Fashion: Learning curves

Design by Amelia Beardshaw, graduate in BA (Hons) Fashion Design at Sheffield Hallam University.
Design by Amelia Beardshaw, graduate in BA (Hons) Fashion Design at Sheffield Hallam University.
  • As Yorkshire’s finest student designers present their collections, Stephanie Smith celebrates the fashion stars of the future.
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As Yorkshire’s finest student designers present their collections, Stephanie Smith celebrates the fashion stars of the future.

If it’s summer, it must be graduate show time, when balmy summer evenings are spent mingling among students, proud parents and lecturers, trying to make sense of clever and intriguing works of art, photography, film and textiles on display, before assembling for a catwalk show to witness the most creative designs emanating from the student fashion world.

Left, designs by Louise Murby; right, designs by Marissa Ellis-Dokubo ' both final year students at Leeds College of Art.

Left, designs by Louise Murby; right, designs by Marissa Ellis-Dokubo ' both final year students at Leeds College of Art.

This is where our creative talent is launched, not just upon the UK, but upon the rest of the world, because British graduates travel far, and British design is prized for its craftsmanship, its quality and its fresh, keen eye, ever striving to push boundaries to come up with something different and new.

In Yorkshire we are blessed with several excellent universities and colleges which nurture fashion design talent, legacy, in part, of the county’s close links to textile manufacturing. Indeed, today, many of Yorkshire’s existing manufacturers play a vital role in supporting the students, with training, expertise and, perhaps best of all, cloth, so they can make up their designs.

Sheffield Hallam University’s fashion show was held at the Millennium Gallery in the city, where.

Amelia Beardshaw won Best in Show for her collection No Beginning No End, which celebrates traditional Polish dress to create, as she describes it, a “new understanding of folk art culture and how it has indirectly influenced fashion today”. The palette of pumpkin orange, slate grey and earthy cork underpinned her standout designs, which were picked to win by judges including Made In Chelsea celebrities Oliver Proudlock and Funda Onal, who came to watch and support the show.

Left, designs by Louise Murby; right, designs by Marissa Ellis-Dokubo ' both final year students at Leeds College of Art.

Left, designs by Louise Murby; right, designs by Marissa Ellis-Dokubo ' both final year students at Leeds College of Art.

Leeds Beckett University’s fashion undergraduate course collaborated with independent retail store Lambert’s Yard in the city on a project to meet a brief centred on the concept of Metamorphosis. The store then provided a pop-up platform so that the young designers could sell their garments, to prepare them for life after graduation.

Student Mary Mellor referenced craft in her patchwork designs which were inspired by the effects of fire and resulting homelessness. Lambert’s Yard retail director Adam Jagger, who picked Mary’s designs and the others that featured in the store, said he was impressed with the quality of the work, adding: “Some of the pieces wouldn’t even look out of place on a runway at London Fashion Week.”

Lambert’s Yard also collaborated with Leeds College of Art on another pop-up project, this time picking three of the graduating third-year BA Fashion students, Grace Johnson, Marissa Ellis-Dokubo and Lara Way, to show and sell their works at the store.

Adam Jagger said: “The standard of design and tailoring by all the graduates was incredible but Grace, Marissa and Lara’s collections were outstanding and, commercially, they sit well against the established independent designers we already stock.”

Huddersfield University staged its fashion show at the Lawrence Batley Theatre, presenting work by graduates from its Fashion Design with Textiles BA ( Fashion Design with Marketing and Production BA courses.

As ever, the standard was high and the designs were standout, as illustrated here by the the images I have picked out of my favourite works from the four Yorkshire establishments featured here. These are the fashion design stars of the future. Remember where you saw them first.

Twitter: @yorkshirefashQ