Monthly Archives: July 2012

Swinging sixties, eclectic eighties and the nonsense of the nineties….

Whilst watching an episode of TOTP2 (I think we were waiting for something better to come on tv) my older sister Chloe, my younger brother Sam and I got to reminiscing about the ‘good old days’. I always forget how amusing it is to watch TOTP2 purely because of the fashion and the audience who really know how to boogie! And my parents are strong to defend the dance moves on the programme, arguing that all we do these days is sway on the spot and occasionally move our arms. Their generation weren’t afraid to let loose apparently! I can just imagine Caroline and Mark being possessed by some insane seventies tune on the dance floor.

And when it comes down to it, I really wish that if such things as time machines existed, that I could go back in time purely to experience the fashion from past eras. When I look at pictures of my parents as young adults they look effortlessly cool. For my dad, there’s a distinct resemblance to Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys Rock n Roll fame and my mother worked the sixties look to perfection. As Chloe and I agreed, our teen years fell in the nineties….possibly THE most horrendous decade for fashion in existence!

What was everyone thinking, seriously?! Oversized was a big look- from puffa jackets, to huge scrunchies and baggy trousers. Just a quick brainstorm of my wardrobe back in the nineties results in the painful memories of neon orange Adidas Shell-suit, platform shoes (we have the spice girls to thank/blame for that) and some kind of hideous skirt and trousers combo. And don’t get me started on my lime green pedal pushers. It really was the decade that fashion forgot.

The Spice Girls- fabulously nineties








The sixties however is a different story for fashion altogether. Shift dresses, tiny bikinis and the mini-skirt to name but a few all rocketed into fashion. It was an era of development and progress for fashion. It’s often the case that at a time of great historical change, fashion makes huge steps forward. Fashion ultimately imitates life. In the sixties, many fashion traditions were broken, mirroring social movements during the period. It was all about big impact from psychedelic prints, monochrome and blocks colours. Little details like peter pan collars, caps and false eyelashes were designed to wow. Go-Go boots, culottes and PVC were all cutting edge and therefore hugely popular. The hippy movement inspired a wave of youths to don flares, paisley prints and tai-dye. Art and creativity were promoted; body art was the best way to achieve this whether in the form of a smiley face or a peace sign!

Sixties sirens








Fashion icons from that period are still firmly cemented in the most influential dressers today. Jackie Kennedy famous for her pillbox hats, Audrey Hepburn and Twiggy still frequent many young girls’ walls acting as forms of inspiration.

Twiggy- the epitome of sixties chic

Jackie Kennedy modelling a pillbox hat











It is so fascinating to discover from which eras certain looks have evolved from. Whether from the glam rock days of the eighties, to the flappers of the 1930s or the Debbie Harry pop starlet look of the 70s. Nowadays, I believe that we are living in a very fashionable time. I doubt that my little sister will look back to her teenage years and think she looks as bad as me and Chloe did in the nineties! There’s no doubt that we are lucky enough to have both highly established and esteemed designers and young, promising designers who are creating some of the most innovative designs ever seen, but we should always be grateful to those from the past who have made fashion what it is today- amazing!!

Fashion past meets fashion present. Donna Karan AW12 was inspired by 1940’s fashion


Summer 2012’s key trend? WASHOUT :(


It’s another Monday morning. Not only is this depressing in itself as Mondays tend to be, but once again it is raining. And it’s that fine rain which soaks you in seconds. Double whammy. I am becoming seriously annoyed, frustrated and above all worried that my summer clothes will remain in my wardrobe for the rest of the summer due to this horrendous weather!

Now I always thought I was more of a winter wardrobe girl. I love my Woolley knits, big winter jackets and snug boots. But I am now getting a just a bit tired of having to crack all these garments out in JULY!! These days all it takes is a distant glimmer of sunshine and I have the short shorts, the flimsy summer dresses and even the flip flops out on show. I have done what I always said I wouldn’t- wear flip flops when the weather really doesn’t warrant wearing them just so that I can say I’ve worn them. Who have I become?!

If I wasn’t soon to be heading to the sunny climate of Spain for a well-deserved holiday with friends I think I would quite possibly tip over the edge and have a fashion-related meltdown. I am unbelievably excited to be able to wear light dresses, playsuits and sunglasses without feeling like an idiot. And to remember the feeling of not having to go out with a jacket and umbrella in tow.

Burberry S/S 12 rather than A/W 12???

Gala Show 2- Winners of Graduate Fashion Week 2012!

