Bright Young Things

...Westminster does its heritage proud

by Alice Kelleher
For me graduate fashion week isn’t just about clothes, or about the specific designs, what I personally love most about GFW is how the students navigate tomorrow’s trends. For example, Westminster University has shaped the British fashion industry beyond comprehension. Bringing us the likes of Christopher Bailey, Stuart Vevers and of course Vivienne Westwood, Westminster has rarely let us down. And so, I headed to the GFW Westminster show with much anticipation, as if there predecessors are anything to go by, then these students should definitely be the ones to watch.

So I watched, and admired the many collections displayed, which were a definite cut above average. Each collection was alternative and eclectic, with many influences being thrown into the mix. And then came Albertine Tucknott. Call me a traditionalist if you will, but I loved her collection. As the lights dimmed and the crowd went silent we all knew we were about to witness something special. And we did. An eclectic mix of lighting and music created a serene mood, which was lifted with a gasp from the audience as the lights came up. What we were faced with was a group of completely head turning, eye catching designs. The deep reds mixed with the golden yellows created a type of fashion fit for royalty. Classic with incredible detail, Albertine created pieces which reflected timeless modern beauty. Wonderful.

So, after viewing a few of the shows at GFW I got to thinking about the students who don’t get to showcase their designs on the catwalk. As not everyone gets that opportunity, I decided to check out some students work who didn’t make it to GFW and as a result I discovered ‘The promenade’, a collection designed by Ellen Eugenie, a 22 year old graduate from Leeds college of Art and design. The main reason I want to focus on her collection is that I loved the concept. Her main influence was the high couture of the British sea side holiday, when it was a focal point of our culture as would have been featured in 1950’s Black pool or Brighton. She predicted that in the face of an economic downturn, we British folks would turn our heads back to the traditional British holidays. And she’d be right. Think forward to a British summer break 2010, and think outfits. If you’re anything like me this will create a major wardrobe dilemma. So Ellen has solved our dilemmas by mixing up a collection which she describes as “a riot of exuberant brights and a dusting of soft metallic’s” making our sea side breaks that little more colorful. British and colourful? I love it.

I also recently went to see the Nottingham and Trent’s final year fashion show, where I was told by one of the students they had to raise the 20,000 pounds themselves in order to put their final year show on, as the post recession era meant the university could no longer afford to fund it. And this was clearly a determined bunch of kids as they raised the funds, fab. And boy, what a show they put on. I was particularly interested in Sheri Matthews and her designs which were based on ‘a celebration of nature; limited to boxed segments of the city’ representing a natural look with an edgy city feel. Classic and wearable, I liked Sheri’s designs as it has the all important wearable factor which can be hard to find amidst the wacky outfits often displayed on the catwalk.

So there we have it. Another year of fabulous fashion graduates which will translate onto tomorrow’s high street. So whether you’re looking for evening wear with that bit of WOW factor, something to add a splash of colour to your British summer holiday or a something to add an edge feel to your everyday summer wardrobe, these Kids really have got it covered.