Creative edge

Meet the standout RCA menswear fashion graduates set to rip up the catwalk
Fashion | 9 June 2016
Photography Harry Clark
Grooming Nick Jones
Above:

RCA graduate collections 2016

As students across the country prepare to step foot into the ‘outside world’, the Royal College of Art’s latest batch of graduates have been busy preparing their final collections.

Boasting an illustrious alumni including Christopher Bailey, Neil Barrett, James Long, Matthew Miller and Astrid Andersen, the RCA show consistently proves to be a hotbed for emerging talent. And this year’s line-up is no different, pulling creations from across diverse mediums and themes.

Here is our edit of this year’s graduating menswear designers. Take note and watch this space…

Laetitia Berthier

GALLERY

Where did the inspiration for your collection come from?
“The charming villains are humanists and magicians, they blur the boundaries between past and future, bodies and spaces,” says Laetitia Berthier. “They are the ghosts of my authentic memories and fantasise realities.”

What fabrics and/or techniques were you keen to explore?
“I collaborated with my friend Anna Duthie (MA textile print – RCA 2016) to develop prints which materialise memories of the design process. Most of the fabrics are hand dyed which allowed a better control of the colours and brought homogeneity within the collection.”

Who would you like to see wearing your collection?
“I believe charming villains are from past, present and future. They are travellers and live – or lived – in Tokyo, Paris, Helsinki, Dakar, London, etc. I imagine Vincent Cassel, my friend Nolan, Charles Baudelaire and Napoleon together dressed as charming villains, waiting for it to happen.”

What excites you about the future?
“The unknown really excites me, the potentialities of 100 different lives. I want to carry on developing clothes, dressing people, collaborating with others, travelling. I can see myself working for various companies and people as long as we are both challenge to bring something new to each other.”

Sanglak Shon

GALLERY

Where did the inspiration for your collection come from?
“My design perception is all about casual and self-sensual feelings,” says Sanglak Shon. “I create garments for real life because the core reason for wearing garments is to tempt the viewer and reveal a sensual appearance. I focused on mood by using real-life sensual textures for my final collection.”

What fabrics and/or techniques were you keen to explore?
“I selected fabrics that are more related to sensuality such as lace, thin jersey, and socks. I re-allocated fabric in a time-consuming and repetitive, to me, the idea of repetition is perverted.”

Who would you like to see wearing your collection?
“Personally, I have dark skin and a lean body mass and naturally I am known to be “chilled-out”. This reflects in the overall collection. Also causal is key.”

What excites you about the future?
“The date when the visa expires.”

Bella Macleod

GALLERY

Where did the inspiration for your collection come from?
“My 2016 collection was inspired by the intimacy of clothing, of how the garments we wear touch our bodies and sexuality,” explains Bella Macleod. “This idea developed from reading the writings of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, especially the quote, ‘Since the same body sees and touches, visible and tangible belong to the same world.’ I constructed the garments around hidden pieces so that when you wear them there is this anticipation of what to expect from your clothing. My collection is also inspired by the elegance and femininity of my boyfriend, whose masculine beauty is something I am always continually in awe of.”

What fabrics and/or techniques were you keen to explore?
“I was interested in corsetry techniques, and moulding different fabrics, in particular elastic. This is what all of my collars were constructed from. I also took a lot of inspiration from tailoring techniques, in particular hand sewing.”

Who would you like to see wearing your collection?
“My boyfriend would be a good start – a man who has an elegance beyond grooming.”

What excites you about the future?
“Continuing to make clothes and people not just wearing them but keeping them for a very long time.”

Niels Gundtoft Hansen

GALLERY

Where did the inspiration for your collection come from?
“My heritage as a Dane and the fact that I can’t let go of my childhood,” says Niels Gundtoft Hansen.

What fabrics and/or techniques were you keen to explore?
“I developed rust and grim looking fabrics alongside side with wet asphalt and oily rubber surfaces to demonstrate the Nordic environment.”

Who would you like to see wearing your collection?
“Boys and girls.”

