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Backstage at the AW20 Central Saint Martins MA fashion show
Backstage at the AW20 Central Saint Martins MA fashion show – Paolina RussoPhotography Lou Rolley

This new film captures the chaos and creativity before the CSM MA grad show

Mika Kailes goes behind the scenes in the lead up to the Class of 2020’s catwalk presentation, with appearances from Ella Boucht, Paolina Russo, Gui Rosa, and Leeann Huang

When guests sat down on the benches that lined Central Saint Martins’ vast atrium back in February, little did they know that the school’s MA Fashion presentation would mark one of the last major grad shows of the year. Soon after, the coronavirus forced the world into hibernation, and… well, you know the rest. 

Now, in a new short film presented by CSM student Mika Kailes, viewers are offered a glimpse of the chaos that comes before the catwalk show, as the photographer documents the weeks leading up to the students’ moment in the spotlight. Featuring a handful of the next gen of fashion talents, the likes of Gui Rosa, Leeann Huang, Paolina Russo, and Dazed 100-er Ella Boucht talk at length about their final collections. 

“I wanted to give the designers a voice and illustrate the genuine moments that happen in the studio,” Kailes explains. “I think it's very important to show the process and development of the work, rather than only focusing on the final outcome.” The designers he chose to spotlight “represented the diverse quality of the year,” he adds, with their offerings channelling everything from The Powerpuff Girls and working women in the city, to pilgrimages to Wales and Italy. 

Though each of the new graduates now facing an uncertain future in the aftermath of the pandemic, Kailes explains that many of them, including himself, see it as an opportunity for the fashion industry to reset and restart: “Now more than ever it’s time for us to reflect and re-adjust.”

Watch the full film below and revisit the 2020 MA Graduate show in the gallery above.