoria line was my first mistake. I managed to scuff the jacket with something two days before the crit. That being said, the fabric itself I actually quite enjoyed working with, and as my look was quite tailored it lent itself well structurally. I also developed a new love for topstitching.

Having a physical show was amazing, modelling for myself however was a little less so. We were under the impression the show would just be tutors and the designers but when I walked out the whole of CSM was packed. That said, once I walked out with my ‘ who wants a fling with the Rockstar King’ sign it was awesome. I also heard somebody ask who the Rockstar King was as I came off the runway which was pretty epic. IRL shows are a must though! Fashion should be self-indulgent and that’s exactly what shows are for. J’adore!

Timi Shasanya, Menswear 

My white show titled Black Boy’s Cry focuses on modern-day slavery and child labour in Lagos, Nigeria which is where I’m from. My looks are inspired by the trauma and long terms effects of young children working in abusive homes with references to the punishments they endure. Also, household materials used to clean which are also used to beat them; brooms, slippers, buckets. I got this CD player near Tottenham around the start of my project and I bought the Fela Kuti/Ginger Baker live cd so that’s mostly what I’ve been listening to on repeat as I’ve been working. Particularly the song Black Man’s Cry which influenced the title of this project.

I was heavily influenced by a house boy I knew in my time back home, and his story growing up as a maid, particularly for my first look. It highlights how he had the privilege of attending school unlike those who were bound at home with unending chores and abuse from their ogas – guardian or boss.

My second look, the broom stitched top piece and draped 3/4 trousers emphasises that trauma and pain particularly because the wearer become bound into one piece when they slip it on, and the broomsticks warp around their back to indicate the pain inflicted on them. I am so glad we were able to have a physical show. I think it’s so vital to see what people have made in person because you can understand their concept even more. With my piece, to be able to see my two models walk side by side really emphasises the story and emotions I was trying to build.

Charlotte Rochester, Womenswear

My garment “Celestial Love” was inspired by the various beliefs that our fate is written In the stars and ultimately leads us to our soul mate. My project was heavily influenced by my favourite painting Twin Stars by Luis Falero. I personally loved working with white fabric, it encouraged me to experiment a lot more with silhouettes and textures. Sometimes lots of pattern and colour can be quite overwhelming to work with so just stripping it back and focusing more on the detail has been refreshing.

My design development has progressed a lot throughout this project as I’ve had to adapt and work a lot faster than I’m used to. From the outside my garment looks relatively simple however the structure underneath took a while to construct and make possible. Working alongside FCP students was really insightful. Up until now I’ve always styled and photographed my own work so letting someone else have control is slightly daunting, I’ve learnt that they really do know what they’re doing so it’s important to trust their vision too.

I’m really grateful we were able to have a live show this year because it’s nearly impossible to capture the essence of a garment in only digital formats. The stars on my piece are completely hand embroidered with crystals and therefore it looks much better in real life where they can fully catch the light.

Luke Hemingway, FDM

I was responding to the ‘Your Thoughts on Art’ prompt, my thoughts, being no thoughts at all. I had this idea for a cave descent into desensitisation to art, with a fictional cave full of bad art that has essentially numbed and trapped the spelunker or cave divers – vaguely inspired by the 2005 horror film The Descent. I looked at tons of art I hated but got very fixated on Damien Hirst’s art which I absolutely despise. There’s actually a Damien Hirst signed Coke can fossilised inside the look.

My design process was quite pared back in comparison to my past projects, I initially looked at spelunkers and caves to get a general idea of what garment I would start with, then I would look at a bad artist or art form and respond to it through illustration or fabric samples, be it the vast amounts of dreadful Basquiat collabs or overly cerebral art that takes it’s self-way too seriously.

