backstage buzz | london fashion week graduate shows


Schön! welcomes you backstage for another London Fashion Week, shot by photographer Jordan Eisbjerg. This time, we’re looking to the future to showcase the up-and-coming designers of Central Saint Martins and the University of Westminster. Current industry trends and explosions of independent inspiration blended in both collections. Ranging from political to spiritual, vintage-influenced to future-breaking, pieces on display showed promise and drummed up excitement for students’ futures in the industry. Here’s a glimpse of what was going on backstage.

University of Westminster BA students making their LFW debut honed their skills over the past year working in the industry, contributing their talents to companies like Burberry, Maison Margiela and Louis Vuitton. As experienced as they are, showing at LFW is still a daunting task for the group; the University of Westminster is the only school to have showcased collections from undergraduates.

With bright ruffles by Bruna Ignatowska and the seafaring swagger of pieces by Glenn Wigham, diverse offerings made this show an intriguing watch. Streetwear by Anna McKernan brought in elements from British youth culture with added internationality – a notable and memorable inclusion in the show.

At the Central Saint Martins show, organised in conjunction with L’Oréal Professional, MA students presented selections of their latest works. Offerings were, as expected, loud, lively and norm-breaking. Some of the more inventive pieces came from Gerrit Jacob. Inlaid in Jacob’s pieces were markers for 5G mixed-reality headsets, ten pairs of which were worn by lucky front-row attendees. For everyone else, TV screens showed a limited preview of what the mixed-reality setup was capable of.

Twenty-four collections were on display, with pieces spanning menswear, womenswear, knitwear and textiles. While crafty and experimental – typically CSM – standouts tempered the evening with careful tailoring and works reacting to the chaos of the present moment.

Show sponsor L’Oréal Professionnel declared Goom Heo and Sheryn Akiki as the co-recipients of its Creative Award. “There were so many good designers but I chose these two specifically because each of their collections [was] layered and narrative-filled,” said guest judge Stavros Karelis, founder and buying director of Machina-A. “Today, it’s not only about a good garment or a good product. For me, it’s not enough for young designers to dream anymore. Now more than ever, they need to share their realities and push for a better tomorrow.”

There were some through lines between the various collections from both schools – the recent rebirth of tailoring has made a clear impact on students, for example. In the face of current Brexit deliberations, internationality was examined and celebrated. Finally, it seems erogenous zones are back at the fashion forefront, with polished codpieces and sensitively-placed slits in multiple pieces across both collections. Overall, works were varied and bold, showing promise for this generation of fashion school grads.

photography. Jordan Eisbjerg
words. Braden Bjella


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