Every year, London College of Fashion presents its graduate show to the public and press, and this year was no different, except for the fact that they presented their new home to us at Here East.
It was notably their largest show yet, and whilst some of the organisation of getting into the space (the use of lifts only and locking off the stairs wasn’t ideal, especially for anyone with a fear of lifts or confined spaces) or the mad rush at the door before showtime, which seemed to have no queuing process or system to ensure everyone got in safely, overall the event was a huge success for the college.
This was an important show for the college, presenting an opportunity to showcase their new home, solidify their place as a university for forward thinking innovators, and it was the last show under the leadership of Frances Corner OBE who celebrated her final term as Head for the college. With such a large amount of pressure to deliver a standout show in amongst so many changes, you can see the college did everything they could to ensure it was a success.
I think overall the collections from the students had similar undertones of themes and trends, but stood apart from Graduate Fashion Week in it’s slightly more monochrome colour palette and over designed shapes.
There were some real standouts for me that made me sit upright and really watch as the models navigated the runway. HUIXIN TIAN RAE (pictured above) really explored a futuristic, Mortal Kombat-esque menswear collection, that would be well placed within a movie or a music video. It may have bordered on costume, but there were elements that I believe could translate wonderfully into editorial at least.
Yujin Seo (@_seouu) (pictured above) gave us contemporary luxe, pairing simple and flowing shapes with bright and bold pops of colours. That black poncho with the white piping is divine!
Lily Thomas (@lilythomas_bags_accessories) (pictured left) showcased her gorgeous bags which featured a print design of a leaf under a microscope. The leaves used for the print were also incorporated into the resin chains used for the straps.
Sophie Hird (pictured above) showed us how deconstructed football shirts can be re-worked, perhaps this is a metaphorical collection inspired by the deconstruction of gender within the industry at the moment.
Jeanne Mehta (pictured right) gave us a regal flare with a modern day way of tailoring. The face jewellery also lent itself to capturing a more edgy look.
Shiho (pictured above) went bold and bright with their disparate designs that give us a bit of a Betsy Johnson / Muppets vibe – and we’re here for it!
Chendi Xu (@atomiclabour) (pictured above) went for clothes that look like they’ve just stepped off the set of Fifth Element 2 (no we’re not sure if that’s a real thing, but it should be!)
Meta Cunder (@metacunder) (pictured left) made footwear for people who don’t live in this reality. That monster boot is equally as intimidating and scary, as it is fascinating…
Bonbom Jo (pictured above) showed us how gender can be blended ever further without having to put men in dresses… and after all, who doesnt want a fluffy hip cushion?
Haiyue Yan (pictured above) went in for the kill with this shooting gallery inspired collection. The green tartan oversized jacket is absolutely divine and I want one in my closet!
Molly Lockley (pictured above) created some gorgeously feminine shapes using pastel pinks and nudes, and blended in some hardware elements to show that women really aren’t to be double crossed…
Kang An (@gnakna) (pictured above) went for total shock value with their blood stained collection. That jacket is EVERYTHING we want from a statement piece, and I want one is every colour please!
Ellen Conroy (@elconroy.embroidery) (pictured right) designed this gorgeous textile which looks almost etherial and angelic. It’s intricate design must have taken so long to get just right, so we know this student has got the patience to innovate some amazing things in the future.
Patrycja Pagas (pictured above) doesn’t mess around, with bold blacks and leathers creating oversized shoulder silhouettes and elongated sleeves to both intimidate and empower.
Roisin Cummins (@roisinmcummins) (pictured above) was quite an interesting show because the models (as some are pictured) wore black sex masks with big red sex lips. I completely got the fetish reference, but unfortunately there was backlash after the show with several people saying the showcase was ‘racist’. I reached out to Roisin personally to get her take on the looks and to support as best I could. Roisin confirmed that it had nothing to do with race, but was in fact a fetishwear inspiration. Her lookbook was shot with just the masks but a creative decision was made to add the lips for the show and this obviously didn’t work out as intended, but, there is no denying that the clothing is glorious and provocative, and I feel that in times like this, we cannot allow an honest mistake to overshadow years of work that a student has put into this. I applaud Roisin for staying strong and focused during this time, and I am personally excited to see her growth in the industry.
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all the graduates this year, you all have such exciting times ahead of you, you need to just keep pushing and know that there are people behind you every step of the way. You will always have a safe space for feedback, advice, and publishing here at Boyfriend.