RCA Graduate Show 1

The Royal College of Art show cases its impressive roster of design students at their annual Graduate show...

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Just like its Central Saint Martin’s competitor, the RCA’s prestigious MA Fashion Design course has gained a reputation for producing some of the most innovative and artistically-inclined students. Over the years, the programme has given rise to London’s celebrated designers including Erdem, Phillip Treacy, James Long and Aitor Throup, and more recently, Holly Fulton and Katie Eary. After the show, Dazed got a peek into what’s stirring the minds of the 2010 graduates...

Marielle Van De Ven
The main inspiration for my graduate collection are the installations of Korean artist Do Ho Suh and sculptures constructed from cloth and frameworks.
How old are you and where are you from? 
25, The Netherlands
Why womenswear?  
I chose womenswear because I have a tendency to make everything too little - my writing is small, my drawings are tiny and so are my clothes, menswear from my hand would turn out to be suitable for dwarfs!
How would you describe your style?
I think my collections are refined but sharp and would suit the more androgynous women. Structured and pieced leather jackets riveted together with metal bolts, full length sheer dresses, soft and transparent drapes. Framing and fragmentation are essential in my work at the moment, expanded metal components and the contrast between rigid and the transparent
Who are your favourite designers and why?
My favourites are not far away. I love London, because there is so much happening here at the moment. I also like Paris and I love the Belgian designers such as Haider Ackerman, Ann Demeulemeester, AF Vandevorst and Margiela. My absolute favorite is  Haider Ackerman. I think the  way he can wrap and drape a long dress and construct the tiniest, most beautiful jackets around is amazing!
What are your plans after graduation?
I’m really curious to learn loads and would love to work for a good house. A a job at one of the above designers is something I would die for!

Sara Bro-Jorgensen
My graduate collection is inspired by a series of black and white photographs I took last summer. Some of the photographs are very dark and heavy, others light and dreamy. Some show graphic structure and lines. Others are soft abstract images. These photographs are reflected in my collection through fabrics, colours and knit techniques and in a play with 2d and 3d effects.
How old are you and where are you from? 
29, I'm from Denmark.
Why womenswear?
I've always been fascinated by womenswear because I see it as one of the strongest and most direct ways to express one self.
How would you describe your style?
My style is very mixed and I love to combine many different elements and techniques. I take inspiration in everything around me but I think I still have a strong influence from Scandinavia.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation I will show my collection at ITS9 in Trieste Italy.

Simone Sommer
My graduate collection was inspired by intersections of lines and surfaces- in a graphic and a literal way. I use leather stripes to weave them, I slash leather to create fine and graphic lines, I weave my own fabric with floating parts.
How old are you and where are you from? 
28, Germany
Why womenswear?
Fashion is an aesthetical communication about people and their socio-cultural environment, a sort of reflection how I see myself and how I want to be perceived by others. When designing, I can express what I feel is aesthetic and desirable about a person and on a person.
How would you describe your style?
Pure, graphic, androgynous, constructed.
Who are your favourite designers and why?
I don't have any favourite designers. There are designers whose work I admire and whom I deeply respect. For example Da Vinci, for his genius to foresee things that would happen hundreds of years later and to create and design for example flying vehicles long before they were built.
What are your plans after graduation?
Send out my portfolio, update my website and watch the World Cup!

Kathleen Connors
My graduate collection was initially inspired by the work of a 19th Century flora and fauna illustrator named Ernst Haeckel, however the colour story has evolved from 1970's images of Tibetan culture.  These two things encapsulate myriad stories that are dear to my heart: the natural sciences and cultural heritage.
How old are you and where are you from? 
30, born in Hong Kong, brought up in England and Hong Kong
Why womenswear?
The female form is the best
How would you describe your style?
Feminine, grown up and clean with a bit of colour thrown in 
Who are your favourite designers and why?
I love Dries van Noten for his interest and interpretation of the non-Western world...I've just bought a pair of his sandals for our gala!  I also love Jil Sander for her work with the eponymous label as well as her work with Uniqlo.  The democratisation of design through such collaborations with the high streets is incredibly exciting for me. I think Erdem is wonderful too and appeals to my feminine side.
What are your plans after graduation?
Ultimately I want to be a creative entrepreneur and own my own business, but on my way there I have a few things on the boil with places that I freelance for and I have applied to new places whose aesthetic I feel I'm aligned with. Besides that I have a long list of things I want to do including writing proposals to existing companies, collaborating with independent creatives, learn Italian...but first I am going to go for a little break in Kent.

Caroline Gardner

My graduate collection was inspired by alpacas. I created a story of 3 alpacas that travel across Peru in search of lake Titicaca and the knitting men that live there. This has then inspired the collection with a fusion of classic sportswear silhouettes.
How old are you and where are you from? 
26, I am from Reading, in Berkshire, England. Previous to the RCA I studied knitted textiles at Winchester School of Art.
Why menswear?
I have always had a passion for menswear, through the detailing and styling. I also feel that it is an area of fashion that can be challenged as men's attitudes to fashion are evolving.
How would you describe your style?
Casual, ready to wear with a sportswear vibe.
Who are your favourite designers and why?
I like designers that challenge the knitting world, therefore I love the work of Henrik Vibskov and Bernhard Willhelm. I also admire the work of Dries Van Noten and Comme Des Garcons for their use of colour, pattern and fabrication.
What are your plans after graduation?
To have an alpaca farm and have my own label.

