Graduate Fashion Foundation is excited to announce it will be returning for the fourth season this February to London Fashion Week, working in collaboration with Visualist, the new productivity suite for fashion creatives, to further elevate some of the exciting talent that was discovered at Graduate Fashion Week 2020 to a global audience.
Six exciting emerging designers have been selected to be featured as part of the Graduate Fashion Foundation Digital Designer Profile throughout London Fashion Week, 19th – 23rd February 2021. The platform, that is for both trade and consumer audiences, enables the Foundation to spotlight these incredible talents as they seek to establish themselves in the Fashion industry and build their brands. The LFW digital platform, launched in June 2020 is the official LFW Digital Hub, hosting evergreen multimedia designer content, accessible to both industry professionals and global fashion consumers alike. The LFW Designer Platform embraces the cultural commentary, creativity and humorous spirit for which British fashion is renowned for.
This opportunity has been created by Graduate Fashion Foundation to; help its graduate fashion innovators launch their brand to a global audience, give them access to develop relationships with renowned global stores and publications, begin building a network of future contacts, be a part of a fashion week which is fully embracing emerging brands who are making a positive change in the industry and spotlighting them to a global audience.
GFF partnered with Visualist and their team of creatives to produce this season’s digital designer content for LFW, including an innovative photoshoot and video creation for all six designers. The London Fashion Week shoot was unlikely any other. The team at Visualist met the cast and crew for the very first time on shoot day and instead of being physically on set, the six designers who are spread across the UK and Portugal, participated remotely via private livestream to be able to direct and guide the styling of their collections.
Visualist conceived the shoot and managed post-production 100% virtually. Their workflow was highly visual and collaborative with a steady stream of digital moodboarding, supplemented by robust discussion that took place over a medley of video calls and threaded messages.
The fully digital nature of London Fashion Week and governmental restrictions, encouraged the team to rethink the use of technology to stage a shoot innovatively and safely, whilst allowing meaningful participation by those not present ‘IRL’. Although the semi-virtual nature of this shoot was prompted by COVID restrictions, the process also highlighted promising opportunities for the fashion industry to explore when it comes to digital collaboration and showcases.
“The six amazing graduate designers that were selected for this incredible opportunity now have the chance to further establish themselves in the fashion Industry at a time when it has never been more difficult to do so. We are so grateful for Visualist for bringing their expertise and experience to allow the students to collaborate remotely to ensure we creatively and accurately represent their brand to the world, said Joy Campbell, Director of Brand Partnerships at Graduate Fashion Foundation.
“For Visualist, supporting Graduate Fashion Foundation’s emerging talent has been most rewarding. We’re particularly encouraged by the diversity and talent of this group of designers, cast and crew, and also their openness to embracing new ways of working with Visualist. We’re looking forward to continuing to support GFF’s talent and enhancing their creative workflows,” said Cherie Yang, Founder of Visualist.
Meet the Designers:
Sarah Louise Koessler
Half French and half British designer Sarah-Louise Koessler grew up in France, in a small town in the region of Alsace. At the age of 18 she made the move to the UK to complete her BA (Hons) Fashion Design with Business studies at the University of Brighton. Since graduating in June 2020, she is currently based in Portugal working on her eponymous brand.
‘SLK Sarah-Louise Designs’ aims to create show pieces that make the wearer feel empowered, confident and special. Her recent collection “This, Madame, is Versailles” is a high impact Couture luxury evening womenswear collection. SLK explores conceptual and architectural silhouettes, an avant-garde take on classic Haute Couture, using innovative fabrics with technical craftsmanship features to fashion stylised moulded, structured designs inspired by the mirrored polished stainless steel of Jeff Koons’ sculptures. Sarah-Louise sees her dresses as wearable art. Bold, dramatic, modern and colourful, for fashion conscious, playful and rebellious women. Currently developing two aspects to her business including handbags, accessories and a diffusion ready to wear line using fabric remnants from her collection to reduce waste, alongside her bespoke eveningwear and couture pieces. Her work has been featured in titles such as Tomorrow Magazine, Malvie Magazine and the cover of Feroce Magazine, as well as being worn by influencer Marta Sierra.
