University of Westminster BA Fashion
London Fashion Week A/W 2019 marks the second time the University of Westminster BA Fashion Design students have shown on the official LFW schedule. Westminster is currently the first undergraduate course in the world to showcase their students in the official fashion week schedule. The show took place at Ambika P3, often used as exhibition and fashion week space. The Professor of Fashion Design at UOW Andrew Groves is leading a radical rethink of how fashion education is delivered and has aligned the Westminster course with the international fashion calendar.
This year, fifteen students from all over the world have earned their spot to showcase their collections during London Fashion Week. Each student had to present six final looks as a completed collection between womenswear and menswear. We were given early access to the studios located on campus, days before the show to ask some of the students a few questions about their collections and to document some of the last touches being made. We also went backstage to capture the final looks and model fittings to tell a story of Fashion Design students who will be the shaping the future of British fashion in the upcoming years. As some of you may know, the adrenaline backstage tends to be very high, especially when there’s a group of fifteen young designers showcasing their designs for the very first time. All the stress and emotions running high before the show was worth it, as each student stood out in their own way proving to the industry why this course deserves the place in the official schedule for LFW. The 2019 BA Fashion Design graduates have already worked for brands and companies such as Acne Studios, Alexander McQueen, Celine, Chanel, Liam Hodges, Loewe, Louis Vuitton, Martine Rose, Simone Rocha, Stone Island, Vivienne Westwood and many more.
Eakin’s eccentric and flamboyant Guatemalan cowboy grandfather who wore ‘awkward layering’ with socks over his jeans, cowboy boots and big hats is a major influence in her collection. There’s one specific photo of her grandfather wearing a jacket with ‘a booty’ illustration at the back of it which inspired her to look into Miami Beachwear and Miami Vice from the ’80s with bright colours and graphics mixed with cowboy wear. Experimenting in print and knitwear using her own illustrations and painting elements using thick paint strokes and going back and forward with a company in London specialising in knitwear to produce the ideal thick knit with the right technique for her final collection. Taking elements of bikini’s and placing them onto her garments. Using cow prints mixed with brash 80s colour, ‘Miami Babe’ illustrations and hand paintings are used for ‘awkward’ layering, western tailoring, and illustrative knitwear. Guatemalan craftsmen created distinctive warped sombreros with shapes developed by Eakin herself, highlighting a rapidly disappearing craft of traditional hat making. Her placement year included internships with Proenza Schouler, Vivienne Westwood, and Alexander McQueen.
Having a spare few months back in New York, Fallon found herself exploring the queer scene in the city where she met people who inspired her collection. “This collection started off with me wanting to create six girls who I wish identified as lesbian, who I wish I saw when I was growing up.” She requested an erotica book which was a reaction to the anti-pornographic feminist vibe that was back in the ’80s called “Off-our backs,” where she sourced some of her inspiration from. Her collection is a juxtaposition of sportswear, somewhere in-between femme-butch, soft-hard and sportswear-tailoring. Her outstanding collection is taking inspiration from professional cyclist athlete wear. Fallon’s graduate collection ‘Dyke Sport’ explores butch and femme in lesbian culture, creating a fantasy world. Strong shouldered, dramatic silhouettes embody uncompromising and fierce women; unapologetic in their appearance and sexuality. Psychedelic sportswear, layered high-shine plastic, printed, laser cut Perspex and hand painted fabrics make a bold impact. Her placement year included internships with Thom Browne and Simone Rocha.
Memories of listening to Pink Floyd’s The Wall during childhood and visiting their exhibition at V&A last year inspired Vegas’s darkly dramatic menswear collection. Taking the film as inspiration, Vegas creates six looks, which represent a significant figure in his life. Hard tailoring is subverted with lapels and exaggerated shoulders embodying ‘threatening’ characters – build up in a personal ‘wall.’ He describes his collection as ‘sexy military wear.’ His collection focuses on boots straps and lacing with one of his garments including a men’s jumpsuit with lacing going all down the back. Focusing on restrictions and effort of lacing up a leather boot, which has to be done in a specific way and it is more time consuming than putting on any other shoe. His placement year included internships with Aitor Throup and Berthold.
Inspired by ‘Operation Pedestal’ the mission that saved the besieged island of Malta during WW2, Wigwam’s menswear collection features an archive drawing of his grandad’s ship. It features striking, ‘dazzle camouflage’ prints. Cutting is influenced by archival naval garments, reflecting the chaos of combat. Complex, artisan surfaces are key: appliquéd raw-edge fabric fragments attached with disrupted, decorative stitching, complementing cracked and ‘weathered’ prints. His placement year included internships with Ellen Pedersen and Underground.
Exploration of the great masculine renunciation of the 1800s inspires Goodwin’s collection. Focusing her collection on the era where men’s clothing became less feminine, making a note of details and shapes of clothes worn back then and translating it into more modern garments. Goodwin’s trench-coats and outwear is hard to miss, with overlaying, cut-outs and unusual front length. Her unique trench-coat is long at the back and cropped at the front giving an illusion of a short torso. Victorian etchings are referenced in prints for shirting and jacket linings. Soft natural fabrics of wool, cotton, and denim in muted earth tones are lightened with fresh sky blue. Slim silhouettes merge the traditional with the new: the trench and tailcoat are referenced to create striking, uncompromising shapes. Her placement year included internships with Alexander McQueen and Aitor Throup.
Photos and Words by Liv Jank.