The best of the UCLAN show at Graduate Fashion Week
First I should make clear that I am no fashion expert. But attending the UCLAN fashion show at Graduate Fashion Week was more like attending an art exhibition. Now I’m not an art expert either, but it did help me to think of the clothes in this sense. Would I wear most of them on a night out? Probably not. But when you start thinking about how all the pieces fit into their collection, the themes that tie them together, the source of the inspiration behind them and the kind of statement the designer is trying to make, things become more interesting. And of course they can be viewed simply for enjoyment. The best of the bunch are eye-catching, exciting, different, inspiring and fascinating on a construction level – I spent half the time wondering how some of the bigger pieces were held together. What was great for me was that, in spite of being someone not that knowledgeable about fashion trends, I had a clear reaction to each piece. I was expecting to think, ‘I could never wear that’, but instead I thought ‘This piece is good’ or perhaps ‘I like how the designer has themed this collection’. I am interested to find out what other people’s favourites are!
Aside from the clothes, one of the best things about this show was that apparently the music was produced by UCLAN’s Performing Arts department, which was really effective and meant that the soundtrack was more relevant to the clothes than in most of the other shows. This was true for one in particular…read on!
Ellis Elizabeth Johnson: A great start to the show. Some very feminine pieces involving flattering shapes and figure-hugging dresses but with flamboyant use of feathers!
Daniele Reed: A definite change of emphasis. Sporty meets urban. Strong use of leather, Doc Martens featuring prominently.
Duong Nguyen: Some very complex and very feminine pieces, lots of panels of material. I thought the colour scheme was really good – grey/black/yellow/white/pink – but without a reliance on colour to hold the collection together. All the pieces had a distinct signature look and feel to them without being too similar to one another – which I believe is the work of a talented designer!
Jennifer Smith: Very summery, nude colours, gathered material.
Sarah Zadeh: Fun and exotic. Bright colours, relaxed beach feel to this collection.
Rochelle Foley: Pale colours, multi-coloured silk panels, complex layering. Slightly ethereal feel…a little ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ – I thought!
Jenny Pusey: Very unique, confident look to this collection. Clever manipulation of lightweight materials to create powerful shapes. Strong colours, love the oversized multi-coloured necklace!
Charlotte Price: The dress below is a very popular shape at the moment! Different uses of the same heavy material worn over white.
Aimee Richmond: Flashes of neon and tie-dye cotton.
Helen Loomes: I really liked the combination of colours, the delicate floaty material used and the feminine feel of the pieces. Interesting shoulders…
Sunny Kular: Overall a more business-like look – especially the jacket below. I liked the printed coat and the sashes.
Rachel Wolstenholme: The only menswear collection at this show and possibly the best use of music to emphasize the theme – it began with a clip from the Tarantino film ‘Kill Bill’, of Bill saying that he’s always been fascinated by superheroes. Very cool! One of the most inventive ideas to provide cohesion to the clothes.
Victoria Butler: Striking combination of colours. Slightly futuristic feel? Very tailored look.
Jessica Thompson: I think this was my favourite (or second favourite) collection from this show (and so the most photos!). Beautiful, colourful and surreal prints caught the audience’s imagination, and the final piece was an amazing floor-length, hand-painted coat. Designs included birds and animals. Complex and stylish.
Laura Amy Bramham: Striking use of diamond pattern – and denim! Pretty pastel knits and oversized tops.
Kirsty Stringfellow: Some really nice layering of materials, texture contrasts and interesting shapes.
Rebecca Purvis: I really liked this ethnic/gypsy feel…
Sarah Wadsworth: Saving the best for last? This is my other favourite collection and several other people I spoke to felt the same. These pieces, made from large sections of floaty translucent material, featured huge prints of London landmarks, inlcuding Big Ben and the London Eye. The Union Jack also featured, but in black and white, which I thought gave a nice ‘old photograph/news print’ feel to the theme, but brightened with splashes of yellow. Also some teal which was a nice contrast. A really fun end to the show before the patriotic blast of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ with all the models waving flags!
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