SCHOOL’S OUT (ALMOST)

It’s that time of year when legions of bright young things start to emerge from the hallowed halls of colleges and universities all around the country and get to make their stab at fashioning the future. Good luck to all of them!

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In my role as Visiting Professor of Fashion Womenswear at the Royal College of Art I have recently been involved in several delightful projects starting with a Fashion Education Panel Discussion in association with SHOWstudio hosted by the ever-lovely Lou Stoppard. The panel also featured Professor Wendy Dagworthy, Head of Programmes and Dean of School of Material at the RCA (sadly Wendy is retiring at the end of this academic year), and RCA alumni Holly Fulton and Matthew Miller. I love how Holly and Matthew represent the diversity of the RCA fashion experience yet how their richly textured tactile work, each superbly showcasing painstakingly handcrafted fabrics, shares a surprising similarity in it’s respect for the workmanship and, dare I say it, a touch of humanity. Being a denim freak how could I not fall for Holly’s Arts & Crafts-style cut-denim appliqué and I am totally obsessed by Matthew’s scrappy rip-it-up-and-start-again stitched designs and his shared usage of words and slogans in the fashion arena. All I can say is watch this space…

Holly Fulton’s denim design (detail from dress)Image

Matthew Miller’s ripped and torn fabric and sloganImageImage

To coincide with the RCA graduation fashion shows I was asked by Wendy to curate a small exhibition in the art college’s Upper Gulbenkian Gallery. Called SIXTEEN, in reference to Wendy’s sixteen-year tenure, it featured, yes, sixteen designers who had attended the RCA. These included Erdem, Aitor Throup, Xiao Li, Zara Gorman, James Long and, of course, Fulton and Miller. The display also featured a fabulous shoe by Georgina Goodman, whom I was lucky enough to schmooze with at the glam RCA Fashion Gala show. It was a joy to catch up with the one-time assistant of one-time i-D fashion editor Caryn Franklin. As part of the exhibit Flora McLean (Tutor in Footwear, Accessories and Millinery at the RCA) very kindly bill posted black and white Xeroxes featuring the work of graduates past and present (Womenswear, Menswear, Footwear, Accessories and Millinery) onto boards at the back of the gallery. Signage was created using black industrial Gaffer tape and a children’s alphabet stencil (both purchased from a pound store in Dalston that was having a half-price closing down sale). Kevin Arpino from Rootstein generously loaned the mannequins.

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I would like to wish all this years graduates a fabulous lifetime in fashion…

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