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REVIEW: University of Brighton, Graduate Fashion Week ‘18 @ The Old Truman Brewery, 05/06/2018

The Verse’s Chloe Lawrence attends The University of Brighton’s graduate student fashion show at Graduate Fashion Week on 5th June 2018.

Heading away from the sunny confines of our ‘oh so familiar’ Brighton, our own graduate fashion students showcased their final year collections at Graduate Fashion Week. GFW is a student lead annual event providing the current year’s fashion and textile student graduates the opportunity to present their collections to the world, before they enter employment (often with the possibility of being scouted at the event!)

The event was vibrant, varied and very popular as hundreds attended. Widespread media coverage and over twenty universities showcased at the event. Huge brand names such as Burberry and Jasper Conran attend these runway shows. The students worked in hope of impressing these renowned brands. Major brands such as M&S and Swarovski sponsored this year’s event which indicates the prestige, along with the renowned Henry Holland and Diane Von Furstenberg acting as GFW ambassadors. Phoebe Lettice Thompson, an extremely successful photography grad from Brighton and creative director of Illustrated People, attended as Digital Ambassador. It was extremely exciting having one of our alumni chosen as an ambassador for GFW

Cleverly thought out…

Held in the Truman Brewery, London’s oldest and largest Brewery located in Shoreditch, the edgy white brick walled location promises a blank canvas with a youthful alternative edge. Within the Brewery lies an enormous three-story exhibition hall where each attending university set up a stand where their portfolios and designs are displayed for up-close inspection. The designs of each university reflect their graduate’s collections with wacky colours, signs and props on display. As anticipated, Brighton hosted a magnificent baby pink stand giving leverage to the city’s bold, yet open, approach to fashion. The stand was a hub of activity, and most probably the busiest area of the exhibition hall when I visited their stand (slight bias as it was Brighton’s exhibition day…

Cleverly thought out, Brighton articulated their space by providing an entire wall space of cardboard cutout models wearing their designs. Although it would have been nicer to have seen more of the collection in real life, the cutouts represented the wear of the garment. This was rather than showing it draped over a hanger as other universities had uninventively displayed their designs. As a disclaimer: I attended Brighton’s exhibition space an hour before their runway show it may have been possible their designs were backstage by this point

Molly Bray’s Collection.

Starting in true ‘Brightonian’ style (fifteen minutes late…), Molly Bray’s collection opened the show with a vibrant orange, yellow, pink and teal array of garments. Constructed from a polyester waterproof-like material, the collection evoked an unnatural fire hazard feel. She used ropes and ties, draped skirts and cut out segments on the main body of clothing. The collection was extremely contemporary, making use of unusual silhouettes. The collection providing an elegance to often overlooked waterproof materials. Creating chic shapes from a material we would commonly associate with practical rain jackets, Bray rejuvenated sophistication as stark coloured with a shift shape adorned with cut out segments. The block coloured tie up heeled sandals which resembled hair benders (90’s kids will know) enhanced the fun of the collection complimenting the tie details of the garments.

Eloise Hanikene’s Collection.

Eloise Hanikene provided a new edge to Medieval garments experimenting with old-fashioned necklines, puff sleeves and the bodice. Her dark green, black and nature medievally inspired patterns were an unusual blast from the past (perhaps not our own). Combining a range of periodical dress elements, Hanikene showcased an eclectic mix of garments. Bringing the expected scandal to old-fashioned necklines and sleeves, the designer placed a modern twist on tapestry patterns adorned with little woodland creatures. Fusing classic with contemporary. The collection used sports silhouettes such as hooded cropped jackets, chain belts and sports shorts, with old English colours and styles such as long draped sleeves. Hanikene transported contemporary sportswear back 400 years. If this isn’t completely crazy yet super cool, I’m not sure what is.

Isabelle Kowalski’s Collection.

A delightfully airy contrast to the collections prior, Isabelle Kowalski’s underwear as outerwear styled garments took on a feminine, soft yet sexy aesthetic. Combining warming colours such as peach and yellow, the collection was very refreshing. She articulated leather and lace in an innocent rather than scandalous manner. Also,the collection drew parallels to Celine’s SS18 ready to wear garments. Kowalski’s collection is perfect for the grown-up girly girl looking for a delicate yet alluring look. Her designs were appealing through their modern approach to the pretty lace aesthetic by combining an edgy leather element. Who would have thought that leather could ever be so delicate, so well behaved? This was quite possibly the prettiest collection I’d seen all week.

Anna Chandler’s Collection.

Brighton is renowned for its fabulous seaside city atmosphere. So, it was promising to see the evident influence of Brighton’s beach within Anna Chandler’s collection. Despite the stern English Channel being cold and uninviting all year round, Chandler articulated the seaside’s harsher elements beautifully. Her garments were bold, embracing the female form and the South coast. The collection married the two formations. Creating sea coloured woven dresses complete with cage crinolines resembling fishing nets or seaweed. Chandler’s colour palette was incredibly reminiscent of Brighton’s beach and the Southern Coast, using rusty brows, turquoise and greys.

Congratulations Hannah Gibbins…

As anticipated, Brighton put on a magnificent graduate show. Each collection differed dramatically from the next. An obvious amount of blood, sweat and tears had been dedicated to each and every garment. Also, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Hannah Gibbins from the University of Brighton! Hannah was awarded the Debenhams Menswear Award. We look forward to seeing all these creative visionaries’ careers unfold, and what next year’s graduates have to show!

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