Fashion's new rebels: CSM's class of 2014

We shoot the collections of six of this year’s breakout CSM BA Fashion grads

Fashion Q+A
Paige Honeycutt (Premier) wears Fiona O'Neill, Dazed CSM Q+A
Paige Honeycutt (Premier) wears Fiona O'Neill Photography Arno Frugier; Styling John Colver

With an infamous reputation for nurturing creativity, the leading lights of Central Saint Martins BA Fashion course are radical thinkers. Diverse in their inspirations, this year’s graduates went from small Irish towns to seventies Nigeria and back again in their quest to thrust the future of fashion in our faces. Six of the most head-turning collections from the 2014 cohort have been given the Dazed treatment in a shoot by Arno Frugier, former assistant to Paolo Roversi, with styling by John Colver. Here we speak to fashion’s future stars about their eclectic inspirations, life at CSM and what’s yet to come.

JO PARK

Sharnee Gates (IMG) wears Jo Park, Dazed CSM Q+A
Sharnee Gates (IMG) wears Jo Park Photography Arno Frugier; Styling John Colver

“I found a sign on a mattress saying ‘nothing really mattress’, and that's where it began,” reveals Canadian/Korean designer Jo Park of her “serious but humorous” collection. Looking to photographers Lars Tunbjörk, Matthieu Lavanchy and Sian Bonnell for inspiration, it was the 1999 film Office Space that caught her attention. “I just imagined people in the office who really want to go home. I wanted everything to be very effortless, off and broken,” Park says, adding that “everyone is a dreamer at CSM and I'm so honoured that I was part of it.”

What makes studying fashion at CSM a unique experience?

My tutor Howard's guidance was so open and the ideas endless. Sharing ideas with this bunch of creative people just makes me want to make something happen. It’s almost an enlightenment.

ANNABEL VAWSER

Jolie (Select) wears Annabel Vawser, Dazed CSM Q+A
Jolie (Select) wears Annabel Vawser Photography Arno Frugier; Styling John Colver

Deconstructing used clothes, British-born Annabel Vawser looked to the collaged sculptures of Isa Genzken for the inspiration behind her collection. The twenty-three-year-old tells of “taking second-hand clothes apart, embroidering, using car parts such as chassis clips and ring terminals for fastenings.” Describing herself as “interested in textile development” Vawser used unusual materials and contemporary art influences in her debut.

Which now-over trend do you think will have the most unlikely comeback?

Parachute pants.

HYON PARK

Martha Rose Redding (Select) wears Hyon Park, Dazed CSM Q+A
Martha Rose Redding (Select) wears Hyon Park Photography Arno Frugier; Styling John Colver

Hyon Park’s sportswear infused collection was a race against time. “The time limit meant I had to resort to plans B, C, D and E, but it all worked out okay,” the twenty-five-year-old graduate explains. Using Nike motifs and opening his turn in the show with a model jogging the length of the runway, the Korean designer and former illustrator says he was inspired by “diversity and youth." Describing his garments as “sexy sportswear” the draped towel dress and neoprene undies may look out of place at the gym, but might bag you a different kind of workout.


What will a fashion show look like in 50 years? 

Daily life.

RICHARD MALONE

Marta Aguilar (Models1) wears Richard Malone, Dazed CSM Q+A
Marta Aguilar (Models1) wears Richard Malone Photography Arno Frugier; Styling John Colver

Wexford’s self-confessed “stubborn” designer, twenty-four-year-old Richard Malone took a hands-on approach to his final collection, inspired by the small recession-hit Irish town he calls home. He showed a rebellious uniform for a grumpy girl gang, made of old unwanted wools and industrial pleather, which he says “was a bit like a procession of twelve, pissed off drunken teenagers, with sorting hats and white patent joke shop boots. A piss take of Irish stereotypes and youth culture.”

What uncharted territory has fashion yet to cover?

I hope in the future that big companies will be willing to invest in future talents and realise that the industry will lose brilliant designers, who are now priced out of applying. The diversity of students in fashion schools is really weakening as a result. There's far too many Céline bags in CSM at the minute. We need to get back to the Sainsbury’s Basics.

GRACE WALES BONNER

Liam Gardner (Select) wears Grace Wales Bonner, Dazed CSM
Liam Gardner (Select) wears Grace Wales Bonner Photography Arno Frugier; Styling John Colver

“I've always been interested in transforming images and identities,” enthuses Grace Wales Bonner, the twenty-three-year-old Jamaican-English designer from South London. Her graduate collection saw her all black model army dripping in jewels, as she reinterpreted the Chanel bouclé suit for the modern man. Bagging herself the L’Oreal Professionnel Designer of the Year prize, Wales Bonner cites Coco Chanel, seventies Nigeria and blaxploitation as her references, adding that “it was only after the show and it's reception that I believed in myself as a designer and the potential to communicate.”

What uncharted territory has fashion yet to cover?

There are so many aspects of culture that are not properly documented, so I think there is limitless potential to explore. Even in referencing something that already exists you can still create something new.

FIONA O’NEILL

Paige Honeycutt (Premier) wears Fiona O'Neill, Dazed CSM Q+A
Paige Honeycutt (Premier) wears Fiona O'Neill Photography Arno Frugier; Styling John Colver

“I don’t like just doing something because it looks nice, there has to be something behind it,” the Dublin born Fiona O’Neill confesses. The twenty-four-year-old’s collection of distorted silhouettes and hand-painted pieces saw her draw on an artistic background – “my first inspiration was Kate Blacker’s Geisha series." She went on to look at female artists who paint women including Chantal Joffe and Helen Verhoeven. She adds, “I am inspired by the artists. I’m a conceptual designer.”

Which now-over trend do you think will have the most unlikely comeback?

Velour tracksuits.

Photography Arno Frugier; Styling John Colver; Hair Cyndia Harvey at Streeters; Make-up Joey Choy at Streeters; Set designer Amy Stickland; Models Paige at Premier, Sharnee at IMG, Jolie, Martha and Liam at Select and Marta at Models1

More Fashion