Drapers takes a closer look at the winning students from this year’s Graduate Fashion Week, which took place at east London’s Old Truman Brewery on 2-5 June 2018.
Christopher Bailey Gold Award: Rebecca Wilson, Arts University Bournemouth
Wilson’s haunting collection exuded a ragged, patchwork sense of poignancy. Heavy textures of knits and cords in softly tailored shapes were patched and distressed on silhouettes that suggested they were being worn out of necessity – too-big trousers paired with too-small jackets. The judges spoke of fashion’s need for a stimulating narrative and, with its dark mood and patchwork nature, across men’s, women’s and kids’ wear, Wilson created a collection that seemed inspired by historical, desperate and harrowing images. Nevertheless, the craftsmanship of the designs shone, and the overall impact was stark and stunning.
George Catwalk to Store Award: Louise Clark, Manchester School of Art
Diaphanous, swirling sheer textures and woodland autumnal shades made for an almost otherworldly, elfin collection from Louise Clarke. The colours in the collection – soft peachy tones shot through with magenta – gave an unusual and eye-catching palette. Wide leg shapes and bell sleeves alongside Tudor ruff necklines gave demure, modest outlines, and the subtle shades and layering made the collection something to pore over, as a new detail appeared on each glance.
Marks & Spencer Womenswear Award and Catwalk Textiles Award: Aurélie Fontan, Edinburgh College of Art
Picking up two awards, Fontan’s designs were simultaneously feminine and highly experimental. Some were crafted using a material that Fontan created herself from kombucha sealed with a plastic-free coating. Bouncing, lace-like structures swirled around the models in stark black and shimmering copper, fusing elegance and a sense of the alien for an overall ethereal and hypnotic effect. Shapes were oversized, but the lace-like nature of the materials also gave a sense of fragility. In the more dramatic styles, twisted cable ties were used to create layered coats and dresses with a simultaneously natural and synthetic appearance.
Debenhams Menswear Award: Hannah Gibbins, University of Brighton
Sunny bright shades and homespun fabrics, underpinned by a softly tailored utilitarian edge, made up Hannah Gibbins’ menswear collection. Texture was key on the relaxed tailored shapes. Soft suiting in fuzzy textured checks gave a relaxed and louche vibe, while hessian, raffia and coarse textures granted a homespun edge. The relaxed shapes and golden tones were reminiscent of the 1970s.
Visionary Knitwear Award (JOINT WINNER): Fraser Miller, De Montfort University
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Fraser Miller’s men’s knitwear designs are bold, heavy and bright with a touch of the historical. Mixing bold stripes with vintage-inspired floral prints, Miller created a modern and playful collection. Colours were mainly blues and greens, but flashes of bright white enlivened some floral styles and created a sporty vibe. The heaviness of the knits themselves, their crisp outlines and wide shapes, gave a sense of modernity.
Visionary Knitwear Award (JOINT WINNER): Jacaranda Brain, Nottingham Trent University
Skeletal structures, alien forms and challenging shapes defined Brain’s fantastical women’s knitwear creations, made in super-soft, cushioned ivory fabric. Gaps, tears and plaiting of the material added detail and softened the overall look to create a mood that was ethereal yet visceral. The bodysuits, in particular, highlighted the level of craft that went into their creation. Sculptural headpieces gave a sense of drama and again experimented with the intersection of natural and synthetic.
Hilary Alexander Trailblazer Award by Swarovski: Evelyne Babin, University for the Creative Arts, Epsom
Bold, bright and exuberant colours on quirky, detailed florals made Babin’s collection a vibrant and playful offer. Voluminous, structural creations with 3D flowers gave a sense of excitement and fun, but at the same time demonstrated a bold elegance. Pattern and texture particularly shone, and the standout dress was crafted from wood for an impressive balloon structure.