A spectacle of styling and skill
This year’s University of Central Lancashire catwalk show, ‘Riot’, was a burst of colour and craft with unapologetic attitude. Visually compelling, UCLan’s catwalk was packed with street style influences shouting slogan words from flat peak caps and brightly-coloured bumbags. They weren’t afraid to err on the side of the unusual either with a spooky blood-themed collection that featured a bloodbag motif, a hospital bracelet belt, and lashings of arterial red.
With a strong record of achievement at Graduate Fashion Week in previous years, big things are expected of UCLan fashion students in 2014. Featuring a fashion course dedicated to Eastern design traditions, the students can gain a truly global perspective in their craft. The university emphasises styling, encouraging students in all its fashion courses – from design to photography – to see it as another tool in their creative armoury. (As seen here in Layla Sailor’s ‘Essences of Fashion’ project.)
Starting the show, Rebecca Rimmer’s collection revisited the slimming silhouette, printing a variety of cartoonish silhouettes on oversized black garments. The concept may sound perverse but it was executed with gusto – some pieces depicting background sceneries – and it proved a massive crowd pleaser. The collection’s brash contrast seemed to comment on the industry’s obsession with size and the unreality of modern day expectations.
Chloe Siddal’s collection was as feisty as you like; the colour explosion of bright highlights on white and black netting was accessorised with serious gold bling. Her pieces emphasised some of the more practical aspects of the street style movement: rucksacks and cycling shorts in primary colours popped up all over the catwalk and anoraks were given an urban edge.
Next up was Jane Acton’s rather more peaceful offering of pretty prairie style in soft grey linen and beautiful muted, dusty blue florals. Paperbag-waist skirts and fraying edges were the order of the day here and gave the outfits a feel of make-do-and-mend in soft focus.
Alice Houghton’s Galliano-esque collection full of romantic yet streetwise bows and ties showcased more experimental construction skills. Made of mohair and used as belts, they created softly cinched-in shapes and delicate silhouettes. Her restyling of men’s shirts saw them shape-shift into dresses, skirts and jackets with a brisk and business-like pinstripe pattern running throughout.
Bringing the show to a punchy finish, Stephanie Chesworth’s sharp citrus collection explored the relationship between clothes and consumption.
Juxtaposed against wooden brick buttons and blocky prints, she took the logo of the Lilt cans seen in the hands of the models and superimposed it onto skirts and coats. Though somewhat less subtle, the voluptuous curves of banana and pineapple accessories provided a compelling contrast to the strict geometric regularity seen in the rectangular prints.
UCLan’s styling skill set shone through on the catwalk with each photogenic collection providing much fuel for camera clicks and flashes. The students showed that not only do they have the skills to produce beautiful fabrics and clothing, but the ability to assemble them with attitude.
All photographs by Rebecca Cofie