Located in Kingston upon Thames, buy South West London, more about Kingston University London doesn’t seem to have a buzzing reputation for academia. But with art the institution are widely regarded as one of the best in the country, particularly for fashion education. Kingston fashion graduates have gone on to senior posts in a range of leading labels which include Armani, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Vivienne Westwood and Yves Saint Laurent. And it goes without saying that the Fashion Scout presentation at London Fashion Week is a thoroughly unique opportunity to showcase work to the industry’s elite at such an early stage in a designer’s career.
The university has been presenting the best of it’s MA Fashion graduates at Vauxhall Fashion Scout for two years now, and the theme has remained the same – The Body Laboratory. This time, there was an array of interpretations of the theme from full-on brain-like, mouldy textiles (yes, really) to delicate references through elegant style details. My favourites of the presentation were Stefanie Nieuwenhuyse, Fay Gascoigne, Ninela Ivanova and Han Gu.
I saw perhaps the most bustle around Stefanie Nieuwenhuyse, who had a corset and shoe displayed as part of a collection inspired by Biomimicry. The pieces were created from an intricate shell of thin wood that was broken into tiny hexagonal shapes then arranged in the most impressive and fiddly way; it must have taken yonks to put together. Her business cards were also made out of the thin wood she had used in her collection pieces – a great touch!
Photography courtesy of Fay Gascoigne.
I asked Fay Gascoigne about her pieces and she spoke with such passion and expression that I couldn’t help but admire her work! She displayed a funky, sporty jacket, formed with purple digital printed fabric, gathered in sections to make a volumnous shape. She also had everyone in the room sniffing her giant white plastic necklace that smelt like lavender.
Ninela Ivanova created a somewhat controversial collection that was displayed in the center of the room in all its glory. The collection, titled Moulded Mind was largely made up of lazer-cut velvet encased in silicone (which created a wonderful veiny/brainy effect). These pieces were named Second Skin. What was even more bizarre was the thick mould that were contained in transparent vests and shoulder pads. This was much more of a textile venture than a fashion one but I was intrigued by the concept, as was everyone else in the room as they touched and stared at the pieces and badgered Ninela with questions.
Han Gu‘s work stood out beautifully. It was just a shame that there wasn’t more of her collection on display for the presentation. She’d created pieces that were much more wearable but that still showed fantastic textile skill in minute triangular features that seemed to hark back to Japanese origami. It turns out that the collection, titled Triangular Memories, was inspired by memories of her grandma who liked to fold the smallest notes to make little triangles. My favourite feature was the collar, made from tiny transparent plastic triangles; a simple but beautifully constructed piece.
All photography by Amelia Gregory.
The Kingston MA Fashion presentation at Vauxhall Fashion Scout continues to show off the university’s ability to stretch their students’ capabilities, give them the creative freedom to push new boundaries and inject something new into the fashion world.
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