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Hybridising fashion and objects through the work of Grace Ling

“I like some aspects to be more subtle because I think the collection and the brand are about this eccentric elegance and intelligent femininity.” This eccentricity is felt with her inspirations from Dora Maar, whose surrealist photomontages challenge the idea of the modern woman. “Because the tailored suits are very covered up, they don’t really expose body parts. But then someone would wear the butt bag and people would end up gazing at the static body part of a person as if at art."

Masha Popova flies solo

Her bright sci-fi inspired streetwear was available as a limited pre-order collection and she says that she got swamped by orders, even allowing her to get a small studio space to work independently. She credits Instagram for her success, saying that for young designers it offers an economical way of presenting your work to a large audience. “Instagram started putting my images on the Explore page and people would just find it accidentally. That really helped."

Jamie Sutherland and the magpie’s paradise

As both his parents are artists, he is particularly connected to drawing and has even covered his table with paper so he can draw his ideas at any time. “That’s often the very first thing that I do. I’ve never really been into fashion drawings. So often, they might not even be people – it’s like decoding something. It takes quite a long time and it’s only at the very end of the process that I’m like, ‘Oh, that makes sense.”

Pause or Pay: Should students be able to pause their studies or get their money back?

“It was very weird. Two days before closing they were saying that nothing is going to happen, just be calm, the show will still happen, you will still have the studios and facilities,” a student explains while they and their classmates at UAL have gone through turmoil during the pandemic – classes were called off and moved online, while students had only days to gather years of work into bags and suitcases before the order to “stay home, stay safe” was put in place.

Fashion educators on the Future of Fashion courses after COVID

Many art schools in the UK have continued the courses despite the pandemic, impacting thousands of students who have been left without adequate support and placed in a lurch, similarly to those attending Glasgow School of Art, the RCA and other art schools in the UK where the #pauseorpay initiative is gaining traction. With the lockdown in place since March, UAL students have had to abandon work they had started in their workshops and start from scratch at home.

Milka Seppänen: “The capacity to adapt is this generation’s biggest asset”

Milka Seppänen won the Designers’ Nest Award for 2020 with a collection of mismatched animal-print mohair cardigans, trousers in distressed leather, lacey crochet sweaters, and kilts straight out of a rock’n’roll Braveheart. Inspired by old photos of her mum’s 1980s punk crowd, Milka’s collection used recycled materials to recall a time when teenagers who were angry at the establishment came together through music and fashion.

Daniela Benaim: “There is no single definition of home”

How do you personally define ‘home’? I migrated to London the year before I started at CSM, and started to question where I considered home to be around that time — was it my flat in London or my house in Venezuela? I knew there was no single answer because you can have multiple notions of home simultaneously. Sometimes home is a safe space, or your body, or your family. Sometimes, your home feels claustrophobic and not like a home at all.

Jude Ferrari: “Planning a show is like doing a bar mitzvah, sweet sixteen and wedding at the same time”

After the CSM show, Jude took her collection home to Paris, to organise her own show outside of the university sphere. By a stroke of luck (and a well-connected babysitting client), she was able to secure a gallery space in Paris where Acne and Stella McCartney have previously shown collections. “I managed to pay almost nothing,” she beams. “The only big cost was the giant monster truck – a tribute to my dad’s accident that inspired the whole collection.”

Josephine Sidhu: Post-graduation growing pains

“I am very, very heavy on the research,” says Josephine. “The design and making happen almost accidentally through the research process.” Her archive of research images spans from sartorial collages (layered outfits documented by her boyfriend) to paper ones. “It’s a lot of sticking stuff down and finding good combinations by seeing things sat in a pile on the floor next to each other,” she explains. “I think collaging is a CSM Foundation course thing.”
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