It seems it just passed yesterday but yes, time speeds by and this week we’ll see London’s Royal College of Art send its fashion students forward to the next stage.
The show itself witnesses all machinations of the program take to the catwalk in a combustion of menswear, knitwear, millinery and womenswear. With past alumni including the likes of Christopher Bailey, Astrid Andersen, Matthew Miller and James Long its set in stone that these walk outs are ones to watch. And here we’ve taken it upon ourselves to choose our edit of the men’s talents, setting their masterpieces to our beat before they kick off in front of the big audience.
Grab the nearest screen, jump to SHOWstudio’s live stream and witness the next generation of fashion talents do their thing before they’re major stuff. There are 46 of them this time and not one of them the same, and that’s the point.
Angela Roper from South Norfolk, UK
“One of the fondest memories I have of my family is the long rack of coats and jackets hanging in the dairy at ‘The Farm.’ My work originates from my grandfather’s military service in World War II as a Prisoner of War in Burma. This experience intertwines with my childhood memories of him dressed in workwear when farming in the Norfolk countryside. I was interested in merging of the two, questioning the flatness of the hanging garments and the purpose-built military uniforms. This has informed my design process, silhouettes, techniques and authenticity of my work.
The process which has really impacted on this collection is the shrinkage of each garment and then bleaching the material. The removal of colour to creates something new, not allowing something to be given but making it your own, another element of the collection is making do and mending, using surplus military garments and giving them a new lease of life. My favourite piece is the Trench Coat, the reason being that the garment feels strong but references a fragile moment. I really wish my grandfather was still here with me, to wear some of these garments, despite the fact that he would now be 96 he would give it a go!
After I graduate, I would like to slowly build my own business, hopefully I will be able to secure some stockists and do consultancy for larger brands. I would really enjoy working with, say Levi’s as I really want to continue to discover authentic workwear techniques, specialising mainly in cottons and denims.”
Nneka Okorie from West Yorkshire, UK
“The collection is titled That Boy is a Hero and it captures the energy and the vibrancy of the transformation from a boy to a man. Surrounded by evil and faced with a choice: a young boy takes his destiny into his own hands and refuses to conform to the darkness. As the boy transforms he is driven by all the things that he loves and the hope he has for the future. Conversations with my brother inspired the initial inspiration. His own experiences of puberty were full of stories of extreme emotion and energy, there was a constant battle of anger versus calm. Graphic novels also inspire the way I illustrate and combine colours. I like to outline block colours in black to make them more vivid and and maintain boldness.”
Kathryn McGee from London, UK
“I love Elton John and the impact he has had on the music and fashion industry, so I imagined a future dystopian world, where Elton John is a global dictator and forcing everyone to dress like he used to in the 70s, seemed pretty great at first, but there would always be anarchy. It was the idea of that, that excited me most. The creation of a new sub-culture against Elton John. How new identities would be created using only what they had to hand. Glam rock, Bryan Ferry, Jay and Silent Bob, Happy Mondays, Muse, Alan Watts. Having the influence of all the great people here who help unlock the madness. I like the things I can just make up as I go along, having that freedom is what I enjoy most. I would love to see Bryan Ferry in the jacquard/rubber biker trousers just having a casual smoke against a wall. After I graduate I want to celebrate and then real world. It is important to keep and open mind I think. I have lots of different ideas, but the ideal would be to just keep going.”
Fengchen Wang from Beijing, China
“My graduate collection is inspired by my father’s story. He was diagnosed with liver cancer and had an operation last summer, my memories of him in hospital are black and white. The wound of this experience is healing with time; and this hope in life is the colour green to me. The black jacket is my favourite piece. There are zippers to connect pieces together, like an open wound healing. The silhouette was developed from the liver’s shape. The lining is dark green. The back design is well developed with a bigger size zip. The structure and function of this jacket is very interesting because it can be worn in different ways. The shining black materials give a futuristic and modern finish. I would love to see Jake Bugg wearing my pieces. At the beginning of my design process, when I was drawing, I was listening Jake Bugg’s music, he brings something special to me. ‘Clash hailed the ‘precocious talent fusing retro folk with blistering contemporary rock riffs.’ Since inspired by my personal story to work out a real garment for my boy, his song is one of the element to takes me to my real boy world.
After I graduate I want to be based in London and create my own line. London is a city that after I leave I still want to come back. Sometimes I hate this city, but still love it. To launch my own line will be really hard and I have a long way to go. It is not only about designing, but also money, team, business, production, sales and so on. I am not afraid, I am preparing everything, I have confidence, I know I can do it and I believe in my future, just because I am who I am.”
Dan Fradgley from Birmingham, UK
“This collection titled Somatoparaphrenia is an exploration into personal expressions and distortions of the male body. Since I can remember I have been obsessed with horror B movies, in particular body horror and the works of David Cronenberg – this has had a huge impact on my visual language and the energy and mood of the collection. Through techniques of joining garments I have developed methods in which the items themselves can be worn in several different ways. The wearer then chooses how to distort or manipulate their own body. Reinforcing this with fabrication techniques that provide a sense of post punk subcultural aggression. The only main change within my design process has been the way I have handled the fabrication techniques and the finish of my garments; in the beginning the main driving force for my work was the cut and distortion, I then pushed myself into a darker headspace and started becoming more aggressive with what I was producing, more raw with finish, my men are the antagonists not the protagonists. Every piece that I work on at that time becomes my favourite while I’m making it so its hard to say, however there is a biker jacket that was such a labour of love that I’m pretty sure once I get to stand back and see the collection for what it is, that’s gonna be the one. There are so many people out there I would love to see wearing my pieces, but in particular a young Peter Murphy in a pair of my stretch leather patchwork trousers. Tall, skinny and so pale he’s almost see-through. I love how other-worldly looking he is, like a beautiful contorted alien. My plans for after I graduate are to celebrate, rest, then get straight back to doing what I love doing; designing and making clothes.”
The RCA Fashion 2015 catwalk shows are Wednesday 3rd and Thursday 4th June. Tonight’s show will be streamed live by SHOWstudio, watch it here.
ADDITIONAL FASHION CREDITS
Model: Gaby at Tomorrow Is Another Day
Make up and grooming: Ruth Brophy using Mac
Styling credits (worn throughout): Vest by Sunspel, trainers by Adidas