High hopes at this year's Graduate Fashion Week

05 June 2017

Students are working on the finishing touches for their collections

WITH the finishing touches being put to their presentations, fashion students from the University will be hoping to impress at Graduate Fashion Week this evening, Monday, June 5.

Final year Fashion and Textiles students’ designs will be hitting the main stage catwalk at 6.30pm for the Manchester School of Art show. The student collections will demonstrate a range of techniques, including laser work, innovative materials and stunning prints, to create a series of dazzling outfits. 

Outfits by Fashion Design & Technology students will be on display later in the evening at the Manchester Fashion Institute Showcase at 7pm. Very different from traditional fashion shows, the outfits will be worn by diverse, street cast models on podiums giving attendees the chance to get up close to the impressive garments.

Graduate Fashion Week kicked off on Sunday at Old Truman Brewery, in East London, and the University have already scooped an award. Stefan Efobi from Manchester School of Art was named the David Band Textiles Award Winner for creating innovative new ways of working with materials.

The students will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of 2015 graduate Hannah Wallace, who won the top award, the £10,000 Gold Award, sponsored by George.

The awards announcements will take place later this week, following the “Best of Graduate Fashion Week” catwalk show.


Here’s what some of the students had to say about their final collections:

Aoife Robinson
Aoife’s final collection was inspired by a two-week trip around Cuba. She said: “I started off in the beautiful city of Havana, which was packed with heaps of colour and culture. This really helped me to form a colour pallet but also ideas of prints.”

Bethan Currie
Drawn to colour, Bethan said: “My collection combines the colours, metallic and fuzzy textures of 1970s bathrooms with anti-nuclear imagery from Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in the 1980s. I have used both digital and screen print alongside laser cutting and hand stitched faux fur to create a collection that is feminine and playful, yet bold and sophisticated.”

Zsofia Juhasz
Zsofia spent a summer in San Francisco in 2016 interning for Old Navy as an assistant designer and her experience inspired her collection. She said: “The starting point for my collection was a photo album of vintage polaroids I found at a flea market in San Francisco. I created my initial knit samples based on the faded colours of the photographs, and wanted to capture the unexpected light effects analogue photography produces. The patterns and textures in my knit pieces are partially improvised, allowing for unexpected results. I kept the shapes simple to allow the fabrics to be in the foreground. I also wanted to make clothes that are comfortable and fun to wear!”

Katie Clarke (FDT)
Drawing on society for inspiration, Katie uses a monochrome palette to emphasise the fullness of the silhouette, focusing on the tailoring of the shoulders as a symbol of power, whilst the use of luxury fabrics in volume and layers creates a contemporary look that has richness and movement. On her designs, she added: “My final collection contrasts ideas of femininity and masculinity and has a modern sophisticated look at feminine identity.”

Sarah Kilbride (FDT)
Bold and bright, Sarah’s collection looks back at the classic sportswear trends from the 1990s for inspiration. She said: “My final womenswear collection has fused bold and vibrant colours with the delicateness of silk. I’ve created oversized and voluminous silhouettes. The organza and crepe used creates softness in contrast to the bold shapes.”

Tom Bird-Jones (FDT)
Keeping it short and sweet, Tom summed up his final collection in six words: Every Fairy tale needs a Villain. He added: “The use of fur in my collection is a big talking point. Some love it and some hate it, but it gets people talking. As a male designing Womenswear, I design to empower women, I want women to feel elegant and strong in my pieces.”

Rebecca Clarke (FDT)
When the childhood dream of working at NASA as an astronaut didn’t come true, Rebecca decided to become a designer using space as inspiration. The men’s sportswear designer said: “My final collection is called the Polarnaut. It is a study of space suit technologies in order to inform design ideas and innovations for polar expedition suits and base layers. My design ethos encourages me to work closely with athletes, gaining important usership input throughout my design process. This has helped form many of my design decisions, thus making my garments fully functional and tailored to fit an athlete.”

Jade Shields (FDT)
Breaking boundries with her final collection, Jade said: “My latest collection was inspired by the 18th century art movement of Romanticism and the idea of using art as an instrument for psychological change. While being inspired by Romanticism I wanted to use this concept and apply it to menswear, using it as a tool for change, trying to breakdown the preconceptions and patriarchy we see within menswear today. The shape of the garments took influence from artists such as William Morris, Francisco De Goya and Gustave Courbet with gathering details and bow ties which become signature details in this collection.”



Top: Aoife, Jade, Zofia

Middle: Rebecca, Bethan, Charlotte Louise Lorne

Bottom: Tom, Katie, Sarah

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