Here it was. The moment that everyone had been waiting for! The winners of the Graduate Fashion Week 2012 awards were to be announced to an excited audience at Earls Court 2. Stars had done the walk of fame into the venue on the ‘grey carpet’, the photo stand was packed with photographers and the anxious yet excited nominated students were waiting in the buzzing backstage area.

Caryn Franklin resumed her post as host and the award ceremony began! She joked that this was a very rare occasion in the fashion world where everybody backstage was ready and prepared on time and were in fact waiting for the audience! Kick-starting the award announcements, the International nominee’s collections were shown once again to the audience to display the level of talent that was present before Karen Jessen of Esmod Berlin was announced as winner. Her leather laser cut creations really made an impression on the judges as did her resourcefulness (the leather came from an old sofa and one garment was made from old t-shirts).

Highlighted at Gala Show 1, Xiaoping Huang from Lancashire’s crazy collection of musically inspired accordion creations scooped up the Zandra Rhodes Textile award, presented by Mary Katrantzou and Daisy Lowe. These designs clearly made an impression on the audience as phones were whipped out to photograph and film the wacky collection as it worked the catwalk.

The Stuart Peters knitwear award, presented by Mark Fast, Ruth Chapman of Matches and Erica Peters displayed the sheer amount of talent on show at Graduate Fashion Week by announcing not one but two winners for the category! Huge congratulations to Caitlin Charles-Jones (Kingston) and Jousianne Propp (Manchester).

And the winners just kept coming! The following winners were also announced for the following awards;

  • Barclays New Business Award- Holly Reid (central Lancashire)
  • Fashion Innovation  Award- Amy Collins (central Lancashire)
  • Per Aquum Marketing Award- Hayley Oldfield (central Lancashire)
  • Media & Design Award- Kerrie Donelly (UCA Epsom)
  • Stand Design Award- Edinburgh College of Art

The importance of these awards was shown through the appearance of some of the best the industry has to offer to judge and present the awards, from Jefferson Hack of Dazed and Confused, to Elle editor Lorraine Candy and accessories designer Fred Butler.

Of course, George has been exceptional in both their support of Graduate Fashion Week and for graduates as they transition from students to professionals. Brand director Fiona Lambert was on hand to award Susanna Yi an award for the Best of British award which saw students design using local themes as inspiration. And the unofficial ‘Cute’ award definitely had to go to the little girls who modelled some of the designs for the George Childrenswear award, which went to an ecstatic Harriet Simons from Colchester.

On a night where full attention was given to the designers of tomorrow, the following awards were also proudly handed out;

  • Karen Millen Portfolio Award- Jousianne Propp (second award of the night!)
  • David Band Textiles Award- Emma Hardstaff (Edinburgh)
  • Mulberry Accessories Award- Laura Smallwood (Kingston)
  • Ethical Award- Sarah Murphy- (Northumbria)

Excitement came to a head as it was time for the most prestigious awards of the night to be announced. A moving tribute was given by GFW President Jeff Banks to Lifetime Achievement Award winner Chris Moore, the highly esteemed photographer who had to fight his way out from his prime position in the photographers’ box (of course) to collect the award.

The menswear award, presented by GQ’s Luke Day, Matthew Murphey and Caroline Massey went to Riona Horrox of Edinburgh for her very professional collection of oversized, structured designs teamed with fur and orange and brown prints.

The womenswear winner was revealed by Matthew Williamson as Chloe Jones from Bath Spa. And we can now reveal that Chloe was not only the recipient of the womenswear award, but also THE highest award of GFW, the £20,000 Gold Award! Daphne Guinness, Fiona Lambert and Suzy Menkes all hailed Chloe’s monasteric sportswear collection, with Daphne perfectly describing it as ‘ethereal’. As Chloe took to the catwalk with models wearing her amazing collection which was not only original but had real emotion and meaning to it, gold confetti poured from the roof and applause was continuous. What a perfect ending to a fantastic four days of celebrating the new faces of fashion! Congratulations once again to all of the students who made GFW one of the best years that we have ever seen! Now there was only one thing left to do…party! Here’s to GFW 2013!

(Photography by official graduate fashion week photographers Charlotte Headdey and Dani Farrow)

Gala Show 1- Highlights of Graduate Fashion Week 2012

Excitement mounted as students, press and celebrities took to their seats in preparation for the long-awaited Gala 1 show on the last day of Graduate Fashion Week 2012. Rifling through goodie bags which included Rimmel Scandal Eyes mascara, George shatter nail varnish and the latest edition of fashion magazine Phoenix, everybody was also eager to spot a famous face in the front row- Daphne Guinness, Hilary Alexander and Matthew Williamson were to name just a few.

