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Graduate Fashion Week: Bath Spa

Emerging Designers Exhibition Fashion Fashion Design Graduate Fashion Week

Graduate Fashion Week Bath Spa Holly Pendlebury
The show didn’t go off to the best of starts, it started roughly 10 minutes late and whilst in the queue (at which I arrived 15 minutes before the show began) I could still see the models practicing and learning their cues and sequences. As a result throughout the show some models had to be reminded where to go by the other models and there were a few 180 degree turns. This was the only show that made me remember that these were students. Nonetheless these minor set backs did not detract away from the show as a whole.
Graduate Fashion Week Bath Spa Laura Mallows
What I and many others noticed was how strong the denim was in this show. The examples of this can be seen with Laura Mallows’ collection which featured layered and patchwork denim with frayed edges. The free hand embroidery over the top was a lovely touch and it looked as if the garment was unravelling into these stitches.
Graduate Fashion Week Bath Spa Kenneth Susaya
Another example of this strong denim was seen with Kenneth Susaya. The male models entered the catwalk at the same time, an army of denim that was multicoloured and woven. The final example of denim from this show I want to mention is Ashley Patterson’s jackets and bags. The jackets and bags looked like unfinished rag rugs which created some beautiful textural contrast to the otherwise quite safe collection.
Graduate Fashion Week Bath Spa Ashley Patterson
Another recurring theme in this show was sportswear, both summer and winter sports wear. Samara Bishopp opened the show with her sportswear which featured many different textures but a simplified colour palette; same colours different fabrics. I found my gaze dashing from one corner of the model to the other exploring the qualities of each individual piece of fabric and comparing it to the others.
Graduate Fashion Week Bath Spa Samara Bishop
For the winter wear Beth Davies’ collection blended insulating warm winter jackets with Hawaiian prints on the sleeves and leggings, I even heard one spectator calling the collection “tropical astronaut”. I never would have dreamed of combining these bright citrus patterns on ski jackets, very clever. The final and perhaps best received collection was Holly Pendlebury’s. Again a winter sport theme with patterns, instead of tropical they were quite reptilian with vibrant colours, made me think of Alexander McQueen’s “Plato’s Atlantis” collection. The cameras attached to the clothes were a very nice touch, turning these models into professional skiers and snow boarders.
Graduate Fashion Week Bath Spa Beth DaviesGraduate Fashion Week Bath Spa Holly Pendlebury
Finally metal and metallic colours were prominent as well, not just in with the winter sport inspired collections. Deborah Counsell’s collection at first seemed quite reserved, very marketable at Marks & Spencers. The silver embroidery and embellishments on the jackets and bags brought these garments to life. I liked especially the contrast between the textured felt jacket and the silver embroidery creating soft curvy indentations into the felt that brought relief to the straight trousers. But Rebekah March’s use of metal could not be beaten, the silver and gold chainmail was surprisingly effeminate, thus denying our expectations of the material as something hard and masculine.
Graduate Fashion Week Bath Spa Deborah Counsell
Graduate Fashion Week Bath Spa Rebekah March

Altogether, despite the models’ lack of preparation the show was successful in showcasing the ingenuity and ability of the students to surprise and make me think of new possibilities.

Written by George Toon, contributor for Erebus

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