“At first, the FCP’s decision to use coloured lighting was controversial, as white was integral to the design.” – Luke Hemingway

I loved the idea of making a look that was desperately monotone, I wanted the look to give as much depth to the white as possible so I spent a large amount of time making textile samples using paint, clay, expanding foam, and hundreds of meters of shock cord. At first, the FCP’s decision to use coloured lighting was controversial, as white was integral to the design. But I think they were aware of that concern and made an effort to understand our designs and show them in the most interesting way.

Marshall James, Menswear

My look is an introspection into my experience being both Black and White. Being biracial, people will see me as less Black due to my whiteness, and while I still identify as a Black male, I find myself placed in a whole separate category – not black, not white, just somewhere in between. My garment explores this space in between.

“In a predominantly white institution, such as CSM, working with the predominantly white students on a project about blackness was difficult. ” – Marshaall James

In a predominantly white institution, such as CSM, working with the predominantly white students on a project about blackness was difficult. There were moments where I felt like my story and the design element that I put into the garment wouldn’t be conveyed accurately if presented by a group of mostly white students. In the end, with some collaboration and conversation, the images looked beautiful, and I was quite happy with the outcome.

I think only being able to work with a white garment helped me to explore silhouettes more than I would have in the past. It also presented me with the challenge of combating whiteness with whiteness. I was forced to find a way to use white fabric to effectively display my own decaying whiteness. I think my model for the show – Elliot was the absolute perfect person I could ever imagine to wear that garment. His presence, his composure, and his gentleness were exactly what I wanted.

This time next year, I’d like to have an instantly recognizable aesthetic, so that when people see my work, there’s no question that it’s by Marshall James.

Charlie Deakin, Knitwear 

For my white showpiece, I looked at escapism through art and how the perceived world is equally as true as one that is created or fantasized about. I found inspiration in the works of Henry Moore and abstract expressionism for my garment research. Colour and texture are naturally what I’m drawn to as a knit student, so to shift my focus onto form and silhouette was quite challenging so I pushed myself to investigate texture through fabric manipulation.

The energy that I usually put into choosing colours and textures I put into developing the form of my garment and constructing the final garment. My design process shifted when I began to consider a garment as a three-dimensional entity; considering all the angles and views of it and working out how to translate a two-dimensional design on paper to fabric.

It was really exciting to be a part of the show, both having my work showcased and modelling in it as well. It was kind of bittersweet, as it was over so fast but I also feel relieved that I was able to finish the project. A garment for me is like any three-dimensional object, I think that when you take a photo, video or create an online version it loses something – loses its realness, its honesty. It was also nice to let the FCP students take creative control of the photography, and it was interesting to get an insight into how other creative people work and operate.

Poppy Sendell, Womenswear 

I was a fine art scholar at Emanuel School, through to the sixth form. I definitely think my art background formed my sculptural and conceptual outlook on fashion. My project, Jo & The Giant, was inspired by a personal story from my Mum’s childhood; originally from Sheffield, she moved to Germany because my Grandad was posted there in the army. She felt overwhelmed by the move and torn between the two places. Her grandmother would send her sunflower seeds to remind her of home. I explored the childlike wonder of nurturing life, the idea of dwarfing the wearer, and the duality between the old folk tale ‘Jack & The Beanstalk’ and my Mum’s story.

It’s been a really interesting experience because we are all very much thrown in at the deep end as it’s our very first project at CSM.  Therefore, we are all learning on the job, but I think that is the beauty of every element of the White Show being produced by students and that’s why the outcome is so special. This was actually my first proper runway show and the day felt like a rush of energy, a whirlwind, and a blur but in the best way. I almost felt re-inspired by my garment, seeing it move and bounce along the runway.  I definitely think work takes on a new life in person that can’t quite be captured digitally.

Dariana Pintilii, Knitwear

My White Show look is based on Romanian traditions depicted from wedding dance rituals, which is where I’m from. From that, I encapsulated these references by adding a contemporary flair to my own traditional motifs and geometric shapes that inspired the overall silhouette of my final garment. I knew right away that the final look would be perfect for the type of person who unapologetically cherishes their culture and is not afraid to challenge others’ judgments, hence why I chose to have two models rotating from the same look during the crit day and the final show.

