New Designers: NUA Graduates at Graduate Fashion Week- Part 1
Part of the DNA of Norwich Fashion Week is to celebrate and nurture local design talent. Our Fine City is home to an incredibly dynamic, creative community of emerging fashion designers, many of whom have studied at Norwich University of the Arts.
Students at NUA are taught to balance their focus between the creativity and innovation at the heart of their practice, with mastering the technical skills necessary to construct their designs to a luxury level of craftsmanship.
Last month, BA (hons) Fashion degree Graduates from NUA showed their final collections as part of Graduate Fashion Week at Truman Brewery in London, and I was privileged enough to go along and watch!
NUA Fashion students also develop skills in creative and conceptual pattern-cutting, which was evident to me throughout the show, as I watched innovative silhouette after innovative silhouette pass down the runway.
While every student’s collection was different, the overall show itself was very cohesive. One regularly-recurring theme that helped to tie the show together was a modern-minimalist, sports-inspired silhouette, in a neutral palette. These features made the collections appear very wearable, even, at first glance, simple. However, the construction of these streamlines shapes is anything but.
Sydney Clark’s collection for example, seems at first glance to comprise a number of simple shapes. However, great pattern-cutting skill has been used to flow, seamlessly, shoulders into sleeves. That’s literally seamlessly, by the way. Clever stuff!
Yes, there was a clear theme of understated innovation- these are not designers who need a neon sign to announce themselves, preferring instead designs with quiet confidence and integrity. Colours may have been conservative, but bold pattern-cutting and flawless fabric choices set each designer’s collection apart as unique.
Another important theme was the use of fastenings, pockets and accessories, where the line became blurred between utility and adornment. I felt an insight into the future of clothing, where our garments evolve to encompass our handbags and clutchbags and backpacks, to leave our hands free for other exciting pursuits- like programming our robots to do housework and such…
Jack Thorne’s collection was a show highlight for me, comprising a utility-inspired collection evoking aprons and overalls in a palette of khakis and denim blues.
There was also my favourite bag I’ve ever seen in my life…
Layering was another key theme, utilised admirably by Amelia Foreman. I can only describe her collection as some sort of Inuit-Nun-Punk Sportswear Extravaganza. It’s funny how some designers can bring together elements that you would never consider working together, but the balance is just perfect. I believe this is the definition of originality! Oh, and the styling of the thick socks and platformed, patent DMs was inspired. I loved every piece.
And as if sporty Inuit nuns weren’t enough for you, there’s much more to come! Stay tuned for part two, folks!