By Flora Stafford, Fashion Director
This year the DUCFS 2018 fashion team are proud to announce we have handpicked seven of the UK’s leading graduates to showcase their designs at the show. In their final years of study, each of these talented individuals worked hard to produce groundbreaking and stunning collections, pouring hours of thought and meticulous production into their work. Each collection contains 6 looks, with each complimenting one another in terms of aesthetic and shape. We are so excited to be injecting the DUCFS catwalk with fresh talent as well as supporting these individuals in their endeavours.
London College of Fashion MA student Dmitry undertook 4 years of art education in Russia prior to his Fashion Design Technology degree at LCF, and is currently finishing his graduate collection, which has been selected to be shown at London Fashion Week 2018. Inspired by the craft of haute couture and architectural thinking, Dmitry enjoys the idea of a garment being handmade and engineered to the female’s body. He has tried to stray away from the idea of mass consumption and therefore dislikes the concept of ready-to-wear, himself working at a haute-couture level.
For Dmitry, design is about making a woman comfortable, beautiful, unique and feminine: this is something he tires to achieve through cut, construction, fabrication — always with natural fibres —, linings and details. Dmitry has turned to the golden age of haute couture, the 1950s, for inspiration in terms of silhouettes, cut and proportion. In addition, stories of conflicted women, such as Marie Antoinette, Marylin Monroe and Marlene Dietrich, noting how these are simultaneously stories of very strong women. We love the natural, ethereal elements of Dmitry’s designs and are so excited to incorporate them into the ‘Evolution’ section of the show.
Ryan graduated in 2015 from Northumbria University with a cutting-edge, urban collection inspired by ruggedly exposed brutalist architecture. His respect for the unpretending honesty of how such stark constructions communicate strength and functionality encapsulates a modern approach to masculinity. The rigid shapes of the architecture create contrasting and angular areas of shadow and light, which too have informed the structure and shape of his work. He is particularly inspired by the serenity of Tadao Ando’s architecture, and uses the muse of ‘The New Crusader’ as a human embodiment of the ethos behind his designs.
The pieces emphasise volume and contrast cuts, reinforcing a new masculinity that is reflective of Ryan’s own style and embodies the ethos of the ‘Revolution’ part of our show. We love the way that each of Ryan Cruzado’s pieces that we shot were a renegotiation and reformation of classic tailoring and thus tried to represent this in our photography: contrasting divisions made possible by the use of mirrors and reflection were an attempt to showcase an alternate perspective and replicate the importance of shape in his work.
Alice Jane Potter
Alice Jane Potter is a fashion designer and blogger based in the North West of England. Her graduate collection, The Cry Baby Club, was showcased at London Graduate Fashion Week 2017 and recently sent on tour with Kate Nash. The looks from her collection include oversized panelled coats utilising laser-cut technology and Swarovski crystals, and hand-sewn embellished wide leg trousers. Our favourite look from her collection is her oversized crinoline panelled gown with 40 metres of gathered tulle sewn and trapped into the seams, which also includes an embellished crying face.
Alice’s designs have provided us with inspiration for the ‘Fluidity’ section of the show, working from the beginning of the evolutionary journey that will shape DUCFS 2018. Her ethereal, other-worldly shapes worked perfectly at our beach shoot this term; the stunning colour palette of her designs emulated the contrast between sea and sky and was paired with dewy, highlighted make up. Ultimately, we aimed to let the clothes do the talking, illuminated by the midday sun and positioning themselves strikingly against the rocks.
We are also incredibly excited to be displaying the pieces of Sahira Boora. By creating clothing that focuses on the individual, Sahira’s garments are made for the wearer to work alongside their own sense of self. Exploring an aesthetic where menswear and womenswear meet, using silhouette, fabrication and colour, Sahira’s designs emulate a laid-back, fluid aesthetic. Sahira is intrigued by neutrality and endeavours to push this concept to its limits, aiming for a balance within gender and culture and undermining the prescriptive nature of these terms.
In addition, the fusing of cultures has been of particular interest to Sahira, taking influence from the Persian culture and the depth of culture that migrants from the Middle East bring to the West. His designs display his penchant for draping and wrapping, experimenting with the fluidity of the human silhouette and creating a space between the body and clothing. We love the soft, pale colours of Sahira’s pieces and are so excited to be showcasing them in the opening section of the show.
Another chosen graduate for our show is Jessie McEwan, a 22 year old designer recently graduated from Northumbria University. Her bold and eclectic collection is partially inspired by fashion from 1558 to 1914, focusing on Elizabethan, Victorian, and Edwardian costume. The concept arose in her after going to see ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’, where she was encapsulated by the characters’ costumes. This provided ideas for silhouette and details such as frills, ruffles, contrast binding and trims/hardware.
Other aspects, especially colour, were inspired by 80’s style, particularly from occasion wear such as wedding and prom dresses. Jessie’s use of contrasting shapes and textures reinforces the visually striking nature of her designs: we too are so excited to have this much needed injection of playfulness on the catwalk.
Alice is a graduate from Cleveland College of Art and Design, and London College of Fashion, who currently works as a production and fabrication assistant in London. Her ‘I Have a Scream’ collection is based around political issues she is deeply passionate about. Her hometown Middlesbrough was once a strong and dominating industry town, and suffered greatly under the government’s relentless and savage cuts. Their dismissal to support a town in need inspired her to create a collection in homage to the hard workers and locals that support and fight for what is truly theirs. Their honest, diligent and tough attitudes are reflected in the mood of the garments which assimilate perfectly into our concept of ‘Evolution/Revolution’. We are especially looking forward to collaborating with a local designer encapsulated by local issues in February.
Graduating from Northumbria University in 2017 Isabel Schwarz showed her graduate collection ‘The Ironically Idle Man’ at Graduate Fashion Week in London this June. Catering for ‘the modern day dandy’ Isabel adds flamboyant touches whilst still managing to maintain an effortless look for the wearer. Integrating fashion and her vegan and ethical stance on production Isabel paid close attention to fabric choice, ensuring that she selected ethical fabrics that didn’t compromise on the luxurious feel. We love the geometric patterns and overall laid back aesthetic of Isabel’s designs and can’t wait to see them in the flesh at the show.