Header Photo by Chenaii Crawford Corri
I am ashamed to say I am a GFW virgin…well until 2 weeks ago I was. I’d always hear people hyping up GFW and never quite understood why- well until 2 weeks ago as well. It really is a portal where likewise creatives and emerging designers can come together to showcase their unique, raw and fresh talent. Yeah it’s a little bit hectic, yeah it’s a little bit competitive, yeah it’s a little bit “who the f*** are you?”. But what fashion event would be a fashion event without it though?…..*gulp* In this article I’ll be filling you in on who’s hot, who’s hotter and just the general vibe and my opinion of Graduate Fashion Week ’18.
Photo by @Izzyoffer, Model (right to left)- Felix Spooner
Walking into the media lounge, there was a chorus of silence followed by following eyes. It’s safe to say there was this unsaid “who are they?” circling the room . It’s calm though ’cause I was thinking the same back to them- I didn’t know who they were either. Even if I had, I still would have pretended I didn’t…(11/10 not sorry). Ok I get it, we aren’t your typical GFW type. We stand out to say the least. And if everyone else’s attire was to go by anything, yeah we for sure stood out…So I’m not surprised we were welcomed with fiendish daggers, unfriendly glares and curious stares. The truth about GFW is that it’s not always the most vibing setting to be in, and sometimes other people’s hostility can really get to you at times (by Day 3 I caved). But you gotta remember that you’re there to do one job, and that’s all that matters.
Photo by Chenaii Crawford Corri, Design by Jacaranda Brain
I think it’s safe to say the emphasis was on outerwear for the 1st day of GFW. Many designers took their inspiration from outdoor activities such as wading, mountaineering, hiking and even bin collector workwear. With a mass progression of young creatives starting to be more conscious of the importance of sustainable fashion, you can see why this choice was so prevalent. On the complete other end of the spectrum, you can also note a heavy nostalgia of 60s and 70s style knitwear from the catwalk as well. Models bounced down in pop colour flatforms, striped kick flares and ribbed turtlenecks, making me feel like I’d been transferred back to when my mum was 16.
Photo by Chenaii Crawford Corri
The penultimate show of the day was my personal favourite- University of East London. Not only were the collections strong, but there also was this overall feel of unity and energy as every new ensemble was welcomed to the catwalk with a massive round of applause their from fellow students. That’s what I like to see– creatives supporting each other rather than competing with one another. Highlights from this show include designers- Francoise Boateng and Krishma Sabbarwal. What I absolutely love about Boateng‘s work is the in-depth graphic illustrations, adding a real artsy addition to her streetwear staples. She also creates reconstructed pieces with Houdini inspired silhouettes, linking to the fact that outside of designing, she’s also a mental heath advocate.
It’s funny ’cause I had already been following Sabbarwal from like months ago, but never really picked up on the fact she’s actually a designer. In her collection, her emphasis, as you can imagine was on late 90s- early 00s inspired pieces made from repurposed fabric. In a hybrid of pastel accents and neutral hues, it was like a concoction of I Am Gia, nu-metal skater vibes and your millennial quirky art student. Having been following her for some time and knowing she favours Chavwear, I would had liked to have seen more of that in her collection.
Photo by @Izzyoffer, Design by Tira Spence, Model- Harley Lough
Nottingham Trent University
One of my favourite designers from this show was Lauren Beamer. She uses ruffle detailing and bold shades to create this avante garde collection that kinda reminds me of a mix between Googly Eyes and Furby, haha. Very flamboyant, but also holds some sort of resemblance of a style that was trendy in the late 00s. The second designer worth noting for Nottingham, is menswear designer- Takato Wako. Models sported boldly printed motorcycle jackets and PU bootlegs with 1/4 zips at the bottom. As a binary chick, I would 100% wear this. It’s strange and somewhat in-between 70s groove and Californian rockstar- I love it!
Photo by @izzyoffer
Manchester School of Art
Unfortunately, I have NOT been successful in finding the next designer’s social media or in fact any media to do with his collection at all, so I’m literally just gonna have to wing it from the notes I wrote whilst probably being on my 3rd or 4th Red Bull. To Jack out there somewhere- I hope I don’t get anything wrong…arghhh! I still wanted to include him all the same as his was the only collection from MSA I truly engaged with. From what I can ‘remember’ (i.e the vague bullet points I’d jotted down), menswear designer Jack LLoyd‘s collection was based on streetwear with slightly steampunk influences. There was an imaginative use of bondage pants with multipurpose pockets and chain detailing to headwear, giving it an industrial metal take on urban fashion.
