Ones to watch: the best of Graduate Fashion Week 2016 part 1

The buzz and energy released during Graduate Fashion Week is unlike anything else. On the Sunday it’s pretty safe to say the designs exceeded our expectations, despite the fact that we knew what we were about to witness were unlike anything you’d find in your local high street shops. Norwich University, University of East London and Salford University each provided a number of distinctive looks that made the girl next to me say stuff like, “I need that…”, “I would definitely wear that”, “This outfit is me!!!”… and, well, you get the idea.

Norwich University directed their focus more towards tailored womenswear pieces with an emphasis towards an asymmetrical aesthetic which worked very well with pastel colours and warm greys. Graduates such as Nicolas Edward Stanley and Alice Potts used their collection to bring forward the playful side of fashion. Stanley’s designs used feminine tailored pieces like sleeveless jackets as a canvas for cartoon printed graphics. Potts played with texture in her collection and 3D space. One of the most stand out pieces was Potts’ ruffled deep turquoise and red ombre jacket that helped to bring more depth to the universities collection as a whole.

University of East London kept the momentum going and successfully raised the bar on what to expect at GFW. UEL was all about the more relaxed, rebellious and fun side of fashion. Antonia Nae blended gothic and punk rock themes beautifully with her inclusion of lace and feathered materials creating a fashion anarchy dream.

Photography by Hannah Gooding

Cassandra Gubudu created well structured African inspired patchwork designs on square cut day dresses and tops, the detail in her designs remaining consistent all the way down to her custom-made wedges.

Photography by Hannah Gooding

A major stand-out piece belonged to graduate Faith Balogun whose collection was inspired by UK teddy boys back in the 1950s. The Dirah collection by Balogun held a strong “no f*cks” attitude with women in oversized bomber jackets accompanied by rosaries and badges. It was obvious this was a collection about mixing old with new once we saw Elvis Presley and A$AP Ferg hanging out on the top right hand corner of a bring baby pink bomber. However, it was also Balogun’s use of grey wool and high waisted khaki and baby pink culottes that drove home that this collection was inspired by a variety of eras and social movement scenes.

Photography by Hannah Gooding

Menswear pieces also shone brightly during the GFW shows on Sunday, especially from Salford University. Graduate Hannah Thompson emphasised this in showing us that pink is just as much a colour for men as it is for women. Thompson’s collection held strong military elements with models wearing bandanas covering their mouths and wrapped round their arms, along with braces and belt buckles to help create more definition among her designs. The use of bright pinks, royal blues and fuchsia purples encouraged playfulness.

Carl Tam also played with length when in his menswear designs, creating serene and peaceful movement along the catwalk. Pinstripes were the running theme through the collection, and illustrations printed on to long flared pants suggested art deco inspiration. Tam and Thompson’s designs were a great way to incorporate non-conventional menswear designs into GFW.

Photography by Hannah Gooding.

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