Monday, June 11, 2012


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

The week before last, the FashEd went along to the Royal College of Art's fashion show where she saw the work of this year's crop of graduates. Like any keen-eyed fashion editor, Melanie had her favourites and we wanted to share some of their work with you today. This week is Graduate Fashion Week so the blog is going to be very 'graduate' orientated as we scout out our favourite graduates from the UK's best design courses and see what they actually get from the four-day event at Earl's Court. We can't wait to get out there and see what's on offer. In the meantime, the RCA grads have come up trumps with some gorgeous imagery and notes, explaining what inspires them and how they have come to their final pieces.


'The main colour inspiration came from my photography, which I used as print in my collection. My shapes follow the casualness of oversized shirts, and the cut is also influenced by traditional Chinese flat garments. I’m interested in using unusual materials and finding new ways of garment making. I’m drawn to traditional Chinese ink painting, with the ink and water penetrates through the paper. That has given me the idea of using silicone to penetrate fabric to join fabrics instead of sewing. The application of silicone became a main feature of my design which allowed minimalist designs.'


Devil-may-care (the name of my collection) was inspired by the juxtaposition between innocence and the unspoken assumptions and persuasions of everyday life. The collection finds parallels in the ritualisms that surround quintessential English horror, with particular reference to the stereotypical virgin sacrifice and the motif work of Irish crochet. Parallels mirrored in the melancholia and strictness of Victoriana through an imposing and imperial pagoda shoulder juxtaposed against a corseted, willowy, lissome and sensual waist. An awkward wide and flaring leg, emphasising an elongated silhouette and ghostly, ethereal/otherworldly quality captured through delicate layering of fine guage devore knits and silks (discharge and devore printed) and fluid cashmere, silk, and traditional wool suiting. Colours are drawn from the the overcast grey-lavender of a forest mist shrouding that which cannot be seen, the black-purple of the night and the reddened umber of the sodden earth. The green hues of moss and fern to the slate greys and damp purple of the heathland heather with subtle/pale and washed out highlights. Reference to eveningwear worn in a nonchalant way emphasising the louche brooding and deeply dark/sexy of a rock star sensibility and the fetishisms of the night.

I studied (BA) Fashion at Kingston University graduating in 2009. After Graduate Fashion Week I pursued my own label after interest from various stockists, including Digitaria, later to become Machine-A, on Berwick St. At this point, I applied to the Royal College of Art (MA) Fashion Menswear course. During my time at the College I was awarded the prestigious Brioni Award.


The Tom Crisp man celebrates a raw and powerful youth aesthetic. Inspired by the graffiti artist Delta, Jose Perla and Gus Van Sant body of work, the 2012 menswear collection includes modern tailoring through to a distressed and deconstructed casual look. A make do attitude resonates throughout the collection; especially in pieces that are deconstructed from the original garment and remade into modern silhouettes. This appropriation method surfaces with denim tees from denim jackets, a remade nylon parka and an Airforce jacket made into trousers. A layered silhouette evokes a 90s grunge attitude while the slim cuts of the suits add a rock edge. Throughout the collection angular planes of fabric disintegrate into distressed surfaces. Raw edges create a dishevelled look helped by texture play with ripped leather and denim hand painted to look like a wall of graffiti. The cotton and denim base is enhanced by silk, linen and mohair jacquard weaves in suits and a luxe parka. Industrial shine is provided by cropped nylon parkas and knitted nylon jumpers. Colours are murky, taking their cues from rusty metal. Ranging from deep purples, inky blues and military green through to rusty oranges and bright turquoise provided by glossed, verdigris copper powder. Rusted iron is used on a deconstructed suit to continue a raw feel and to add a new texture dimension.


I was born and raised in Manchester where I studied Fashion Design at the Manchester Metropolitan University. Whist studying in Manchester, I completed an internship with Roland Mouret. After graduating, I moved to London to pursue a career in outerwear design working for a high street supply company, which taught me much about the business side of fashion. I then went on to study my Masters in Womenswear Fashion Design at the Royal College of Art in 2010. Whist studying at the Royal College I also got the opportunity to help out in Richard Nicoll's studio. I enjoy bringing out the dark side of women, my designs are lead by an obsession with the female form and architecture.


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