What excites you about the future?
“I’m very excited about the ITS competition in July, my show during Copenhagen Fashion Week in August and the fact that I will have a show in the middle of the Atlantic sea arranged by Cunard Cruise Company.”

Elsa Ellies and Miles Dunphy: ONEBYME

GALLERY

Where did the inspiration for your collection come from?
“The inspiration for the collection is really about the coming together of us as one,” explain Elsa Ellies and Miles Dunphy of their influences. “It has really been a turbulent, but exciting year for all of us! The collection is the collision of our two worlds, a place where high-end couture gets pummelled by urban grime. Our aim this year was to find a path that made sense for us with the longer-term vision in mind – life after the RCA. So our MA Collection is really the birth of our business, ONEBYME. All garments were created by cutting ONE piece of cloth. The fact that each garment is constructed by stitching two or three seams means that there is a sense of fluidity around the body – the wearer does not feel restricted, there is room to breathe and move. This was a really important aspect for us, we wanted to create garments that enable, not disable, the person living in our pieces. For us, beauty is honest. We wanted to build a collection that ultimately embodied an honesty that allows people to wear our clothes effortlessly.”

What fabrics and/or techniques were you keen to explore?
“We were really blessed to receive full textile sponsorship from John England Irish Linens. So we worked closely with them to create the perfect cloth and we even visited the mill to gain insights into how the cloth was woven. For us, we love getting immersed into the whole design process – from beginning to end.  We are really hands on and grow things organically in studio, almost breathing life into things as we craft garments through the various stages of design realisation.

All our prints are screen-printed by hand.  We wanted to create textures and layers, almost becoming a reflection of how we are together, definitely not one dimensional. We love engaging people. We like keeping it real and opening up the dialogue and hearing everyone’s thoughts. Power to the people!”

Who would you like to see wearing your collection?
“Pioneers who aren’t afraid of challenges. People with passion. Those who may be the leaders in their industries, or just starting out. But what unites us is passion. In the end, it really is about empowering people.”

What excites you about the future?
“ONEBYME addresses the ever so changing social, political and economic landscape and re-builds a new fashion system. We will be submitting an application to InnovationRCA’s Incubator Programme to mentor us through the process of rolling out our exciting business model. It would be an amazing opportunity to get mentored by some of the greats across various disciplines.”

Luke Mitchell Stevens

GALLERY

Where did the inspiration for your collection come from?
“An examination of the habitual, the everyday, the banal and the ubiquitous,” says Stevens. “My graduate collection is titled ‘Cabbages’ – taken from a manufacturing term used to describe garments made out of over-ordered/surplus material in a factory.”

What fabrics and/or techniques were you keen to explore?
“I worked primarily with materials I had  to hand or were available to me for free. The scaffolding net came from building work outside my house, the upholstery fabric and foam came from my chair in the studio… A majority of these materials can’t be sewn so each new material had to be approached in a new way. All the Mylar pieces are constructed using double sided sellotape, for example. Others are held together with Kimble tags.”

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

What excites you about the future?
“Having the time to organise a plumber to come fix my broken shower.”

 

 

Kirstie Lee Eells

GALLERY

Where did the inspiration for your collection come from?
“Inspiration came from the boys of my youth and the suppression of their personal identity I see today due to the image they have felt expected to project within their working environment,” says Kirstie Lee Eells. “That transition between working functionality into their own personality after the working day – from days spent in trackies, sweatshirt tops and steel toe caps to nights of super backcombed hair, eyeliner and girlfriends jeans.”

What fabrics and/or techniques were you keen to explore?
“My fabrication is generally very denim-led. I then continue to translate the finish into my other fabrics, especially my knit pieces. I mainly tackle knitwear as a woven garment, often leading to hybrids of knit and woven pieces.”

Who would you like to see wearing your collection?
“People I would never expect. And Ty Segall.”

What excites you about the future?
“Not to travel to Kensington anymore! No, I am looking forward to setting up my studio, starting a new collection and continuing collaborations with friends. Also some time to enjoy London over the summer!”

RCA Fashion 2016 shows today, Thursday 9th June, at 5.30pm and 7.30pm.

Model: SAM MARRIOTT at SUPA

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