Le Lin Tang
My graduate collection was mainly inspired by J.G. Ballard’s novel ‘Crash’. The book explores themes such as the transformation of human psychology by modern technology. The gruesome damage inflicted on car-crash victims is not seen as shocking, but as the liberation of new sexual possibilities.
How old are you and where are you from? 
25, Hong Kong
Why menswear?
Somehow I like the idea that I have power over men, at least clothing-wise. Maybe this is my complex towards the male-dominated society.
How would you describe your style?
Elegant and sensual.
Who are your favourite designers and why?
Definitely Olivier Theysken and Stefano Pilati. Their collections are the most emotionally powerful for me.
What are your plans after graduation?
I am planning to read a lot and go scuba-diving in the Mediterranean.

Hanna Ter Meulen
My graduation collection was first of all inspired by American Psycho, the book and the I continued to watch the film and fell in love with the clothing. I decided to focus my research on early 90 Armani and Versace making them the starting point for my collection along side that I developed and refined my cutting and handworking techniques who are used to form the shapes and silhouettes of the garments.
How old are you and where are you from? 
24, I'm Dutch.
Why Menswear?
I choose to design Menswear because early on during my BA degree I figured out that the pretty dresses I was designing for girls weren't that particularly special or pretty and most my design references were quite masculine based. So I did a project on menswear and fell in love with it. The attention to detail, the fabrics and the history of tailoring are the core parts of my interest. I like to see how I can reconstruct menswear within its own boundaries.
How would you describe your style?
I would describe my style as classic menswear reinvented. It has its base in tailoring but I like to reconstruct the patterns but keep the shapes simple and refined. I also work a lot with fabric manipulations like smocking, weaving and patch-working. Adding new dimensions to these old techniques as the are paramount to shaping the garments around the male body. The use of luxury high quality materials, like fine woolens, tweed, cashmere and silk is also very important to me.
Who are your favourite designers and why?
Adam Kimmel, Raf Simons, Lucas Ossendrijver, Jil Sander(designer not the label), Helmut Lang. I like these designers for their great design ideas, use of colour or (lack there off) and the use of beautiful materials.
What are your plans after graduation?
After my graduation I will first of all be going to Italy for the ITS#Nine competition and then I will start applying for jobs either in Paris or Milan and at the same time I 'm planning to develop a small new collection to be presented at London Fashion Week.

Danielle Romeril

My graduate collection is a mash up of voodoo, tribal and pagan references. The mood captured within the collection is one of atmospheric brutal beauty.
How old are you and where are you from? 
26, Dublin, Ireland
Why womenswear?
The female form is such a beautiful canvas to work from.
How would you describe your style?
My style is constantly evolving, part of what I love about fashion system is the inherent freedom of the new season. Tonal colour, combinations of unexpected fabrics and drape remain as constants throughout my personal evolution. Tough beaten leathers and hardware often juxtaposed with the softest of silks. Textural print often feature, these prints acting as the springboard for the rest of the collection’s colour palette.
Who are your favourite designers and why?
Rick Owens for his unwavering commitment to his own aesthetic, a subversive vision that has spurned many imitators, Rodarte for constantly striving towards the beautiful and dreamlike coupled with their success despite their lack of formal fashion education, in New York, the most conservative of fashion capitals Miuccia Prada for the instinctivness that governs her catwalk collections, that she challenges herself to create something beautiful from something she hates and the freedom to alter her aesthetic every season.
What are your plans after graduation?
To collaborate with other creatives spending the summer participating in art/design exhibitions while chasing opportunities down. I would love to go back to Paris where I have worked before and build on previously gained experience but the idea of having my own label in London is very exciting and something I am considering too.

Sam Mccoach
My graduate collection’s inspiration is drawn from a séance of community within a small town. It’s about a place place that wont leave you when you leave it.
How old are you and where are you from? 
23, Edinburgh
How would you describe your style?
Playful, charming, and relaxed
Who are your favourite designers and why?
Bernhard Willhelm. I find him surprising.
What are your plans after graduation?
To take more photographs…

Morten Olesen

My inspiration came from memories of objects left behind by a deceased fictional muse, based on fashion icons such as Loulou de la Falaise and French stylist Catherine Baba. My designs are a riot of colour, materials and textures, mixing jacquard fabrics created by Chanel's textile collaborator Mahlia Kent with mink by Kopenhagen Fur, Sophie Halette lace and Swarovksi crystals.
How old are you and where are you from? 
27, Denmark
Why womenswear?
I think womenswear chose me and I think menswear would be too personal to design. I like that I don’t have to think about my own limits…its like my playground where I constantly challenge myself.
How would you describe your style?
I hope my style cannot be described too easily or put in a box as I hope it is constantly evolving but at the same time I think and hope that I have a certain signature to my work.
Who are your favourite designers and why?
Christian Lacroix because of the frivolous approach in his designs.
What are your plans after graduation?
To keep doing what I do whether I am on my own or for someone else.


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