On being selected to showcase with GFF Sarah-Louise said, “Thanks to Graduate Fashion Foundation this difficult year as a newly qualified fashion designer has been revived. Despite the challenges I have faced since last March, this opportunity has given me new perspectives and motivation. I now feel supported and involved, knowing I can seek professional advice with a young and dynamic team with hands-on fashion industry experience and contacts. I finally have the opportunity to properly launch my graduate collection and my own brand professionally to a global market. I think this project will give hope to young graduates this year and show them that despite COVID the 6 designers selected to showcase have still managed to make progress, giving hope and light ahead. It has been a positive creative bubble in these strange times, and has given me the momentum to continue to create showpieces and build new projects which I never imagined would be feasible remotely.”
Tyesha Camacho: London based designer Tyesha Camacho founded ‘Camat by Tyesha’ as part her graduate collection whilst studying BA (Hons) Fashion & Textile Design at University of the Creative Arts Rochester. Since graduating in June 2020, Tyesha continues to build her brand. The ‘REDEFINE’ collection looks at art, graffiti, music, musicians, environment and social issues. With this collection, she wanted to redefine negative stereotypes especially those regarded within ‘urban areas’, as well as start new and important conversations that were missing regarding social and political issues. Each outfit takes its name from music genres of Rap, Drill and Grime. The expression of the movements of this music can be seen in the print itself.
Her genderless, wearable design’s call for equality and promotes diversity whilst incorporating her love for bold clashing prints and oversized silhouettes. They feature concealed closures, piping detailing and detachable elements as well as embracing an asymmetric line. Tyesha aims for her brand to encourage others to experiment with personal style and wear what they want without fear of caring what others think. The collection has been featured within The Blacklist Magazine, and upon the Converse London Instagram profile.
On being selected to showcase with GFF Tyesha said, “I am honoured to be recognised by an amazing foundation such as GFF. It is an amazing achievement for a young designer such as myself to be featured at LFW, I cannot express how grateful I am for the opportunity.”
Sophie Parnaby: Yorkshire based, double GFF Award winning designer Sophie Parnaby, graduated in June 2020 with a BA (Hons) from Manchester Metropolitan University and currently continues to build her luxury clothing and accessories brand from her studio.
Innovatively harnessing the environmental benefits of 3D print technology, the eponymous label was founded upon the creation of new methods which revive waste plastics into intricately embellished pieces. The result of the brands’ futuristic methodology is beautifully structural clothing and accessories which appear as if covered with fragments of jet-black glass. With a closer look the pieces within the ‘Future Mythologies’ collection inspired by biomimicry is delicately coated with feather-like forms, wrapping around the curves of the body and organically merging into powerful silhouettes.
Implementing zero waste methods alongside using a combination of responsible deadstock material sourcing and recycled bio plastics means all pieces are created with minimal environmental impact, as well as supporting and prioritising local sellers and businesses where possible.
On being selected to showcase with GFF Sophie said, “The whole experience with the Visualist and GFF collaboration has been amazing so far, I’m really enjoying the opportunity. It is important to me as a brand and a designer to find solutions to the environmental issues which arise from fashion industry practices.”
Christopher Reid: Scottish Designer Christopher Reid’s collection of corsetry, looks to 18th century silhouettes and the films of Hammer Horror as a way to reimagine the historical with anachronistic fantasy. Created whilst studying BA (Hons) Fashion at Edinburgh College of Art, the collection inspired by Gothic horror movies of decades past, imbues their Scottish hometown’s folklore to create a ribbon trimmed body of references which act as the foundation for their own reality.