My process of creating is always changing, more so now than ever before. The tutors I have met during these past few months in my first year of Fashion Knit are always offering new perspectives on any ideas that are still developing in my sketchbook. This has helped tremendously with my process and has helped me realise my full potential. Working alongside Fashion Communication students also helped improve my communication skills drastically just by being able to observe how things work behind the scenes.

Although most fashion shows usually get more coverage and appreciation when they are shown via images on social media, I strongly believe that admiring the garments and seeing the designs in real life does not come even close to liking a picture. Besides living and breathing the atmosphere of such an energetic show, this event has historically showcased fresh ideas and talent and it still does not fail to do so every single year.

Cal Smith, FDM

I was inspired by vintage sportswear, military uniform, and aspects of couture garment production for my White Show look. I listened to Demna’s Playlist, Arca’s KICK ii, Janet Jackson’s “Would You Mind” whilst I worked. I don’t necessarily believe that the monochromatic aspects of the project were much of an issue. It challenged me as a designer to think about the core features of a garment: texture, silhouette, movement. The hardest aspect of this project was the limited materials we were provided.

“I’m not sure if it was the pressure for the show, the tutors, or external forces, but my design went through many modifications on the way.” – Cal Smith

Surprisingly, this project changed my process a lot. I’m typically quite confident with my work, quickly working out a production plan and sticking to it as closely as possible, but for some reason, the white show really threw me off. I’m not sure if it was the pressure for the show, the tutors, or external forces, but my design went through many modifications on the way. Even in the last few days, my process was evolving. I have yet to decide if that’s a good or bad thing.

The idea of having a show affected many of our final designs; one must consider how the garment walks, how it moves and interacts with the space, it really gives some interesting features to the design process. It’s honestly quite amazing, not only to be able to celebrate all the designers on such a scale, but I believe the whole idea of the big show as a solid deadline mixed with all the energy of the day really gave everyone such an intense and amazing experience.

Alona Cohen, Print

I wanted to create a walking game that would extend an invitation to collaborate. I looked at Jean Tinguely’s machines and Tim Hunkin’s arcade installations, I was inspired by their ways to poetically use mechanical tools. I wanted to repurpose these austere and unemotional automatic machines in the form of interaction. Parts of the garment are meant to detach so that they can be used by the wearer and spectator. The piece becomes a tool to connect people, to initiate discovery and partnership.

“It was inspiring to see how much everyone worked to produce this show. I was really trying to focus on what I was making but it added more pressure knowing how hard people were working to show our pieces.” – Agnes Cohen

I am very attached to colour, it’s a way to translate my emotions and a crucial aspect of my work, I felt lost without it at some points. My process evolved and changed due to the limitations. It was interesting to find new ways to implement drawings and prints without colour. I started using wires to draw and focused on developing shapes to create this piece, I also listened to a song called Elle Pleure en Hiver on loop.

It was inspiring to see how much everyone worked to produce this show. I was really trying to focus on what I was making but it added more pressure knowing how hard people were working to show our pieces. It was also really inspiring seeing everyone’s work physically, seeing how the garments moved and exist gives it a new dimension which I think is hard to translate digitally. We all feel very lucky to have a physical show this year.

Agnes Scheving, FCP

My main focus was putting the virtual space together but what I noticed even in the early stages of working on this year’s White Show; our first tutorials and crits, there was a collective awareness and urge to create something new and different from what’s been done previously.

“Before I started at CSM, I was hesitant to express my interest in fashion, I feel it’s often seen as superficial. ” – Agnes Scheving

Working on producing a fashion show has given me even greater respect for the industry. Before I started at CSM, I was hesitant to express my interest in fashion, I feel it’s often seen as superficial. But experiencing first-hand the amount of hard work, the different roles, jobs, and functions that go into creating a 20-minute show that often doesn’t get credited by the wider industry; it’s shown me that this industry requires hard work and dedication.

