For me, the highlight of any fashion week has got to be anything to do with fresh graduates and their body of work. Last year I was privileged enough to be able to go to the MSFW RMIT Student Runway. It was such an awe inspiring show, to see a high calibre of designs from final year students showcasing their creations. I might not be able to make it to this year’s LMFF National Graduate Showcase, featuring works from finalists all over Australia, but I did manage to actually meet some of this year’s finalists as well as touch, feel and get to know more about their creations. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?
The moment I stepped into Sketch, I recognised the first design – Chris Ran Lin and his amazing knitwear. His designs were one of my favourites from last year’s MSFW RMIT Student Runway show and it was such an honour for me to be able to have a chat with him.
Chris explained the technique behind one of his designs – incorporating knitted detailing onto fabric. The designs were first laser cut onto the fabric, then using knitting wool, he hand stitched the design onto the fabric. It’s all about amalgamating machine and hand craft together to create something new.
Ju Young Seo is another RMIT graduate and a future designer to watch, with her gorgeous hand crafted detailing on her designs that have been inspired by the intricate detailing of flowers in bloom. Each petal has been infused with threads to create the veins that you would see on a petal.
Taking her inspiration from the model of a fighter plane Tayler Ainley created something that is extraordinarily and not surprisingly aero dynamic. In fact one of her designs incorporated some amazing robotics onto it, which will light up via remote control – amazingly creative! Her designs were actually created off a plan of an actual fighter plane too!
Not into tartan? You might have to re-think that, especially since the ’90s inspired grunge trend is coming back in a big way. Sally Edwards translates the use of tartan in a unique way; making it androgynous and suitable for men or women. She wanted to incorporate traditional suiting without necessarily making it solely for men. So she created “Boys & Girls Are Choice”, aptly named to suit her collection. The tartans that was used in her collection were all sourced from the wool mills of Scotland, each belonging to a clan. Sally has successfully transformed the traditional kilt into a dress – making it wearable for men or women. Well, that’s if you are a man who dared to wear what is known as a dress. I’m not sure who said this but thought I’d share it anyway,
“Until your average male can wear dresses, heels and make-up without a second thought and still identify as a man, we will not have gender equality. “
I thought her pieces were well thought out, and well constructed. The possibilities of wearing them in different ways are endless. My favourite were her Thompson (Hunting) shirt & skirt trousers as well as her Buchanan sleeveless jacket. Sally’s collection would be perfect for the Man Style trend that will be huge this season.
Rica Hardian‘s designs also wowed me with her use of origami, termed Geogami, where each piece has been inspired by the Japanese art of Origami. Rica explained that she had to experiment with each piece because you just don’t know how it will turn out, it’s not something you can just draw and decide how it will look like.
The process is also amazing with heat being applied onto the pieces to create the permanent folds. One of her pieces was in fact transformable – letting you decide the way you want to put the piece together.
Courtney White‘s Utopian Regime collection was inspired by the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Constructivist Art Movement. The influence was evident in the well constructed pieces of her marriage between knit and leather pieces. The gorgeous reds in different dark tones are perfect for the season’s Red trend. She mixes graphic design with the technique used to create knitwear seamlessly to create such amazing pieces. Her collection also seems pretty androgynous to me, with each piece perfectly worn by men or women. I especially loved her layered leather and knit vest, with geometric designs input onto the leather vest itself – little details that are not obvious unless you went up close and personal.
Amelia Agosta was another graduate whose designs I was familiar with. Yet another one from RMIT, whose amazing designs stayed on my mind after watching the MSFW show last year.
Her inspiration came from the decontructivist style of William A Sinton’s “Abstractions”. An amalgamation of architecture and graphic manipulation to create pieces that look more like sculptures. Amelia’s designs composed of repetitive lines and geometries that wrap around the female body. I loved the structured look that actually accentuated the female form.
The final designer I managed to have a chat to was Stephanie McPherson, who also featured in last year’s MSFW RMIT Graduate Runways.
Her designs were inspired by the fragmented glass as you can see from the prints on the pieces. What she did was to actually break different types of glass to see what the formations would look like, incorporating light reflections, shadows and colours to the mix. The result is an amazingly gorgeous mix of colours, shapes and textures on very wearable pieces.
If you would like to see the actual creations from these wonderful graduates, be sure to purchase whatever that’s left of the tickets to Tuesday’s National Graduate Showcase show!