Fashion students inspired by Scottish hills, hair and latex

Issue date: 14 May 2010

The contours of Scottish hills, soaring lines of station architecture and 'disturbing' materials such as latex, hair and feathers have inspired students from the University of the West of England, who are showing their collections at Bristol Graduate Fashion Show 2010.

The event features a catwalk show of contemporary women's and men's wear and includes knitwear, print and textile design. It takes place at the Passenger Shed, Temple Meads, Bristol, at 14.30 and 18.30 on Saturday 22 May 2010.

The Bristol Graduate Fashion Show offers Bristol audiences a preview of the UWE talent that will be on show at the national Graduate Fashion Week in Earl's Court, London from 6 to 10 June, an event that attracts interest from top names in fashion.

Ali Taylor, Fashion/Textile Design, and Adrian Grandon, Fashion Design course leaders at UWE say, “We are impressed with the innovation, creativity and variety demonstrated in the students' work this year. The Show will launch the careers of some of the newest talent in the fashion business and offers a good opportunity to pick up on directional and inspirational trends.

“In recent years UWE students have won several major national prizes for their work and many have gone forward to work for well known fashion companies or to set up their own labels. A selection of employers have included Tom Ford, Christopher Kane, Burberry, Luella, Matches, Victoria Beckham, Toast, Benetton, Angel Jackson, Urban Outfitters, John Smedley, River Island, John Richmond, Jens Laugesen, All Saints, Jigsaw, Abercrombie & Fitch, Coast, River Island, M&S, Asos, JJB Sports amongst others.

“This show previews at London Graduate Fashion Week where the very best of the collections can be seen in the catwalk show on Sunday 6 June.”

Recent awards include Kimberley Naylor, who was a Como Texaprint finalist in 2009;
Joanna Wills who was named 'Young Stylist of the Year' at The Clothes Show 2008; first year Fashion Design Student Millie Gleeson who won the River Island / Graduate Fashion Week Recycling competition in 2008; Hannah Stewart, Como Texaprint finalist, 2008 and knitwear designer Nick Thomas won joint Gold Award at River Island Graduate Fashion Week 2007.

To help develop their professional skills in their future employment students are encouraged to undertake work placements. These have included Anna Sui, Betsey Johnson and Marc Jacobs in New York, Givenchy and Chloe in Paris; Alexander McQueen, Aitor Thorpe, Richard Nicol, Matthew Williamson, Jenny Packham, Carolyn Massey, Felder & Felder, Christopher Kane, Kyri, ASOS, i-D, Company Magazine, Fashion 156 and Eskimo PR.

Students showing their work this year include:

Fashion design student Vanessa Brownlie who said, “My six piece Contour Collection is inspired by the undulating landscapes of my native Scotland and their representation in two dimensional map form. I take ideas of the intricate and descriptive contours from maps and transpose them onto the female form. The seam lines within the garments are made to move in relation to the ebb and flow of the body, reaffirming the feminine and organic nature of woman and providing an elegant and positive view of the female dresser.” Vanessa's palette is blue, black, yellow and grey, and she uses luxury natural fabrics like silk and leather. For example, her collection includes a blue silk moiré skirt, intricately cut and shaped to echo the 2D contour lines on a map.

Georgina Kitchen, also a third-year fashion design student, links striking architecture from Victorian railway stations across southern England with emotive photography of hot air balloons both close up and from afar to form a contrasting set of visual stimuli. She uses a subtle palette of black and grey with a purple metallic tint and a bright blue. With laser cutting techniques, she etches designs onto see-through fabrics, producing clothes that are voluminous but edged in leather, allowing movement, and showing the contrast between hard and soft, light and dark. She says, “There is a subtle balance between the engorged and bulbous shapes formed in the balloon fabric and the hard angled iron structures forming the roofs of the train stations. This contrast has harmonised in the clothing collection creating a fresh silhouette that is modern and wearable yet also abstract. Patterns have been deliberately broken down into many sections and in some cases removed to reveal flesh below. Fabrics and colours are contrast and 3D forms sit away from the body supported by angular rigid structures.”

The Bristol Graduate Fashion Show 2010 takes place at The Passenger Shed, Empire and Commonwealth Museum on Saturday 22 May 2010. For further details see The Bristol Graduate Fashion Show 2010 website.


Editor's notes

Students from schools and colleges who are interested in studying Fashion Design, Textile Design, Fashion Photography and Illustration, or Styling, can buy tickets at the reduced rate of £5.00. There are also a number of places for potential students to meet UWE designers at the show to view current students' portfolios and discuss the work on show on the catwalk. To book tickets visit

For information about the show and the designers:

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