As Graduate Fashion Week approaches, universities across the country are collectively deciding which new young talent to put forward to represent their institutions as the face of new fashion design talent. For many students this is the first time they have shown their collections to anybody other than their tutors.
Recently i visited the show of The University Of The Creative Arts - Rochester, the home of last years coveted Gold Prize winner Myrto Stamou, to witness their graduate internal fashion show.
The University has 59 students showing a collection of six items each. Each student wanting one of the 20 places reserved for the university at Graduate Fashion Week. The tension is high, stresses mounting and nerves wavering as for many of these students this is what they have been working towards for the past 3 years.
This year’s show was a 1920’s inspired mix match of French minimalism, cyborgs and recycling amongst others. Showcasing the best of gritty glamour in a fantastic open ceiling warehouse space. A show that is ‘guaranteed to capture the conceptual collections of Rochester’s most talented designers.’
As the first of three shows began the room of students, parents and a handful of industry professionals looked on at the beautifully crafted collections that followed seamlessly one after another. Draping, structure, vibrant colours and prints lit up the gloomy open space intriguing and exiting people again and again. By the second show the crowds irrupted when the intricate designs began to appear.
The collections had taken inspiration from the Spring/Summer 2010 ready-to-wear collections. With plenty of Alexander McQueen style prints, Lanvin mannered detailing and draping, Jill Sander sectioning, Rodarte styled imagination and plenty of frayed unfinished edges to go around.
It is clear that the fashion tutors at Rochester were very pleased, so they should be, they have pleasured the audience helping creating a number of very strong collections that would fit in on any catwalk of London, New York or even Paris Fashion week.
To choose just 20 students to go through would be a hard task for anyone. Let alone Thomas Atkinson the university’s associate dean of fashion who has seen these students grow and develop into the talent that they have become today.
A number of these talented young designers stood out to us. Especially a young lady by the name of Megan Murrin who’s collection, entitled ‘Alien Armour: A Second Skin’, had by far the greatest reaction. Most notably for her McQueen styled dressed with a twist, the feathered seams of one dress stood out beyond anything else in the entire show.
As we step forward into a new age of fashion design with talented students who are not just being thrown out of the bowels of St. Martins who is to say that the next Alexander McQueen or Gareth Pugh will be stepping out of the doors of a small fashion school in the midst of Kent. We look forward to seeing more exceptional talent from the University Of The Creative Arts - Rochester in the future.