This week sees the 25th anniversary of Graduate Fashion Week, and, as we are all about celebrating and championing young fresh talent, we’ve sat down with a handful of the most talented and exciting young graduate designers, who are tipped to have some of the most impressive collections on the catwalk this year. Oh, and of course we’ve got sneak previews of their incredible designs…
University of Northampton
Jordan Shields says his collection is designed for the strong-minded and fashion forward female who works hard and earns what she wants.
“My collection is inspired by the tradition and costume, as well as political controversy surrounding Spanish bullfighting. The clean circular shapes are based around the cape in its simplest form, creating a sort of movement even within structured pieces. Also, throughout the collection there are sportswear elements, bringing a more casual and street style aesthetic to some of the looks.
“I plan on making #MyDebut at #GFW25 through the fact that my collection is the last one to be showcased at the University of Northampton’s catwalk show, and I have a dramatic garment that you should keep your eye out for…”
Sean Leggett hopes to make a big impact with his Coastal Clash collection, which takes inspiration from his transatlantic love of New York and Cornwall.
“When people see my collection for the first time, I want that fun, lively feel to really sink in. I want it to make people live in the moment and really express a need and a must to breathe life and soul into their lives.
“I believe that fashion is artwork, and I would really like to see how people interpret my designs. As for how I plan to make #MyDebut this year I am a firm believer in letting my work do the talking. With that said, I’m hoping that the clashing of the gold and silver, which represent Cornwall and New York respectively really draws people into Coastal Clash.”
Jessica Jeffs plans to make her Debut and stand out from the crowd this year with her Inuit inspired collection
“When I was creating my collection I was inspired by sculptural art such as Barbara Hepworth’s innovative work, and as a result I’ve drawn influence from the fluid composition and form she creates within her pieces. I then combined this with elements from the Inuit Civilizations to create a vivid contrast as well as great texture and depth to each piece.
“What’s the most valuable lesson I’ve learnt since being on this course? Patience and hard work is key. Keep working hard and good things will follow.”
Gabi Taylor wants her collection to really make people think about one of the most important issues we have in society.
“My collection is based on the topic of homelessness as well as the separation between two people; the homeless and those who are more fortunate. I saw an image taken at New York Fashion Week of three glamorous ladies and right next to them, as if they’ve taken no notice, was a man who had obviously been through some rough times. What shocked me most about this image, and why I think it was my main inspiration for my collection, was the dramatic differences between the two types of people, sharing the same place but with very different stories, a key theme that I wanted to portray throughout – difference and contrast.
“As a designer I am all about making an impact. I hope that people will look at my work and look at the real message behind what I am portraying. Throughout my project I have looked at the contrast between the homeless and those more fortunate and that is apparent within my designs. I want people to look at my work and see the colours, the prints and the amount of work, and then I want them to look at the real message behind it.
Latasha Hammond is hoping that her unique and unconventional take on men’s knitwear will make her stand head and shoulders above the rest
“I feel my work is quite different and also pushes the boundaries within men’s knitwear. My collection is inspired by the Kuba Kingdom based in central Africa. Main aspects I have paid tribute to involve the Kuba Art and Shoowa Textiles. I have also spent a lot of time researching key figures of the community such as the Kuba King who displays boldness of pattern and texture through the work of ancestors and community surrounding.
“My words of advice for budding graduates? Always believe in yourself and have confidence in your ideas. It is crucial to take on board both encouragement and productive criticism to achieve the best outcomes.”
Having felt compelled to make a stand against the injustice and suffering of women in her home country of Peru, Annaiss Yucra Mancilla is planning on make her Debut in a huge way…
“This collection was inspired by the suffering that indigenous women faced during Fujimori’s regimen in 90’s Peru. In a time where empowering women is so important, and in times where terrorism and attacks around the world seems like a continuous everyday aspect, it reminded me what these women went through only less that 20 years ago. Not only did they suffer from the lost of their families, but also were continuously threatened by the terrorists. The support they gave each other and the strength they had to find in themselves was my real inspiration.
“I think this why the one thing I’m really happy I have learnt on this course is Sisterhood. We spent so much time together in the studio, really getting to know each other and supporting each other when we needed it.”
Chloe Jackson explains how going back to nature gave her the inspiration she needed to create her final collection
“After spending time at a summer camp on the east coast of America, I delved into a magical wonderland full of smiles, happiness and fun. Life was stripped back to basics, no technology and no electricity. What this represented was simple living, and the enjoyment of the beauty and wonder of natural surroundings.
“What does the future hold for me? Well, I’ve had the opportunity of building up my own design identity. I feel much more confident as a designer and feel ready to be thrown into the deep end to embrace the fashion industry! I am looking forward to using my skills and adapting my abilities to all market levels.
Kendall Baker is hoping her original and fresh take on mens knitwear will propel her to a career in fashion well beyond GFW
“With my collection I have developed and worked on modernising crochet and finding new ways to join crochet together without it being too traditional, also using the bright colours for menswear, to me, really stands out. I was taken to the movement and life cycle of butterflies. I wanted to develop a menswear collection that has a light and delicate feel.
“When people see my collection for the first time I want people to feel that if they wore any part of the collection, they would have fun and be playful. I would want people to see that I’ve had a fun year curating this collection and I want them to have fun with me.”
Tamara Dias spent 2 whole years on her collection and now can’t wait for people to see her Indian inspired collection that’s rich in roots culture and brotherhood
“Being originally from India, I’ve always been interested in the rich history and culture it holds. I found my inspiration during my travels to India last year, where I focused in on the state of Rajasthan. Here a lot of my research and visuals showed a hierarchy of the rich and the poor, but at the same time a strong sense of brotherhood. And I really wanted to show this in a menswear collection.
“After GFW the next step for me is to really push my brand Bhaisaab which I started last summer. Watch this space!”
Sam Beaumont-Perkins tells us why he’s decided to make his collection incredibly personal and what it means for him for people to see it
“My collection is based on Anxiety and my personal struggle with the problem! I know everyone feels anxiety at certain times but I feel like I have had numerous large run ins over my life time, whilst usually being a strong unfazed person. The Anxiety in my collection is shown through swaddling with heavy fabrics and multiple layering, along with my broken print styles.
“I believe that my collection will be very memorable. And I hope to Make #MyDebut at GFW with my very aggressive anxiety inspired prints along with aggressive styling, multiple oversizing and reflective details.”