I was honoured to be invited to experience this latest exhibition from the students at Ravensbourne, one of our favourite fashion universities in London. For the second year, they partnered with Wrangler, this being their 70th anniversary, for Transitions 2.0.
The exhibition took place at Bargehouse in OXO Tower Wharf just on the Thames. The space is an old warehouse, still with its raw industrial feel. The entrance was a wide open space welcoming you in. As you go up to the main event, you passed the works from students of BA (Hons) Digital Photography, BA (Hons) Graphic Design, Year 3 Work in Progress from BA (Hons) Fashion Promotion and BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Brand Management along with a pre-collection from BA(Hons) Fashion Design students (it was all black, so this was a particular favourite of the exhibition).
The showcase was Ravensbourne’s second annual denim innovation showcase in collaboration with Wrangler and VF Corporation; in the space, one could find innovative denim clothing and accessories designed with Wrangler in mind.
Groups of students from Ravensbourne’s BA (Hons) Fashion, BA (Hons) Fashion Accessory Design and BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Brand Management courses were challenged to develop a 10 piece men's or women’s collection marketed at the fashion-forward consumer for Wrangler. They were also encouraged to build on Wrangler’s ‘body bespoke’ concept, whereby they tailor the design for every size of each style of their jeans to ensure every size is equally flattering.
Using the strapline ‘wear your waste’, Wrangler Wasted created a garment using 100% recycled denim. Water wastage is a huge issue in the denim industry, so they worked with a Spanish company, which uses high-tech machines to reduce this, as well as using exclusively recycled materials.
Ibridi x Wrangler
This collection draws inspiration from the late ‘70s and ‘80s power-dressing trends and neo-romantic styles. It is aimed at the modern cosmopolitan woman: she chooses to embrace her femininity, she seeks new ideas for individuality and does not confine herself to societal expectations.
Uniform’s vision was to introduce a luxury accessories line for the hard-working, modern day woman. Their collection centres around themes of work and construction, yet they have stayed true to Wrangler’s history as jeans designed for rodeo-use, by mirroring the materials used during the cowboy-era.
Wrangler x Anonymous
The designers of Wrangler x Anonymous were inspired by reimagining the heritage of the Wrangler brand and armouring the modern man against the modern world. This is reflected in the durability of the chosen fabrics and garments, but also in the sustainable ethos of the brand which armours the modern consumer against environmental disaster. The neutral colour palette is drawn from images of protest and riot gear and there are several features, repeated across the collection, which provide maximum utility for the wearer. For example, hidden pockets are used to reflect the subterfuge of protest movements, and the fact they are sized for an iPhone makes it relevant to a contemporary consumer. Similarly, the strap around the jacket waist line enables the wearer to adjust the volume in the front or back, maximising movement and leaving him ready to face whatever life throws at him!
The garments too are designed for practicality. Taking a modern-day craftsman as their muse, the designers have combined style with utility, using premium tailoring techniques to cut and fit the garments but then adding features such as pockets for tools, pleats to aid movement and gaps for ventilation. The waistcoat looks, at first glance, like a piece of formal wear, but on closer inspection is revealed to be honed for practical use. Conversely, the waxed jacket initially appears casual, but makes use of targeted shading (achieved by burning the wax) and pleating to flatter the male figure and elevate the look.
The brand ‘A Denim’ derives from the concept of architectural denim: denim clothing which creates a physical space for the wearer, designed inside and out. This is reflected across the garments in the A Denim range. The clothes reinterpret architectural features, such as extensions and panelling, and close attention is paid to creating hidden details within the designs. Inside the garments patterns are also printed and stitched, and the silhouettes are designed to be both structured and versatile - qualities you would expect from a modern building. The visual language of the brand also focuses on structure and clean lines, reminiscent of architectural drawing.
Commenting, Steve from Wrangler said: “The faculty and students at Ravensbourne continue to amaze us! Having worked with Ravensbourne over many years, we know they are a totally unique fashion institution. I believe part of their secret sauce is the combination of a dynamic future vision combined with incredible technique in the beauty and craft of apparel and accessory design.
“Together with our transformational innovation team, we’re able to explore the furthest reaches of design, science and technology in new ways, to delight consumers and better anticipate their future needs more holistically.”
Caroline Gilbey, Associate Dean for the Department of Fashion at Ravensbourne added: “It has been inspiring to see students from across our various fashion courses collaborate to create bespoke collections for Wrangler. They have done a great job of interpreting the brief provided by Steve and the rest of the team at Wrangler and VF Corporation, while each approaching it in their own distinct way. We are excited to present the collections at Transitions 2.0 and see what the reception will be.”