Conceptually Driven from an assortment of inspirations
Northumbria University celebrated 60 years in fashion at GFW 2015. The school, known for its persistent teaching of craftsmanship and mandatory placements, allows students to take any direction with their final collection. This was evident at the university’s fourteenth Graduate Fashion Week where students showcased different types of attire in menswear and womenswear.
Collections were conceptually driven and delved deep into the worlds of film, theatre and arts. The graduating designers created collections from an assortment of inspirations: from Dan Flavin’s light sculptures to astronauts. Plain weave was popular amongst many as a tool for shaping rather than decoration. Menswear was particularly strong, with many questioning the universal male dress code and often featuring lace.
All Images by Anna Wytrazek
Inspired by director Fellini’s ‘La Strada’ from the ‘50’s, Victoria Barwood’s collection played on themes associated with the circus: bowler hats, checkered tights and all that jazz. Victoria led her clown-like models out onto a glistening black catwalk. Clown faces were boldly embroidered onto mesh netting, layering over faces that passed by.
Clothes evolved from the bright colours of fire-eaters and contortionists to become dark and distressed the occasional red-orange pop of colour. A-lined jumpsuits and dresses carried on the underground imagery where fitting was loose, grunge-like and stripes were created with lustre not colour.
Lucy Doyle’s models hid their identities behind black velvet handkerchiefs as they played the role of female Mexican criminals. Elongated trousers and dresses draped over daring knee-high boots moved gracefully in their satin states. Velvet devoré majestic prints were dominant throughout. This compilation was finished off with leather and lace; a provocative teaming no one would dare mess with.
Auste Dudzeviciute approached menswear with a casual luxe, pairing very soft lightweight fabrics with hard-hitting textures in neutral tones.
There was a strong dialogue between the contrast of fabrics and the toned down androgyny through play on skirts and waistline emphasis.
With Charlotte Bryne’s stampede of cyber-men we were thrown into space age. Dark purple and black shorts-top-jacket combinations styled with reflective eyewear gave a sense of futuristic dystopia. Through cleverly crafted weaving, shaping and contouring Charlotte challenged the sleek lines of today’s popular sportswear lines. One-piece sportswear also travelled in an interesting direction. Pockets were sewed onto the outside, creating curving silhouettes and black mesh placed over metallic fabric lured this collection towards the conceptual not costume.
Julia Barstow’s womenswear had a perfectly composed balance between abstract and structure. Prints resembled the action painting works of Jackson Pollock. Julia treated the white-based pieces like canvases, splashing them with brushstrokes, blotches and spills. On top, Barstow vertically weaved through her work, making the technique look effortless.
On top, Barstow vertically weaved through her work, making the technique look effortless.
For Sophie Dring, attention was worked into structure and silhouette. Oval imagery was clear through her stitched together pieces and admirable pattern designing. Colours were simple but well put together with mauve and fluorescent orange blocking. The garment architecture really blew us away.
Jessica Lois Bailey, a student specializing in Textiles and Knit, proved her strengths with her outspoken underwater imagery. It was fun and punchy with psychedelic pompoms, print and the odd crab here and there. The vision was strong and the colour palette lifted the spirits of the room to a huge, cheery round of applause.
Students did not shy away from unleashing their innovation and yet managed to pull off something more than wearable art; they made garments that could stand and sell on their own. With 60 years of experience and knowledge, Northumbria University’s fashion school is as strong as ever, producing well rounded designers fit for all sectors of the industry.