Fashion

Tomorrow, London’s Royal College of Art (RCA) will host its annual fashion show spotlighting the creative output of its students as they prepare to step into the world.

Encompassing menswear, womenswear, knitwear and millinery, the runway is the culmination of months of imagination and innovation, each student drawing from an array of influences to realise their final collection. Following in the footsteps of famed alumni Christopher Bailey, James Long, Neil Barrett, Astrid Andersen and Matthew Miller, among these young creatives are the rising stars of tomorrow.

Here, we’ve selected our edit from this year’s graduating menswear designers.

Charlotte McDonald

Where did the inspiration for your collection come from?
“A transient space between body and garment. My younger brother is in the military and I also have other close family members who have chosen this route. This has grounded me in many ways to understand and research into the role of masculinity today through various outlets and forms of communication. I am very susceptible to my surroundings, my experiences and those of others have definitely helped shaped and influence my design process. My body of work is a result of codes, symbols, very much focusing on on this restrictive uniform and presence of identity. Boy and Man. Single and within a group. 

It is corporeal, human. A documentation of  my personal perspicacity through curation of video, sound, garments, which accumulatively bring the hazed and complexities of life into a still precious juncture. A common thread running and racing through our bodies like a live wire, igniting with every person we meet and everything we touch.”

What fabrics and/or techniques were you keen to explore?
“Radio Frequency Welding. This process was what I began to explore through constant sampling and trials. An electromagnetic current is used to permanently weld the layers of materials together. This energy is what I aim to create in all areas of my work. I bonded rubber and denim together, in an aim to combine the rawness with the idea of weightlessness.”

“I have built an archive of recordings and documentations, interviews with young men.”

Who would you like to see wearing your collection?
“The way I work and the method of this is very instinctive. I have built an archive of recordings and documentations, interviews with young men. There is not a particular individual or group I could necessarily indicate – it is pure. A common thread of young individuals today who are receptive to their experiences.” 

What excites you about the future?
“The idea that ‘Fashion’ will escape its restrictions and constructs. New construction techniques such as the RF welding open up so much possibility for how we perceive the making process of garments.  

COMMUNITY. With the current state in our post-truth era society it’s about building yourself up and what you believe in through the people you surround yourself with. This is how change will happen.”

 

 

Ellie Rousseau

Where did the inspiration for your collection come from?
“The title of my collection is STATE ’08; it is a tribute to my friends and a nostalgic reflection of growing up in Manchester and the underground rave scene. Northern youth culture, as seen through a selection of nostalgic photographs, narrated my depiction of the stages of youth maturity, escapism through club culture and the mental repercussions of this. I realistically and metaphorically documented these times through the graphics and distressed state of the garments.”

“It is a tribute to my friends and a nostalgic reflection of growing up in Manchester and the underground rave scene.”

What fabrics and/or techniques were you keen to explore?
“I constructed the garments with a distressed, patchwork aesthetic to create a disheveled style code and depict the STATE’08 concept. 

I wanted to have a graphic impact through my knitted garments and patches, so I worked with the Shima Seiki machine to produce different jacquards inspired by patterns seen in my old photographs. Having received the Kaihara denim sponsorship, it was incredible to work with Japanese premium selvedge denim. I used denim of a variety of weights (23.25oz, 14oz, 13.75oz) which I laundered and distressed to reflect the physical and mental recklessness of escapism through club culture. It was interesting to see the effects and different qualities inflicted across the fabrics post-bleaching, dyeing, fraying, sanding, grating…”

Who would you like to see wearing your collection?
“Mancunians! My mates.. my boyfriend.. they inspired the collection. I wanted to reflect a community, attitude, era, so anyone who can relate to that.”

What excites you about the future?
“I’m excited about the possibilities of travel, being a creative, collaborating with others, exploring the world!”

 

 

Per Hansson

Where did the inspiration for your collection come from?
“Wearing a sports tee in a mosh pit…

Influences come from my interests which are music, internet culture and gaming. As a result my work is informed and takes form by these references. At times literal, other times abstracted, and many times collided.

My trousers are convertible and transcendent…

This is a result of the democratisation of sharing and partaking in music culture, communities and content through internet, and how that intertwines with our “real life” and experiences. At the same time, it is about aspiring for something grander, renting a Lamborghini and refilling that fake bottle of Rémy Martin with water… How hard can a 808 kickdrum hit?”

“It’s about aspiring for something grander, renting a Lamborghini and refilling that fake bottle of Rémy Martin with water…”

What fabrics and/or techniques were you keen to explore?
“I have explored how zipper systems combined with pattern-cutting can create new functions and silhouettes within double layered Jeans and Cargo trousers. What happens when you unzip this and zip it onto that? What does it do to the silhouette? What does it say?

The creative process for this developed very organically and is something that I would like to explore further. Most of the fabrics are heavily treated, like the needle-punched shredded rib jersey for the t-shirts and the layered mesh-printed fabrics of some of the trousers. The mesh-print is a D.I.Y. technique I found out about on Youtube. I found a weird channel by military enthusiasts where they spray paint their fake AK-47s to give them a snakeskin paint job and thought it was the perfect reference for my collection.”

Who would you like to see wearing your collection?
“My friends, they would wear it well. Would also be cool to see Kanye sport some of my trousers. He is GOAT and even though I miss the old Kanye the new Kanye is alright.”