After a fantastic few days of catwalk shows, exhibitions and exclusive talks with some of the best in the industry, the shortlist for the GFW 2012 Awards have been revealed, and it was time to celebrate the culmination of these talented students’ years of hard work. Hosting the show was Caryn Franklin, British fashion expert, who warmly welcomed the audience and kindly thanked GFW Sponsors, friends and family and university lecturers for their strong support which has helped make these students’ collections some of the best ever seen to date.

The show’s main aim was to recap the nominated students’ collections. Kick-starting the catwalk shows were the International nominees. Here a strong commitment to using structure, texture and colour was obvious. Yvonne Kwok from Amsterdam was a perfect representative of the talent and skill which is displayed by young designers today with her collection of colourful, candy creations which were explosions of shape, structure and colour. The attention to detail in these creations were of an extremely high standard.

In the knitwear category Emma Walsh from Nottingham Trent stood out with her subtle but statement collection with a loose grey knit dress which glistened under the spotlight and which had yellow detailing, right down to the model’s socks. Subtlety came through aspects such as high collars, fluffy circular kneepads and shapely shoulders. All nominees showed an outstanding commitment to using knitwear in an innovative way.

Fresh from impressing the crowd at her Northumbria Show, Amelia Smith showed that she was no one-trick pony with her Russian inspired black, white and gold creations. Channelling the elegance of Russian dolls, models took to the catwalks in beautiful geometric print creations which were structured in a rounded and feminine manner. Continuing the talent in the textiles award Dae-Byn Lee of Nottingham displayed his skill of originality with creations that saw several garments merged into one in bolshy print colours, asymmetrically shaped. Xiaoping  Huang of Lanchashire presented perhaps the craziest collection yet which mimicked stripy accordions that engulfed the model’s bodies alongside music print patterns.



Finishing off the show was the most highly anticipated award- the gold. Nominees in this category displayed astonishing talent. Every single collection displayed originality and innovation- just what the fashion industry is always striving to find in young designer talent. Claire Acton from Central Lancashire got smiles from the front row with her designs which had an over-riding ‘hair’ theme. Through fringing, and the use of bold colours, shaping and a LOT of hair clips, garments flowed down the catwalk representing human heads.  A distinct sixties, happy-go-lucky theme came hand in hand with this collection.Chloe Jones from Bath Spa made a success out of an unlikely duo- religion and sportswear! Modern-day monk hoods contributed to designs which turned sportswear into high fashion. Toggles aplenty and an anorak turned dress were main features of the show.

The standard of talent in menswear was also highly impressive. Emily Edge from Northumbira created excitement in subtle ways with psychedelic shirts, occasional metallic detailing and bursts of bold colour whilst Alice Griffiths from UCS Epsom went for a rather feminine daisy menswear range.

It would be impossible to include every example of outstanding talent that graced the catwalk at the Gala Show today. The best of luck to all students who are in the running for an award. The results will be announced at the Gala 2 Show later today! We can’t wait!

(Photography by Daniella Farrow)

Northumbria Show- Graduate Fashion Week 2012

Graduates at Northumbria today presented their final collections to a packed out theatre at Graduate Fashion Week 2012. From sixties nostalgia to Russian architecture and fisherman tribes, there was an eclectic mix of inspiration on show.

Opening the show, Emily Edge showcased a collection which was titled ‘Glass Geometry’, which saw psychedelic shirts, a clash of textures, occasional metallic detailing and bursts of bold yellow. Aiming to create excitement in subtle ways, Emily’s collection was a great start to the show.

Emily Edge


Taking the punk rock trend to a new level, Charlotte Sowerby fully immersed her menswear collection into the days of the Mods, Teds and Skinheads with her ‘Grace under pressue’ collection. Velvet blazers, leopard print teamed with a Black fur striped gilet and tie-dye distressed jeans all helped to conjure up youth culture imagery.

Charlotte Sowerby

Rebecca Byers presented a delicately beautiful womenswear collection which revolved around tarnished gold detailing. Opening with a stunningly crafted piece of knitwear combined with gold chainmail shorts, the collection evolved into beautifully cut Grecian goddess gowns which linked in with the designers theme of erosion as they seemed to collapse as they fell around the model’s body.

