A Finale to Remember
Pac-Man, Margaret Thatcher and the colour red: three things that seem to have nothing in common. Yet somehow, Nottingham Trent University’s texture-filled collections at Graduate Fashion Week 2014, managed to feature them all. Founded in 1843, NTU’s School of Art & Design is one of the most established design institutions in the UK, producing highly employable graduates whose knowledge of imagery and industry, as demonstrated by the GFW 2014 show, is unrivalled. In 2012, we profiled Nottingham Trent Uni graduate collections that ranged from the luxe womenswear label of Janine Clark to the zero-waste menswear of Joe O’Neill.
Colours clashed on a huge scale in Haomeng (Vicky) Deng’s daisy-filled collection. The dainty flowers symmetrically stamped down pleated panels boxed out the silhouette, moving to an alternate fabric beat on either side of the fold. An electric orange dress printed with vivid green florals plus a mismatched red-and-blue patterned knapsack evolved to be two stand-out pieces.
Interlocking hoops took centre stage with Natasha Gilliand’s collection. Torsos were imprisoned in the embroidered circles with multiple rings connecting arms, necks and the garment. Yellow laid over a neutral beige shade defined the structures which also appeared inside cuffs in a wheel-like formation.
Elegance seems an old-fashioned word. It does not scare Shenjia Ding as her ladylike skirts proved to be individual and refreshing. She layered her satin babydoll dresses with cubist pleats, like origami, adding extra depth to her designs. Samantha Wakelam chose to deconstruct and feminise workwear. Folding and interlocking shapes to form varying panelled skirt suits, she was not afraid to reveal the beige layer underneath. Olivia Andres also designed for a graceful woman, sending out feathered evening dresses; stark white plumage finished with a line of kingfisher blue.
Towards the end of NTU’s show, menswear built momentum. Aimee Dunn’s collection laid a political stance on fashion, embossing Margaret Thatcher’s face onto the front of garments while Lord Kitchener’s pointing finger repeated his wartime message from the back. Xi Lin used one primary colour for her entire tailored collection: red, an unusual tone for menswear. Every piece was plastered in the shade, including spot appliques, PVC strips, and essential suit basics. A statue head printed shirt provided a fun but unexpected twist. Never had tomato red looked so good.
Yohei Ohno’s sports luxe womenswear designs produced a resounding yes. Marbled print in tones of grey paired nicely with sheer sleeves. Green felt accessories reminded us of lush grass, appearing on circular and triangular bags as well as wrapped around shoe soles.
Nga Wun (Kitty) Mok was the last Nottingham Trent University graduate to show, taking us into her video game-inspired world. Models dressed as game builders wearing vinyl workwear caps and seemed intent on fixing the malfunctioning games seen in the pixelated print. Mok chose to make his aim clear and inscribed the word ‘game’ across her overalls alongside instructional phrases such as ‘push start.’
NTU saved the best till last. The finale catwalk was jam-packed with bold shades and strong references, demonstrating Nottingham Trent University’s gift for producing entrancing fashion shows and striking images. A spectacular ending to a vastly varied show.
All Photographs by Charlie Lee Douglas