Last Friday the annual showcase of Brighton Fashion Week(end) returned and opened its doors at the All Saints Church in Hove, presenting guests and press with a holy location for this year’s show. With emphasis heavily lying on sustainability this year, the evening was divided into two shows. Opening the night with the “Zeitgeist” show at 6.30pm, the “Sustain Show” followed after a short break. Despite the fact that BFW highly emphasises the importance of eco-friendly fashion, the effort of supporting new and upcoming designers within the industry seems equally as important and that’s what makes it stand out against other big fashion events such as London Fashion Week. The same ethos applies to the models that, despite some known (old doesn’t seem to be the right word here) faces from last year’s show, were new to the catwalk and perhaps even the industry. However, except from a small misstep here and there, it was barely noticeable that most of them were presumably lacking a lot of catwalk experience.
The designer’s collections ranged from rather mainstream sportswear to more outstanding pieces such as a dress that was entirely made out of McDonalds bags and Coca Cola bottles by the new designer Juliette Simon that has been influenced by ‘Lana del Rey’s music’ as officially stated by the Brighton Fashion Week website. Other designers included Angus Tsui, an environmentally aware fashion advocate that not only pays great attention to his eco-friendly designs but even ‘held upcycling workshops and exhibitions’ (BFW, 2015) to spread the importance of sustainability within the industry. However, my personal highlight was by far the menswear collection ‘Formication’ by Scottish-based designer KellyDawn Riot, whose ‘ethical menswear with engineered artisanal prints’ (kellydawnriot.wordpress.com, 2015) managed to leave a long-lasting impression with the audience. The printed textiles which ‘are done through her own sketching’ aim ‘to create pieces of wearable art that will continue to inspire’ (BFW, 2015). It is clearly visible that ‘Formication’, similar to her graduate collection ‘Every blooming thing’, was inspired by ‘naturalist illustrators and forward thinking icons of the past’ (BFW, 2015) and although those prints seem outstanding and perhaps a little risky at first, a confident male could definitely rock those prints in everyday life.
All in all, the show succeeded to impress not only me but seemingly the whole audience. While I enjoyed the combination of extravagant one-off pieces with rather wearable fashion (that alibi-fashionistas like me could wear), I especially loved the ethos behind Brighton Fashion Week: to support young designers that not only fight to be recognised within the industry but doing so by raising awareness about the importance of sustainability.
By Nina Molnar