For the virtual space, we wanted to find a way to promote all the designers equally. Seeing the white show is not like a usual fashion show as it’s showcasing 140 individual pieces, so it was essential for us to promote each designer as an individual. Creating a visually interesting and interactive experience was our way of translating the show into a digital format. So we worked with new technology like 3D sculptures, which we did by mixing 3D scans of different garments to create an abstract representation of each pathway.

Sophie Richardson, FCP 

Our concept for the White Show 2021 arose when we started to consider the fact that white light is made up of all different colours of light. Consequently, we decided it would be interesting to introduce colour to the show. We wanted the show to be bright and fun in order to celebrate the return of the white show following the lack of a physical event last year due to the pandemic. We also looked at a theme of dissection and breaking down the design process to provide more insight into the narrative surrounding the garments.

“The process is stressful, but I think this kind of stress is motivational and helps people to create their best work. ” – Sophie Richardson

This project has made me realise how detailed and vigorous show production is. Every backup needs another backup. The process is stressful, but I think this kind of stress is motivational and helps people to create their best work.

Hannah Cohen, FCP

We all had different jobs within our group. I was focused mostly on creating digital content and digital spaces. This project would not have been possible without each other’s help, it was very intense but the whole process was so exciting. Our ideas all came together very well and we managed to create a website for the white show which showcased all of our personalities.

“It’s funny as until now I have never even thought of how many people work on a show and how much effort is put into something that on the outside runs so smoothly and lasts for 10 minutes. ” – Hannah Cohen

For the website we deliberately made the layout unstructured and messy, adding playful colours and making it interactive by having the garments on the website change shape when you are scrolling through it. We wanted to create an immersive and also memorable experience by adding 360-images. I want to continue creating more 3D work, I’d like to push the boundaries between digital and physical fashion so I plan on experimenting with that and creating more digital spaces, I’d love to get into NFT’s at some point in the future.

Creating the show was tough. It takes a long time to produce everything needed and then the whole show is over in a split second. It’s funny as until now I have never even thought of how many people work on a show and how much effort is put into something that on the outside runs so smoothly and lasts for 10 minutes. At certain times, especially towards our deadline it was very stressful and hectic as we didn’t have much time to pull everything off. In the end we got everything together which I am very happy and pleased about.

Tallulah Miles, FCP 

At the beginning of  the project, we were put into groups to create a proposal for the show, and two groups who had the strongest concepts were chosen to collaborate. The two concepts that stood out were very different but ended up complimenting each other really well. One group’s concept was about a white light going through a prism and causing refraction. The other group wanted to incorporate a museum and exhibitions element to the show that incorporated Greek influences. In the end, the aesthetic of the show was colour and coloured lighting and we got to have a pre-show exhibition to accompany the runway presentation.

“With most concepts it’s important to think big and then as practicalities like money, health and safety are introduced you start to become more realistic.” – Tallulah Miles

Because a digital iteration of the White Show hasn’t really been done before, we got to make a lot of our own rules and build a virtual world from scratch. With most concepts it’s important to think big and then as practicalities like money, health and safety are introduced you start to become more realistic, but I was so proud to see how much of the original concepts managed to stick within the show.

Jasmine Duncan, FDM  

My project ‘Faith and Madness’ starts by trying to answer the question ‘How can we distinguish, if at all, genuine religious belief from madness’. Trying to answer this question sent me down a rabbit hole of confusion since the topic of religion is so subjective and vast. The debates surrounding ‘right and wrong’ as well as ‘perspective and subjectivity’ have been woven into my design process, along with coming to terms with the impossibility of giving a definite answer. Creating an all-white garment was definitely a new experience for me since I’ve never done anything like this before. It’s challenging because you really have to focus on the structure of the garment to make it stand out as opposed to relying on colour. Within my garment, I wanted to reflect this chaotic nature using inspirations from different religions around the world and combining them in a clashing manner, with intertwining loops to mirror the confusion.

