It’s all in the melange
Excess and oversized might be two apt words to describe University of Northampton’s catwalk show. Ultra-luxe shearling and furs met in spectacular technicolor with unapologetic presence. The show however struggled to reconcile textile and fashion. These twin degree concerns are always difficult to present together, with often each detracting from the other. Though an East Asian influence was felt throughout, with bubble Harajuku girl shapes and baby pinks and blues, a tangible variation of identity between collections was lacking at times.
Fashion at Northampton University encapsulates textiles, footwear and accessories with industry knowledge and experience considered an essential aspect of students’ learning. Although few digital prints were on show at Graduate Fashion Week 2014, textile students are encouraged to find a balance between the more traditional aspects of the craft and modern technologies. Fashion students work in close partnership with those on the accessories and footwear course, giving them an early insight into the importance of a collaborative approach to the industry.
On the second day of GFW 2014, Yasmine Brassington presented an expensive all-black collection of well-made and highly fashionable fur. A panelled fur coat with a leather upper had more than a hint of Eudon Choi about it. Though the design itself was not necessarily ground-breaking, it was clearly well-crafted and executed.
There was more fluffy fabric in Louise Smith’s collection, who interspersed the candy floss texture of shearling with the smooth, shiny surface of cut-out leather shapes glinting through under the bright GFW lights.
In Amber Taylor’s menswear collection, we saw bright tartans run through with pinks and purples shaped into suits for an interesting play on the punk aesthetic.
Some jackets were amplified in size and given rounded shoulders, blurring the boundaries between jacket and coat. Again, the designs were not overly innovative but Amber balanced the busy patterns well and the garments were clearly well-crafted.
Northampton’s use of leather skins was extensive thanks to their on-campus tannery, but one of the more skilful and considered examples was to be found in Louisa Grace’s layered leather loops, folds and lines. As well as creating intricate patterns, the shapes bounced and expanded as the models moved, softening and hardening the silhouettes in turn.
Crystal Fung was Northampton at its most mischievous; bulky draped polythene and transparent netting revealed itself to be stuffed full of minuscule bean bag balls, suspended in mid-air by static electricity. The silhouettes could have perhaps been shaped more skilfully, but the idea was pleasingly playful.
Northampton University fashion graduates showed themselves to be unafraid of making a statement. We appreciated the craftsmanship on show but regretted the absence of the footwear for which Northampton is known. Textile designs could have been better showed off catwalk; which would have avoided the somewhat mixed message.
All photographes by Christos Mitsios