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Hannah Buswell

Graduate Fashion Week 2009 Preview

We take a look at some of the most interesting grads to come out of this year's GFW.

Graduate Fashion Week is upon us again with over 50 universities exhibiting or putting on a show that will be open to the public from June 7 to 11. For the 5th consecutive year, River Island will be sponsoring the event and lending support to the students in the form of internships as well as educating students about careers in fashion after they leave the uni cocoon. The Gala show will be the key moment when River Islands presents its Gold Awards of £20,000 to one lucky graduate. Last year’s winner Jessica Au impressed us with her floral menswear suiting and is currently biding her time before launching her own label.  

We take a look at six students and their work before it all kicks off…

Hannah Buswell (Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication)
“The collection Abstract Plots is originally inspired by abstract and linear drawings taken from allotment plots, wooden clad tree houses by Baumram and the work of Ruth Root. Traditional knitwear techniques such as fairisle and intarsia as well as chunky hand knits are used and updated with a contemporary twist.
The clothes are aimed at a muse I created. She’s in her early twenties and works as an illustrator. She loves big glasses, multi-coloured prints, graphic knits and layered clothing.”

Lois Porte (UWE Bristol)
"This collection uses the varied colours and textures of moths as visual inspiration, I find these are especially appropriate for my knitwear textures. I have developed my principle structural ideas from a combination of shapes from the wings and abdomen of the moths.
I have explored the many different textures achievable by using different gauges of knitted fabrics. I decided to use a large colour palette as I wanted to focus on varied patterns and clashing colours to add vibrancy and a strong visual identity to my collection."

Iwona Pilch (Middlesex University)
“My collection was mainly inspired by ritual scarring and the cultlike practises of so called modern primitives. I was interested in recreating the surface of fabric in the way the skin in certain cultures is being altered by needles, tribal body art and decorative cuts. To create this ‘second skin’ I was experimenting with stretching fabric over different types of embellished and constructed undergarments or pressing beads into it. The overall concept was to transfer the manipulation of skin onto wearable clothes and show a new personalised sophistication which is created by this instinctive interaction of body and fashion.”

Isla McLean (Northampton University)
“A controversial topic formed the basis of ‘The Thrill of the Chase,’ fox hunting.  The general stereotypical view of aristocracy and elitism is exactly what I wanted to achieve for my collection. For the garment silhouettes I took influence from huntsman liveries, sidesaddle riders along with the drama and passion of the hunt itself.  As hunting is such a British institution I wanted to use a fairly typical British fabric, but nothing ‘stuffy’ or dull; hence the bright, vibrant tartan. By not matching the checks it provides a more interesting and exciting aesthetic garment.”

Roxanne Pitteway (Northampton University)
“The concept for my final collection is beetles and cockroaches. I was interested in the way they have a hard, protective shell, and the way the different shapes of the insects slot together. My collection is almost completely made from black leather, as it is a fabric that I can achieve great shapes from, and I would ideally like to work with leather in the future.”

Anna Rose Underdown (University of Westminster)
“My collection is inspired by the structural elements of women's underwear, contradicted by the soft relaxed silhouette of nightwear, both children’s and adults. Sportswear has always been a major influence on my designs and I have taken the concept of wearable and relaxed garments and developed that into my own form of sophisticated, luxury fashion.
The look is both modest yet subtly provocative. Playful quirky elements such as knotted ears on hats and furry mittens add a youthful edge to lighten the mood.”

Graduate Fashion Week held at Earls Court, London between June 7 and 11. Tickets for all university shows and the first Gala Show are available online now.
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