“This time next year, I see myself getting to know myself as a designer much better. ” – Jasmine Duncan

During this project, I’ve definitely had to learn how to streamline my research and development processes since this project moved so quicky. It’s shown me the pace I need to work at to keep up at CSM. This time next year, I see myself getting to know myself as a designer much better. Further exploring my style and way of working since I am only at the beginning of my fashion journey, there is so much learning and development yet to come.

Davide Passalacqua, FDM

For my white project look I was inspired by the personification of the morning star, which in Roman folklore and etymology is known as Lucifer. In the Christian Bible, Lucifer is popularly perceived as a fallen angel, who began as Lux Angel – the angel of light. This mythological figure often has been a source of inspiration for me and the basis of my research, because of my origins based on Christian traditions and my passion for Renaissance and religious art. It was both challenging and motivating for me to only be able to use white fabrics, as I’ve never worked like that before nor is it a colour I wear personally. Every other day I’ve been dressing in full black whilst working on this project and listening a lot to experimental musicians from the 90’ which I love.

For this project, I had high ambitions and I’ve been pretty successful. I created a total of 6-7 pieces that make up my look, including metal accessories and heels. It took me several days to practice hand bending metal rods and welding them together, to create the perfectly symmetric organic structures which formed hips, shoulders, and shoes for my look, as I wanted them to be reminiscent of wings and horns.

Jayden Tudor, Womenswear 

Following on from my summer project, I was looking at the idea of safe queer spaces and how they are in a constant state of transition as well as the bold visual presentation contrasted to the internal vulnerability I found in trans and queer people like myself. I wanted to create a silhouette that both revealed and encompassed the body to reflect that dynamic of the confidence and resilience we have as trans people against the way in which we can feel isolated and rejected from society at large. I find I’m mostly inspired by people and experiences, so through queer nightlife and styling with friends, I was able to connect references from my day-to-day life as well as surrealist and Bauhaus imagery.

The most challenging aspect of creating the garment was the logistics of creating a solid structure, and transferring a vision onto a physical form, having had very little experience in pattern cutting and sewing.

Matthew David Andrews, Womenswear 

My look is inspired by the fable: The milkmaid and her pail. The story is about a milkmaid who has to carry a pail of milk on her head, she dreams of all the luxurious things she will buy with the money she receives from the milk – lavish dresses which will lead to love and happiness. As she dreams of all of these desires the milk falls from her head and as do all of her dreams. My garment is meant to reflect the dress she could never have – as the milk cascades down her body to the floor.

The entire project was extremely fast and throws you in at the deep end. This is something that I personally love and it’s the best way to learn the pace we should all be working at. The entire process of creating the show was extremely eye-opening and enjoyable. I always enjoy collaborating with others. I think it is one of the most important factors in fashion.

Ze Ng, Knitwear  

The look was inspired by the life, actions and legacy of Genghis Khan. His brutal upbringing, savage demeanour and brilliance as a leader in war and governance. Having to work with only white and assigned fabrics, the freedom for me to showcase my ideas with colour and intricately knitted fabrics was more or less taken away from me. I had to look at the fabrics in which I was given and figure out methods in which I could make it work for me; pin tucking and embroidery. It wasn’t so much challenging as it was unfamiliar, and I truly have learnt a lot.

Watching the White Show online for years prior to being at CSM, it felt full circle finally being in it myself. Having the opportunity now to see our 140 garments in real life and virtually, I’m just as in awe of the work of my classmates.

Milana Pomarico, Knitwear  

The inspiration for my white show look was a non-binary housewife character, who was completely in love with Elvis Presley and cooking. Most of my characters are developed in my own over-exaggerated cartoon fantasy vision of what America looked like in the 1950s and 1960s. I love working with references to Americana and adding my own surrealist view on them. All my work is a general collection of me trying to represent the fantasy world I live in.