The brands signature piece is the Corset, made bespoke to client specifications. Reid found that for something so synonymous with the female form, the conical shape makes for a unisex garment with the lacing at the shoulders and back lending itself to being an easily adaptable piece for all body types. The brand aims to empower people to express their gender and sexuality however they may choose, with Reid confronting the binaries that persist within fashion in a subversive, feminine manner. Reid encourages the wearer to become both the nightgown-clad siren and axe wielding murderess of their own world. Embracing a warped femininity that roots itself in their forever muse; Courtney Love, to encourage the personal expression of gender and sexuality.
The fabrications address sustainability with the reclamation of materials. Reid collects antique lace trims, vintage curtains, upholstery tablecloths and even doll’s clothing to rework into the collection. The garments are investment pieces that are to be treasured as well as enjoyed by the wearer. Their corsetry work has been featured in Dazed and Confused, Hunger and Mission Magazine to name but a few.
On being selected to showcase with GFF Christopher Said, “Being able to show my work with GFF means so much because, along with so many other people in the Class of 2020, I had my final year cut short due to covid-19 and to be given such an incredible platform like this truly feels beyond anything I could ever have expected so soon after graduating.”
Hena Begum: ‘Modestly’ was started by Hena Begum a Bengali Muslim born and raised in the UK. She takes inspiration from her own experiences as a modest wearer and creates womenswear that is unique and experimental. Hena launched her brand after graduating Fashion and Textiles course at The University of Portsmouth and won the Graduate Fashion David Band Textiles Award 2020.
Modestly explores traditional textile techniques and combines weaving with the use of laser cutting technology to create designs inspired by Islamic art and architecture. Combining feminine tailoring and a bright eye-catching colour palette, Modestly aims to create conversations through the collections and to showcase modestwear that is creative. Hena is passionate about having a positive impact on diversity in the fashion industry, wishing to start conversations through her work and create a space where there is representation for people of many backgrounds. Her work was featured on TheTelegraph.co.uk and in print within The Guardian Weekend.
On being selected to showcase with GFF Hena said, “It feels amazing to have been selected as an emerging designer by GFF for the LFW Designer profile. It means a lot to have been given this opportunity allowing me to reach a wider network of people that I would have not been able to reach. I feel grateful to be able to showcase my brand and designs on such a huge platform and hope to connect to new people through this opportunity.”
Joshua Scott: Avant-garde fashion print designer Joshua Scott, graduated from University of the Creative Arts Rochester and continues his part-time Masters in Printed Textiles for Fashion and Interiors whilst perusing his experimental brand.
Joshua’s prints are drawn from the tropical foliage found in the Palm House at Kew Gardens, whilst the signature garment silhouettes are inspired by succulents and cacti found in the Princess of Wales Conservatory. The garments reference a wide range of historical shapes ranging from restrictive royal court dress to exaggerated 1980’s sportswear.
Fun and playful the unapologetic collection is full to the brim with innovative sewing, print, and pattern cutting techniques. The standout feature being the creative use of ribbing and stuffing to mimic the forms of barrel cacti while also acting a dramatic structural element. Joshua used dye sublimation to add patterns to a dense faux fur which distorts and moves as you run your fingers through it plus added key detailing on a smaller scale my favourite through the spines added as piping. They feature an abstract print in foil on cotton twill which adds a subtle reflectivity in order to help the piping stand out from the already very bold prints.
Joshua sees the brand evolving with a parallel ready to wear sustainable line of everyday essentials which embrace fine art and print. Colourful and unapologetic work the brand will always carry a sense of fun with it.
On being selected to showcase with GFF Joshua said, “I’m using the infancy of my brand as an opportunity to keep my horizons broad as an avant-garde designer but also a print artist. This opportunity is allowing me to grow as a designer and the shoot process with Visualist to create the LFW imagery has been a huge learning curve. It was honestly such a shock to get the email saying I’ve been nominated and I’ve been on cloud nine ever since. Last year was extremely tough and getting this news was a breath of fresh air, I’m just so grateful that I’m getting to share my work.”