Central Saint Martins Fashion MA Preview: Exclusive Images

We talk to three CSM students about inspiration, ideas and thoughts ahead of their upcoming London Fashion Week show

Fashion Incoming
Timur Kim

The old Charing Cross building may stand desolate these days, but the Central Saint Martins MA students are still producing work that is no less charged. Even though they now reside in the new Kings Cross campus, they face the same battles: how to stand out and last – or even remain sane – as they offer highly considered work to a fashion-saturated world so fickle and often irrational. Nonetheless, in two weeks this unique batch will present their collections on the opening night of London Fashion Week. Before the ballyhoo begins, Dazed met three designers who signal a crossover class intent on making desirable fashion.

I looked at a lot of constructivism and played with triangles. There’s a bit of the Russian Orthodox Church, America and modern Hollywood too

Timur Kim - This 22-year-old Russian gives us a lesson on elegance.

DD: Why have you chosen the denim shirt as the starting point?
Timur Kim:
Denim is largely used in workwear or jeans but I believe the fabric can be made more dramatic and elegant. I played with different weights and shades, and found that I could make so many new variations. I hope to show that a brutal fabric can be translated into something feminine. 

DD: What else inspired?
Timur Kim: I was thinking of Lara from Doctor Zhivago, which was how the velvet came in, as I wanted something more elegant to clash with the workwear material. I also looked at a lot of constructivism and played with triangles. There’s a bit of the Russian Orthodox Church, America and modern Hollywood too.

DD: Do you have a fashion philosophy?
Timur Kim: Let the design lead you; I would never control the cut or the fabric. I don’t work against sketches and my cutting is based on instinct, so if something unexpected happens in the process, I won’t try to change it because I find it gives ease to the clothes.

DD: Plans after graduating?
Timur Kim: I’ve always wanted to have my own label, so I think it’s a good time to do it after the MA. I’m quite focused, not ‘arty’; I think about the marketing and business side of fashion a lot - my mum has a fashion boutique in St Petersburg, which has given me some training!

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I became obsessed by the idea of a religious cult with workwear uniforms after watching Village of the Damned, based on the book ‘The Midwich Cuckoos’ by John Wyndham

Craig Green - The 26-year-old textile and menswear designer brings life to digital printing.

DD: What can we expect at the show?
Craig Green:
As a whole collection, the visual will be quite extreme, but the clothes remain accessible. My work’s always about DIY and masculine materials; I like using wood and crafty things like papier-mâché – perhaps from being surrounded by my family of carpenters, plumbers, builders. At the same time, I think things are allowed to just look beautiful.

DD: Where did the inspiration come from?
Craig Green:
I became obsessed by the idea of a religious cult with workwear uniforms after watching Village of the Damned, based on the book ‘The Midwich Cuckoos’ by John Wyndham. I like the thought of everyone being controlled to be the same. Also I found postcards of really old paintings of luggage carriers – people who were paid to carry ridiculous amounts of stuff. I loved the structures and shapes it created on the body, which all ties back to the idea of a pilgrimage.

DD: And on the textile front?
Craig Green: It mostly came from accidental projections of fabric I tie-dyed, after being inspired by the fantasy of John Martin’s paintings. I was testing the scale on the outfits and when it didn’t fit properly, it looked like a light shining on the person, which became the print and led on to each model having a shadow.

DD: Are there any elements one might miss on the catwalk?
Craig Green: The digital print is the most engineered part; from afar one might think it’s been paneled in, but the process required painting it onto the outfit, photographing it, editing the image in precise measurements, printing and making it up on the garment again, ensuring the prints all align.

DD: Plans after graduating?
Craig Green: I’m open to suggestions.

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Fashion can be severe and androgynous but beautiful and relaxed. I hope to make things that are stunning in simplicity

Mei Lim-Cooper - The 28-year-old knitwear designer rethinks modern dressing.

Dazed Digital: You’ve just shown me how a single item can be worn in 10 different ways. What motivated this?
Mei Lim-Cooper:
I wanted to make pieces that we can play around with and enjoy. The collection is about craftsmanship, and about trying to create something quite light out of sculptural pieces – so that they can be layered up. Inspiration mainly came from moving back to my parent’s; it’s a really old Victorian house in southwest London that they’ve been gradually redoing, so there’s always tarpaulin around and I like the contrast it gives with cashmere. Also Marc Vaux’s paintings - they look simple but there’d be a metal frame somewhere or a bit of colour on the relief; similarly, a garment might appear plain or severe from the front but as you walk around, you keep discovering something new.

DD: Are there any elements one might miss on the catwalk (or in the subsequent pictures)?
Mei Lim-Cooper:
In pictures, you won’t see the way it moves or the way everything is layered up, to the distortion you get on the knitwear, while keeping the look fresh and clean. The nicest things are the side views, because you get a sight of all the different pieces and levels hanging against the body.

DD: Do you have a fashion philosophy?
Mei Lim-Cooper: Fashion can be severe and androgynous but beautiful and relaxed. I hope to make things that are stunning in simplicity.

DD: How has being in a new studio space affected your work?
Mei Lim-Cooper:
We’ve got different light, different space; it’s much more modern and very industrial. There was an easiness to Charing Cross and being here is like a confrontation; the graphicness of my work was definitely reinforced by that.

DD: Plans after graduating?
Mei Lim-Cooper: It’ll be interesting to see how everything’s received - that’s as far as I can picture right now!

Lim-Cooper will also be designing a look for the Bally x CSM project on 21st February

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