LONDON — It’s the end of term for fashion students across U.K. universities and it’s a moment to celebrate after being confined to their homes for the past two years.
The young graduates of Ravensbourne University London and University of Westminster showed their collections alongside the London Fashion Week men’s calendar.
At Ravensbourne, the designers let loose, taking inspiration from mundane everyday items to creating their own fantasy world that their pieces fit into.
Standouts included Alessandro M. Raso, who showed deconstructed athleisure from the kitchen. “The inspiration behind the show was a character I built of a chef, based on my own upbringing as the son of restaurant owners observing the dangerous and chaotic kitchen,” he said.
Meanwhile, fellow student Lillian Clark, welcomed in the party with fluorescent body plates. Xander Jones let the monsters out with a fictional character printed onto sweaters and hoofs stomping the runway.
Over at University of Westminster, the pressure and spotlight was on for the students, as alumni Steven Stokey-Daley of S.S. Daley became the first winner of the 2022 edition of the LVMH Prize for Young Designers earlier this month.
The students had strong sustainablility credentials that hints at a green future for them all.
“Everything is made from upcycled kites, parachutes and wetsuits,” said Yani Bridge, behind the brand Yani B, who is an avid kitesurfer and skydiver. All the materials in her collection were sourced from a Facebook community she found online.
Her classmate Lily Mae Willan dedicated her graduate collection to all the influential men in her life and being from the north of England, which is where all of her fabrics were sourced from: deadstock tailoring and yarns from Yorkshire; silks from a supplier in Bradford, and the selvedge denim is from Hewitt Heritage Mills, which is the only mill that weaves denim in the U.K.
All the bags in her collection are inspired by her uncle, who would “come to work with a carrier bag as a bag and then he bought a proper bag that everyone took the p–s out of.”
Another graduate, Owen Edward Smith, based his collection on his fisherman grandad from Dunbar, Scotland.
All the fabrics from the collection were from Scotland — handwoven wool that he could only get 12 meters at a time — to all the handmade jewelry.
When beginning the collection, he made a conscious decision to “branch into this community of crafters” in Scotland to bridge the gap between them and the metropolitan industry because “there’s a lot of dying trades there.”
“There’s still people sitting at home hand making things and their careers are on the line because of this movement into tech. There’s no reason why handcrafts can’t go hand in hand with modern tech,” he said.
Edward Smith designed his own official tartan that’s registered on The Scottish Register of Tartans with the different colored threads representing the LGBTQ community and fishing nets.