19 final year students from Middlesex's BA Fashion Designand BA Fashion Textiles courses were chosen to take part in the show by a panel of industry judges – Hunger magazine's Fashion Director Kim Howells, fashion designer and creative consultant Keko Hainswheeler, Wonderlandmagazine Fashion Director Matthew Josephs and Kiko Simōes Gaspar, Marketing and Communications at Vivienne Westwood. The panel made their selection from over 60 students who exhibited their work recently at an end-of-year show held at Middlesex University's Hendon campus.
The industry event, which takes place alongside the UK-wide Graduate Fashion Week, brought together an eclectic and exciting mix of styles, colours, textures and silhouettes.
Ursula Catherine Middleboe's womenswear collection was inspired by the idea of a modern-day Charles Darwin collecting fauna on his travels; key pieces included a transparent jacket and dress adorned with real pressed flowers.
Sonia Gill took inspiration from her British-Indian heritage, creating an all-white collection accented with subtle printed patterns, singed hems and even pieces of wood.
"I wanted to combine the sari wrapping and draping of Indian culture with the structured pleats of British," she explained. "I then started focusing on Indian cremations, with burnt wood and organic cloth. I want to continue developing [these ideas] by going into applied textiles, maybe explore crockery and ceramics, and make intelligent fabrics combining those."
Olivia Overton – who was a finalist in this year's Fashion Awareness Direct (FAD) competition and has secured several high-profile internships during her time at Middlesex – received the Karen Millen Portfolio Award for her collection, announced during Graduate Fashion Week.
Olivia's pieces were inspired by the Victorian tradition of Sunday-best dressing, combining its lace and pomp with a contemporary streetwear aesthetic, all informed by her interest in African culture and history.
"I've always been interested in cultures, my African side; I dabbled in it in second year and have brought it back for my final collection," Olivia explained. "It's really fun; it incorporates a lot of new techniques that I've learnt, hand techniques like smocking as well as technical techniques. With this collection I've really tried to push myself and do everything I've learnt."
Also garnering attention for their work were Fashion Design student Xe Linn Yeap, who was a runner-up in the Graduate Fashion Week Accessories award, and Fashion Communications and Styling student Jordan Ritchings, who took out 2nd prize in the Drapers Fashion Publication award.
Director of Programmes for Fashion, Meg Osborne, praised Middlesex's emerging designers for their creativity, skill and individuality.
"It's important for us that our students are open-minded and willing to try different materials and techniques," she said. "A Middlesex graduate is someone who is hard-working, talented and maybe just a little bit mischievous."
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