“Doing the MA Fashion in the context of a global pandemic was a privileged position to be in,” says Lucile Guilmard with confidence. Her explanation is honest and clear: being in education in the year of Covid-19 protects you from the stresses of real life. “Our worries were mainly concerning issues like: ‘how will I make my work creatively relevant within the situation we are in?’ and that was nothing but inspiring,” Guilmard explained further. Her classmates seem to share the same positive outlook towards going through the MA away from the 1 Granary square campus. “If all I have to complain about is how hard it’s been to produce fashion during an unprecedented global crisis, I’ve had it pretty easy,” Keith Mosberger says, proud for finalising a full collection from his kitchen table with the help of the MA Fashion faculty. “Fabio [MA Fashion course director], our tutors, and our studio manager Mark, have been amazing throughout the whole thing. Just like all of us, they did the absolute best with a bad situation, which was sometimes preposterous,” Mosberger notes.
““If all I have to complain about is how hard it’s been to produce fashion during an unprecedented global crisis, I’ve had it pretty easy.” – Keith Mosberger
The fixation on the catwalk’s vanity appears to be fading in the name of progression and search for purpose. Fashion students seem to realise that a 2-minute promenade of a year’s work is not as impactful as an online presentation that can be accessed by anyone and from anywhere in the world, instead of a prestigious yet limited guestlist. “Not only does it create a global reach, for a longer period of time, but it also meant that we are able to create a space that is personalised to each of us,” Genevieve Devine says about the virtual ‘rooms’ that will be dedicated to each one of the designers at their presentation platform on the 25th of March.
How did the experience of making a collection alone from their bedrooms alter their work? “You’re selecting fabrics online without ever touching them; you’re fitting clothes on yourself instead of models, and your cat is walking all over your pattern table,” Luke Derrick says about his new reality. “It limited my fabric sourcing to my bedroom studio and eBay when I would normally be able to hunt in antique markets and charity shops,” Devine adds. The practical limitations, however, did become the reason why this year’s designers felt like they had a unique opportunity in their hands. “The collections are less rushed, more meaningful, and as a result, very personal. We went back to the core reason why we started engaging with this business in the first place: purposeful creativity. Resourceful is a keyword to describe our experience, in my opinion, which better prepares us for the reality of the industry,” Guilmard notes as the main outcome of the MA.
“The collections are less rushed, more meaningful, and as a result, very personal. We went back to the core reason why we started engaging with this business in the first place: purposeful creativity.” – Lucile Guilmard
In order to chronicle such an emotionally heavy experience, a team of four image-makers and journalists from the MA Fashion Communication course got together and tackled the challenge of filming the process before the 2021 final show. Being new at CSM and with this being one of the first projects of their one-year MA, the team had to work fast in order to decide the strategy of documenting a large number of fashion design students who all worked from their own spaces. “As a group, we decided it was best to interview each of the designers in twenty-minute sessions on Teams. Thirty-five meetings were recorded across three days, and were mostly done back-to-back,” fashion journalism student Grace Sowerby explains about the intensive interviewing sessions that took place for the film’s narrative. “The best approach was to treat each meeting like a Zoom call with a friend. By keeping it chatty, lively, and informal, we really got a sense of what each person was like individually. We were striving to get to the heart of what each of the designers was trying to communicate,” she adds, while her collaborator Didier Zheng describes the film as “a first-person angle of how creativity can be challenged and hence elevated.”
“We went off into a more intimate approach which could detail honest little things; reminders that we’re all human.” – Aparna Aji
Communicating the designer’s personal thoughts and emotions appear to be the main objective of the 3-minute film. “We went off into a more intimate approach which could detail honest little things; reminders that we’re all human,” Aparna Aji from the Fashion Image pathway says. By asking everything about their daily routines, from where they are cutting their patterns to what Netflix shows they are binge-watching, the team of writers and filmmakers discovered the excitement and love that designers hold for their craft, a trait that defines the atmosphere of every Central Saint Martins final show.
Inspired by Tyrone Lebon’s ‘Reely and Truly’ and the idea of finding conceptual purpose in the ‘little things’, the two image-makers, Lowri and Aparna, incorporated footage of the designers’ daily rituals, like brushing their teeth or drinking coffee, making the viewer forget that we live in a world of Zooms and Facetimes. The timings of the film are reflecting the duality between the intensity of the MA experience and the very personal state of being locked at home. “We wanted the editing style to channel the complexity of what the designers were going through in terms of finishing their final collections,” Lowri Cooper says. “We focused on fast transitions and the use of overlapping, to capture the differences in each designer’s unique space while maintaining a sense of continuity and collective identity.”
By removing the ‘wall’ created by the iPhone filmed footage, the film takes us into the emotional journey of a team of young designers who are setting up their own rules and routines around making fashion away from university, just like they would, and will do, in real life.