What excites you about the future?
“Continuing to do work that excites me by getting on that Eurostar to get a proper job. Also excited seeing models on flying jet hover-boards geared up in my neoprene cowboy boots and zip convertible trousers. Much fun!”

 

 

Lucy Haugh
Clothes by Lucy Haugh

Where did the inspiration for your collection come from?
“From taking photos of myself wrapped in a tent to making a soft, hanging sculpture that I recorded fellow students moving in. My work is born from the performance of making itself, observing and using the results of these performances to spark design ideas.”

What fabrics and/or techniques were you keen to explore?
“As a knitwear specialist, I’ve always been interested in the interaction between a knitted fabric and a woven.  The two are not often directly combined in garments and this interests me.  I found that by instinctively attaching knit panels directly to a nylon or cotton woven, I could create voluminous shapes using the stretch and structure of the knit. This process of make formed the basis of my collection.”

Who would you like to see wearing your collection?
“It would be the most amazing thing to pass a complete stranger on the street wearing my clothes. Someone unexpected, someone that injects extra life into my garments.”

What excites you about the future?
“The unknown.  I have the next few weeks until graduation planned out but after that I’m excited to see what opportunities and challenges come my way.”

 

 

Bianca Saunders

Where did the inspiration for your collection come from?
“I selectively chose to interview male friends that challenge the stereotypes of hyper masculinity and how that is internalised. I realised in my previous work earlier at the RCA  I became very focused on the hyper side  of black masculinity which isn’t that progressive.

So, I recorded these interviews featuring Kareem Reid who has become a big part of my collection. What he had to say in his interview was really powerful and gave me a lot to think about when it comes to black masculinity. I found it interesting how the other characters in my research film reacted to being questioned it showed signs of vulnerability. I used the reactions to the questions to title the collection Personal Politics – as its about these personal conversations with black masculinity in reaction to their personal style that leads these characters to be challenged.”

“I love Dev Hynes’s music and vibe. I have listened to his most recent album throughout making this collection.”

What fabrics and/or techniques were you keen to explore?
“I chose to work with a lot of fabrics that my male friends were wearing in the initial research film that I made. Sweatshirt cotton jersey, denim, leather and waterproof nylons.

I was sponsored by Johnston of Elgin, for the grey cashmere wool and the suit jacket. I wanted use fabrics of high quality to elevate the collection.

I used a lot of drape techniques to utilise the carriage pleat idea. I was inspired by the juxtaposition of traditional sculptures of man and the new sculpture of artists like Thomas J price. There is  an image by Harley Weir take of Young Thugs Hand around the Bust. This image basically sums up my collection. The colour scheme and use of gold. The drape around the sculpture.”

Who would you like to see wearing your collection?

“Dev Hynes from Blood Orange. I love his music and his vibe. I have listened to his most recent album throughout making this collection.”

What excites you about the future?
“The opportunities to come.”

 

 

Rhiannon Wakefield

Where did the inspiration for your collection come from?
“I am fascinated by the way graphics and colour interact on the body when it moves. I’m particularly interested in camouflage, disruptive patterns and visual trickery. I’ve explored this through a series of live experiments using light, paint and textiles on the body in combination with experimental photography.”

What fabrics and/or techniques were you keen to explore?
“The results of these experiments inspired me to explore different fabric innovations. Based on that research, I developed a kinetic textile which reacts and responds to body movement. I believe it is essential to understand and appreciate the dynamic that exists between textile and garment: the harmony and interaction of these two is what makes every piece completely unique to its purpose. The relationship between garment and wearer creates a distinct yet transitory reaction with every movement.”

Who would you like to see wearing your collection?
“I think it is less about a specific customer or look, and more about the mindset. I want people to be interested in the process of producing each piece and how they as a wearer become part of that process. The garments react to the wearer, so each person has their own unique and personal experience – that is really important for me. The act of wearing the garment becomes part of the design itself. I would like everyone to experience that.”

What excites you about the future?
“That anything can happen. I’ve spent the last two years in a something of a bubble: concentrating solely on my own creative concepts. That was great, but now is the time to take my work into the real world and to see what kind of impact I can have. I would love to work for a company with the infrastructure and technological freedom to develop the ideas and designs that I have started to prototype.”

 

 

Amar Jonsson
Clothes by Amar Jonsson

Where did the inspiration for your collection come from?
“Society, landscapes and humans in my surroundings, more specifically recreating a wardrobe of and for the people around me. Channeling and investing the tribal energies that are created within a group. The energies are the following, pure, future, ghost and suboptimal.”

What fabrics and/or techniques were you keen to explore?
“The fabrics I used derived from the existing wardrobe of the people around me, like denim jersey and technical outerwear fabric and then the fabrics I believe work for the future wardrobe like nylon cashmere and comfortable synthetic fabrics. I explored poetic solutions with my techniques deriving from the energies stated above and a further investigation into how to do them through sportswear.”

Who would you like to see wearing your collection?
“My friends.”

What excites you about the future?
“My next project and Liverpool being in the champions league.”

RCA Fashion 2016 shows at 7.30pm tomorrow, Thursday 8th June at 2 Chance Street, London, E1 6JT