Regent’s University London’s Graduate Fashion Show 2017: In Omnia Paratus (Ready for Anything)

If you didn’t press pause on your tireless studying, cheekily leave or skip work early to attend the Regent’s University London 2017 Graduate Fashion Show, you would have sincerely missed out on a defining moment not only for the class of 2017, Regent’s BA Fashion Design graduates but equally, the future of the fashion industry. The lucky eleven graduating students not only displayed showmanship but sheer talent and craftsmanship in tailoring, pattern cutting and technique.

The general motif that seemed to carry through the collections was a sense of untamed but tailored deconstruction and juxtaposition, for instance a sliced ballerina tulle dress with an up-cycled cropped military jacket.

Who knew that the uncharacteristically warm, sunny and dare I say pleasant British weather prevailed on this very day, Thursday the 11th May 2017, as a premonition to the sensational fashion show that was to come. The event took place in East London’s most famous fashion street Brick Lane in the Truman Brewery. The open plan industrial concreted floor space was precisely the perfect stomping ground for the models to leave shoe sole impressions on while walking the runway. The runway was lit up by, not only over-head lights, but also glowing blue and white halogen fluorescent tubes hanging vertically throughout the space.

Backstage at 6:00 pm there was not an air or even a whiff of chaos. The models were changing in and out of gowns and doing final run-throughs of their catwalk. The second year BA Fashion Design students all took a part in dressing the models and ensuring all went to plan backstage.

Fashionably late, or should we say building anticipation, the show started at 7:15 pm. Families, friends, peers, teachers and illustrious guests all made their way to sit along the benches. The show opened with Alisa Grant’s collection “The Har”, which refers to the fog from the sea that creates mist. This was the atmosphere and inspiration for her reinterpretation of ‘grunge’. The six piece collection was composed of fabric manipulation and tartan. Frayed seams and over-bleached material defined a much crisper grunge look, a put together grunge. Alisa’s collection shape and form was draped, slouchy, oversized, and hung off the shoulder. The fabric manipulation resembled denim its light blue colour, but with a fog like weight. The tartan blossomed underneath the outerwear in the form of collared, loose and easy to wear A-line dresses.

Nigerian designer, Yemisi Abraham’s graduate collection titled “The Sands” is a riveting exploration of the relationship between men and women. The concept was derived from the conceptualisation of a shared closet between sexes. Yemisi’s garments featured romantic and streetwise sensibility. An everyday bomber jacket, trench coat and hoodies had been re-designed, re-fashioned and re-escalated to break those gender stereotypes. The collection’s core-sewing and fabric construction resembled gothic architectural codes. The diverse cohesion of the garments demonstrated range and tailoring perfection.

As soon as Johanna Mae Deguzman Carillo’s collection appeared out on the runway it fostered the whole audience’s attention. The collection titled “Grandmother’s chair” is an ode to the 1980’s. “I love the 80’s, it was a really fun era, I’m a huge Star Wars fan! In the 80s structural geometric designs were a part of any product design with bold colours. The Memphis Group a product design company served as a great inspiration for me, their stool ‘The Flamingo’ with the black and white checkered pattern served as my main in muse for the collection.” The British designer’s bold use of colour cutouts featuring black and white stripes and checks brought a vibrancy and joviality, and remarkable showmanship. So what’s next Johanna? She plans to travel the world and learn traditional crafts from different countries and delve into volunteer work.

From the vitality of Johanna’s show, we crossed the bridge to a completely different spectrum and mood, Melancholia. Lamine Aitchegou’s collection is a visual definition of betrayal. His collection was a personal diary, “The collection is a rendering of emotional states, some of which I was going through myself, and I kind of forced them into my design.” Lamine’s use of tulle, lace, feathers and some hand sewn chain embodied the mood. Black tulle veils covered the models, in one look head to toe. “I listened to a lot of Lana del Rey and certain Beyonce songs from her Lemonade album and it helped me cope and master the collection.” Lamine is British born French and Arabic and plans to jet right off to Dubai with his current momentum and set up his brand there and expand in the Middle East, with further goals of expansion in Paris, France, in the future.

Gabriella Wright’s GF130-93W collection of unisex sportswear is made out of recycled army surplus equipment and fabrics. Parachutes and camouflage netting were all used to authentically portray her military theme garments. The movement on the runway was astonishing in way in which the parachute captured the air as models trotted down the runway, leaving the crowd awestruck. The unique use of materials had everyone in the audience on their toes trying to figure out what piece of material was being used for each piece.

The stellar end to the show was British/Turkish graduate Seren Gayguszu. The inspiration for soft and dense layers of tulle, paired with up cycled cropped jacket made for a modern translation of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Seren’s incredible colour palette for the collection was taken from her home city of Istanbul, Turkey. The Houses of Balat in Istanbul inspired the colour choice for the voluminous tulle skirts. “The reason I choose the tulle is because it’s very elegant, delicate and feminine. I wanted to break the prettiness down with Turkish Ottoman Empire style jacket wrapped and deconstructed around the skirt.” Her plans for the summer are to apply for internships and experience in order to fortify her reputation in the industry. Eventually she would love to go back home to Istanbul, where she feels her creative talent stems from.

Studying and growing at Regent’s University London is an experience like no other. The graduating fashion design students are French/Arabian, Turkish/British, Hungarian, Lebanese, Scottish, Nigerian, and British/Pakistani. Not many other universities can boast such an incredible international repertoire, where we are influenced by and are a reflection of each other. The Graduate Fashion Show was nothing short of representing our Regent’s DNA. It proved that students have been enlighten and illuminated by the very pillars of the University, our lecturers. At the end of the day they are ‘ready for anything.’ Their view, values and styles have all been fostered and encouraged at Regent’s University London. It is an honour and privilege to have seen the collections and I wish the very best of luck and success for our graduating class.

LISA NIELSEN

Lisa Nielsen is a Fashion Journalism student at Regent’s University London

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