Otto Garrod, Print 

My project was heavily inspired by the book and later movie: Perfume, The Story of a Murderer. I wanted to amalgamate a seedy, skeletal-like character, who pries on seduction and emotive response from the audience. I started by collecting inanimate objects such as twigs, rocks, old bits of slate, and cutlery. I progressed by congealing and wrapping them in textural substances such as varnish, house paint, radiator paint, and wax, which were cheap and visceral materials I could get my hands on.

“Runways are seen as glamorous and a moment to reflect on the work you’ve created with a sense of joy.”  – Otto Garrod

To me, the colour white served as a blank canvas. Rules are rules but I can’t control the urges I feel when working on a garment, hence the red lippy and variations in shades throughout. For others, having the boundaries of an ‘all white’ look can be nurturing, for me, however, I couldn’t see the boundaries and gave it my own take. My attitude has always been working off of instinct and I believed I could interpret the concept of an ‘all white’ look whichever way I wanted.

Runways are seen as glamorous and a moment to reflect on the work you’ve created with a sense of joy. I didn’t feel those emotions towards the show, I was very content with it all despite the immensely hectic build-up. Prior to the show, I found myself telling my poor model the same crap every five minutes. Within the midst of seeing my own look in person for the 1000th time this week, I got to witness some garments from other individuals which was a pleasure. But I’m ready to move onto the next thing now.

Zainab Mansary, Print  

As Black women, we are told we are ‘unlovable’ and ‘undesirable’. I wanted to evoke the Shakespearian character, Juliet as she is presented as the most desirable woman. I have always wondered how it would feel to be desired, to be loved instantly just by my looks.

As Black women, our hair is a big part of our identity and has been for centuries. My ancestors used to use their cornrows and braids to hide food, create escape routes and communicate with each other. Our hair is powerful and makes us stronger. As soon as I thought of my concept and my obsession with braids, using synthetic hair to create braids was my way to make my garment more personal and allowed me to learn and appreciate my history and ancestors. If I could have anyone to wear my look, my beautiful Sierra Leonean mother would be my dream model.

“I still have times now where I stop and think about the fact that I got into Central Saint Martins; being the only Black woman on Fashion Print seeing my garment in the physical show was a moment for my younger self to look at my alter Ego, thee BLACK Juliet.” – Zainab Mansary

I don’t think it hit me until the final seconds of prepping my model that we  actually were doing a physical show. I still have times now where I stop and think about the fact that I got into Central Saint Martins; being the only Black woman on Fashion Print seeing my garment in the physical show was a moment for my younger self to look at my alter Ego, thee BLACK Juliet. My biggest challenge was the pressure I left to bring justice to my concept and to represent all Black Queens within my garment.

Yiga Zhou, Womenswear  

The inspiration behind my look originated from the philosophical question “what defines a human being? Is it their spirits or their mortal flesh”? I believed humans’ desire for eternity came from the inevitability of decay. To me, humans are living in two worlds simultaneously. One is the spiritual world for souls, and the other is the physical world for bodies. The latter is physical, but only the spiritual world matters. My body is a cage, and I will soon be free from it.

“The border between real and virtual fashion is vanishing.” -Yiga Zhou

I think physical shows are always pretty enjoyable and fun. But I also believe the trend of digital fashion is inevitable. Digital garments will not be physically limited in the future world of the metaverse, they can break the boundary of time and space and inspire novel imaginations. The border between real and virtual fashion is vanishing. Perhaps in the future, everyone will spend most of their time in the virtual world. We could even have new identities in this virtual space every day. There will be no boundaries in gender, nationality, or identity. That’s what I dream of.


Discover more articles on the White Show: 

Central Saint Martins White Show 2021

The Central Saint Martins White Show Archives

In Conversation with White Show tutors Louis Loizou and Esme Young