Photo by @izzyoffer, Design by Karla Hobbs, Models (right to left) Harley Lough, @mrdeedoubleyou
Ravensbourne University London
One of the best collections from GFW is from accessory & costume designer- Waranya J.Leiper. She styled elaborate animal masks with minimalistic athleisure. Her simplistic silhouettes contrasted with her backpacks with draping embellishments adds an idiosyncratic twist to something so contemporary.
Following suit is another accessory designer worth taking note of- Camèlia Di-Maccio. She added oversized chain detailing to backpacks so that they looked like a bondage harness from front view. The piece that stood out for me was the, what I like to call ‘fishing rod bucket bag’. It looks like it’s made of iron enclosed into a shape of a cage, adding a real gothic medieval element to her collection.
Photo by Chenaii Crawford Corri, Design by Ria Saldeba
University of Brighton
Brighton births some real authentic talent where the clothing is actually wearable. 1st designer- Anastasiia Gutynk comes in the form of something bold. With animal prints and ruffle detailing, Gutynk‘s collection displays a colorful funky twist on traditional Western gear. The most appealing designer of GFW for me has to be Eloise Hanikene. Featuring corset cuts and vibrant metallic silks, her collection has this baroque/medieval air to it. When I saw her pieces, I think I nearly cried! It’s in the Haute Goth style (right up my street) adding fantasy concepts to her womenswear.
Photo by @Izzyoffer, Design by Anna Chandler
Tira Spence’s collection threw me like woah! And the fact that she’s a POC just added to my ‘shookness‘ and love for her as a menswear designer. She used a jungle motif throughout her pieces, creating gorilla graphics and tropical prints as well as experimenting with PVC. With her collection being Prêt-À Porter, I predict that she will be popular amongst the youth, and as a designer, she will be extremely successful in the loungewear industry.
Photo by @izzyoffer, Design by Tia Spence, Models (2nd from right)- Antonino Russo
The most enthralling designer from this show is Mitchell Rouse. This menswear designer went for a battle theme using hardware materials like chainmail to create modern armour-wear. The metallic detailing adds a masculine and almost dom (at least to me) feel to his collection, contrasted with the crop fits and flared tailoring, adding femininity and softness to it as well. I fell in love– it gave me chamber vibes…
Overall for Day 3, there was a trend of designers taking inspiration from elderly clothing, re-envisioning the wear of bonnets and capes, as well as twists on kids rainwear and vintage swimwear. Even though I would personally never wear it, it was quite nice to see. It was like something I could imagine being paraded down the platform in the 60s if GFW had been established back then.
After having to belatedly wait in the queue for 40 minutes, and enduring 3 long days prior, I was officially done. Watching the Best of Graduate Fashion Week Show left me feeling kind of disappointed. Where were all the effortlessly cool, individualistic, slightly quirky looking fashion students? And I’m NOT talking about the Clout ‘edgy’ ones either. Surveying the herd of designers or at least at the reward show, ngl I was a little bored. Obviously I know it’s about the design not the designer…but still. You do need to be a product of your products after all. I even had a former Central St Martins student who has studied there in the 90s nodding her head in agreement.
Photo by @izzyoffer, Design by Michael Punnett
By the end of day 4, I’m gonna be real with you- each collection pretty much blurs into one another making you wonder “why did I even leave my bed for the past few days?” But looking back at the footage you took, you soon realise that actually a lot more of the garms were better than you had given credit at the time, leaving you tryna figure out whether the misjudgment was down to you forgetting your glasses or being drugged up on caffeine. So what made GFW GFW this year? Well I’m still tryna decipher whether it’s the model’s eyes I couldn’t stop staring at or the model who’s eyes kept glaring at the girl opposite eyeing him up as he kept giving us side looks. Or maybe it was the running joke about the catwalk platform, or the fact that during the duration of the 4 day period, I had finally discovered some ‘important’ information after 6 months of intensive ‘research’. Who knows? All I can say is that the innovatives this year really did the most in terms of their creations, and for most part, it paid off.
Photo by @Izzyoffer, Model- Julian Machann
In the end, GFW brings you the best and worst of collections that you love so much you’re resisting wrestling down the model, stripping off and sporting, and others that make you question your very existence and whether you’re in some sort of alt-reality or pre-apocalyptic dystopia. With every new year, every new wave of students brings something different to the plate. Overall GFW can be challenging but generally is a great opportunity to get, and as a 16yr old Fashion Editor, I am blessed that I got it. I have to say- there really is something special about sneaking into the 1st row and having the tempo of the background music vibrate through your nervous system as models breeze past whilst the hairs on your arm rise, because the experience of being at a GFW show is like none other.
Photo by Chenaii Crawford Corri, Design by Hope Macaulay, Models (1st and 2nd Right)- @ojwardell, Lauren Scott,
Words By My Superiority Complex