Kingston University was of course one of the most highly anticipated catwalk shows of London Graduate Fashion Week. Just last week, Kingston University was named one of the top institutions in the UK for Fashion and Design Education in the latest Guardian University Guide.
As London Graduate Fashion Week celebrates its twenty-fifth year this season, the fashion design students of Kingston University didn’t fail to impress.
Leila Cattell’s collection exhibited an impressive use of fabric, textures, and print. Various animal skins and prints, alongside faux fur, strutted down the catwalk at Shoreditch. Most looks consisted of a garment that took centre stage on top, consisting of loud animal skins, prints, or furs, and a less dramatic garment on the bottom. Fit-and-flare trousers with detailing around the ankles caught my attention on more than one occasion, as did the provocative hints of red and gold that subtly appeared somewhere amongst each look.
Lily Ward-Collins created a collection of luxury, and of sex. Luxurious satin-like fabrics, combined with muted grey workwear-like fabrics and accessories, represent empowerment, independence, and womanhood. Undergarments are worn as over-garments, or the garments are worn accordingly to reveal the lingerie that is worn underneath. The luxurious garments of the collection are lined with red lustrous fabric which can only be seen as the model moves, which is complemented by sultry red peep-toe heels with red fluffy detailing.
For me, Bethan Jones and Bianca Von Stempel were the two unforgettable designers from London Graduate Fashion Week as a whole.
Bethan Jones is a knitwear student who has just graduated from Kingston University, and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to have a little chat with her! Beth revealed the inspirations and influences behind her designs, stating that the collection was very personal to her. It was all about showing the strength of women, and taking at look at how we construct ourselves, or how we feel we should construct ourselves based on what society injects into our minds. Beth explored the idea of self-preservation, and the ways in which people put up a barrier to try and protect themselves from harm – whether that harm be physical or emotional.
To put her ideas into practice Beth reinforced all of her knitwear pieces by using a variety of techniques – all in an effort to reinforce the exterior, like we do with ourselves. Beth saw her graduate collection as an opportunity to create something that was solely her. “A collection of everything that I’ve always liked, and ideas that have kept crossing my mind over the past few years.” Beth thoroughly enjoyed her time at Kingston University and feels she has Kingston to thank for all of the amazing opportunities that she has been given during her time there. She is at an exciting stage of her life, and with nothing yet set up to go to now that she has graduated, she hopes to find a job doing what she loves – whether that means staying in London or moving abroad. Beth is open to all opportunities and is excited about what the future holds. And so she should be!
I was also given the chance to talk with Bianca Von Stempel, and it was a fascinating talk at that! Bianca’s graduate collection was effortlessly angelic, and so fairy-tale-like. However, Bianca didn’t intend for it to be that way at all… The collection is all about Bianca’s visual impairment. The fabric in each look is about drapery, and the method of sewing the fabrics together doesn’t involve any pattern cutting or sewing with a machine. Instead, everything is embroidered together using manipulation embroidery which is inspired by her sight, and is a massively personal approach to her work. The collection quite literally mimics Bianca’s eye movement.
The designs reveal Bianca’s disability, and she hopes that they raise awareness of disability as a whole, and not just visual impairment. “I’ve gotten what I put into it. Uniqueness provides you with a huge positive because it gives you such diversity. I have found my own pathway through this project by just thinking ‘yes, I have a disability, but I am going to use it to my advantage’.” Bianca hopes to study an MA in Womenswear Fashion Design next year, having already applied at Central Saint Martins, among other universities.
“If I hadn’t been to Kingston, I just wouldn’t be where I am now. It’s been an incredible three years. I can’t think of any other life without it.”
Jungle would like to congratulate all of the fashion students graduating from Kingston University this year, and we wish you all the very best for the future!
Words by Kristie Smith
Photography by Justyna Radon
Catwalk images courtesy of Kingston University