Rebecca Byers


Another face to watch was Amelia Smith with Heavenly Kingdom- a collection which was inspired by the architecture of Red Square in Moscow. A colour palette of gold, white and black complemented a beautifully crafted Russian doll dress which had a feminine, curved silhouette. An emphasis was put on detailing with a geometric monochrome patterned theme and gold collars, capes and shoulder pads.

Amelia Smith


A strong emphasis on menswear was apparent with tailoring and knitwear a big theme at the show. Kamille Davis, menswear designer impressed with a floor-length knitwear tunic inspired by a small fishing community near her hometown and Chloe Horsfield, textiles and knitwear student had some fantastic knitwear creations clashed with other unusual fabrics and textures.

The result- a show which had the wow-factor stamped all over it!



UCA Rochester Show- Graduate Fashion Week 2012

A strong focus on print and colour to complement Rochester’s strength in the field of creative cutting contributed to an eclectic mix of both men’s and women’s wear collections at day two of Graduate Fashion Week. Always striving for innovation, the students’ inspirations for their collections were obscure and interesting- from a tramp who lives on the streets of China, to the children’s classic The Secret Garden and the condition body dimorphia.

Richard Sun caused gasps of amazement from the audience with his collection which was inspired by the architecture of a government building in Hong Kong which interestingly had a large number of suicides. Models took to the catwalk with cagelike structures around their heads and bodies as a representation of the building which was an empty core with metal bars on the outside- an expression of entrapment. These structures were intricately-crafted, dramatic and memorable.


Richard Sun

Revolving around the play War Horse Jenny Prismall presented a collection with strong use of leather detailing. Leather seams on trousers, wool jackets with grey leather padding and leather cuffs gave a military effect to the collection. An emphasis was put on structure and silhouette, echoing the horse puppet frameworks.  Print designs were also present, a recurring theme at the Rochester Show.

Jenny Prismall

Transported back to the eighties and the days of Miami Vice, Callum Burman gave street-style a twist with menswear in pinks, purples and blues, complete with bling gold chains. Leisure-wear at its most stylish.

Callum Burman


Pavinder Dhari took a sensitive approach to the condition of body Dimorphia with designs which aimed to illustrate the beauty side of imperfection. Unregulated, angular and imperfected shapes in contrasting materials created beautifully elegant designs. The dark colour palette of the collection was accentuated with chunky gold jewellery. All in all, a collection of inspiring designs which perfectly represented the great potential of Rochester’s graduates. Watch this space!

Pavinder Dhari




Bournemouth & Northbrook Show at Graduate Fashion Week 2012

Inspiration from all over the world featured in both the Bournemouth and Northbrook graduate shows at Graduate Fashion Week today.

Kick-starting Northbrook’s show, Hope Scrivener presented a collection inspired by ancient Iran and erosion, with tunics, intricate mosaic patterning and textures including cow-hide and vintage sarees which were meant to reflect the distressed element of the collection. Set to Bollywood music, this collection transported the packed theatre to a far away land.

Hope Scrivener






Reflecting her interest in all things high-end, student Heena Mulji ‘s collection had a distinct sense of luxury, with diamond detailing on floor-length gowns. Inspired by gothic architecture, crystals, cave and corsetry, one pleated, tiered black gown made a statement with a rounded structured bodice.

Heena Mulji






A wacky collection inspired by religious iconography by Sacha Kreeger made its mark on the audience with fantastic print designs featuring Mary, Jesus and also pennies!  Attention to detail was key with these designs- carefully placed zips on the backs of garments and bronze lurex leggings added the perfect finishing touches.

Sacha Kreeger






Bournemouth similarly presented a diverse range of designs which demonstrated great talent and craftsmanship.  Sophie Rice got the audience whispering with her leather and wool swimcap-style headpieces, teamed with retro designs which featured splatters of mint and metallic.

Sophie Rice






Polly Walter’s ‘Old Salt’ menswear collection revolved around the fisherman theme, with chunky knitwear (including wool ankle warmers), aprons, braces and dungarees all with a modern twist to them. A wool jumper morphed into a shirt halfway down, emphasising the playful use of texture in the collection.

Polly Walters






And finally Shauni Paulley took an original turn with her ‘Little Ganesha’ collection, sending out some very cute (and excited) girls wearing Indian inspired garments which were rich in colour and detailing. The main words to sum up this show- Inspiring and very impressive.

Shauni Paulley