what we can all learn from central saint martin's ma fashion class of 2016
As they step into London Fashion Week's spotlight for the first time, fifteen students not only share their future fashion vision, they share their vision of fashion's future.
This is a time of industry-wide introspection, as fashion insiders, commentators, and decision-makers are questioning everything from the sheer number of collections and the relevance of seasons to the competency of the consumer cycle and the rising influence of social media. During this period of fashion flux, we're hearing some unanswered questions begin to be queried by the behemoths but the brave and bold are joining the conversation. As ever, some of the boldest and bravest voices are those of tomorrow's generation.
Insi-De The Fashion Issue, Sarah Mower, the British Fashion Council's Ambassador for Emerging Talent, delivers a powerful manifesto for change to the industry. As Central Saint Martins' Fashion MA Class of 2016 formally introduced themselves, Mower's call-to-arms appeared to reverberate across the Brewer Street Car Park show space and ring in their ears: "The only way the industry can change is by new people, young people, coming in from the outside and stating the obvious: This is nonsense, it is not speaking to us and what we want, and we're going to do it differently."
From shimmering sequined sexiness to sustainable sartorial statements, 15 young designers whispered goodbye to their student days and screamed the answers that trouble us all. For those who long for fashion to return to the razzle-dazzle and romance of bygone eras, Harry Evan's glorious revival of ol' England knitwear, Michael Halpern's glam glitter, and Richard Quinn's all-consuming print power were your answer. For those tired of the incessant noise around fashion and the feed frenzy around Insta-stars, the fact that Stüssy collaborator Kiko Kostadinov is shifting the focus back onto the clothes and pieces such as Amelie Beluze's quietly considered knits were your answer.
For those questioning fashion's ethics, John Alexander Skelton reminded us that sustainable clothing can still be romantic, it can still be fashion. "We produce hand-to-mouth fashion-ology, couturistic algebra, intimate story in-suspension," muses course director Fabio Piras in the show notes. They also produce fashion for thought. Harry Evans and John Alexander Skelton may have been crowned this year's joint winners of the L'Oréal Professional Creative Award but each and every member of CSM's class of 2016 deserve a piece of that prize. Remember their names, the future belongs to them.
Text Steve Salter