Monday, 6 June 2011

New Designer O'Clock - Graduate Fashion Week

[Images courtesy of London College of Fashion and Stine Riis].

With Graduate Fashion Week 2011 in full swing in London, it's an incredibly exciting time for new designers. This year sees the new sponsors, George at Asda, establishing themselves as the protectors and celebrators of the graduating intake, and it will be interesting to see how they choose to involve some of these creative individuals in the George design process. The previous sponsors were River Island, who chose to release a Graduate collection each year to showcase their top picks for emerging fashion talent, and it gave a great boost to the high street by injecting fresh ideas. Similarly, New Look has put graduate footwear on the map with its recent LCF style drop, which I focused on in a previous post. So far, George has publicised the catwalk shows on its blog but I would also love to see the clothing aisles of Asda buzzing with the efforts of these prodigies. I know that supermarket style may not be seen as the high point for the discerning designer, but you can't ignore that consumers are lapping up fashion at the same time as doing the weekly shop, with competition fierce between the major players (Tesco, Sainsbury's and the aforementioned George). I don't think you can go far wrong by getting involved with George if they give you the nod.

My favourite of the London College of Fashion graduates this year would have to be Stine Riis, as seen above. Her work is inspired by 'duality', 'decay' and 'decadence', and I can't get enough of it. The colouring is simple and wearable, with echoes of the fashion giant Chloe in the use of rust and camel. With draping key to the collection, there is a love of the female form in this womenswear, and an enthusiasm in developing new silhouettes, from the structural to the loose. I think this is a really mature range, but it doesn't have to be inaccessible to young women - you could easily pick up her navy and green skirt with draped panels and wear it with battered Converse and a supermarket vest top. I would love to see Riis' designs on sale in the future (though I'd steer clear of her fur pieces on the principle that I only wear fake) and I am sure she will have a successful career in the industry, whether she works for a major fashion house or she is taken under the wing of George.

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