This year’s Yorkshire fashion graduates will soon be influencing what we see and buy on the High Street. Stephanie Smith picks out some names to look out for.
This summer, young fashion designers from across Yorkshire graduated from university, ready to take their next step. Their final catwalk shows were attended by fashion industry professionals and press, ever looking for “the next big thing”.
Anna Twyford, 21, is from Cumbria. She studied BA Fashion Design at Leeds College of Art and last year was selected to be part of the Northern Youth Fashion Show in York, attended by Anna Wintour. She has secured a Visual Merchandising and Styling position with Marks and Spencer, and is transferring to the design team in London. She says: 'Growing up in an artistic household (my dad is a professional land/cityscape painter) I have always been immersed in design. My nan is an inspiration to me daily - at the fabulous age of 83 she is still sewing away following a successful career as a dressmaker. She taught me my foundations and skills such as zero-waste pattern cutting which is largely ignored in industry nowadays. I am also an absolute colour enthusiast and my heart throbs at the sight of a Matisse, Degas or Monet. 'I intend my designs to be obtainable but embody a sense of eminence, finesse, contemporary and cool."
They were eagerly watched also by their tutors, family and friends, those who have looked on and supported them as they have developed their skills, ideas and personalities, witnessing the self-doubt, the exasperation, the creative highs and lows and the small and great triumphs of a loved one who has chosen to pursue a career in fashion design.
It’s not all about becoming the next Christopher Bailey, Stella McCartney or Vivienne Westwood, although some may well do. Some of these young designers intend to launch their own labels, some want to pursue their creative dreams in Europe, the US or Japan, while others have already found creative roles within the UK’s leading High Street fashion retailers. Thanks to Yorkshire’s manufacturing heritage and excellent universities and colleges, we produce some of the UK’s and indeed the world’s most talented and creative fashion designers.
Here we showcase the work of just a few of the ones to watch.
Rocia Mena Moscoso, 25, is from Seville, Spain, where she studied at art college before a Higher Diploma in Fashion & Art at Kensington & Chelsea College, then BA Fashion at Leeds Beckett University. 'She says: 'From my childhood I always had a special sense for fashion. I decided to leave Spain and move to England because it is the cradle of fashion where I could develop my ideas freely.''I believe in a new way of fashion, in which many new elements and ideas can be integrated, new forms, techniques and fabrics without losing the aesthetic sense of the body.''My next step is to continue developing my creative ideas, whether it's working for a brand or developing my own. I see myself more in a "fashion laboratory'.'Leeds Beckett University BA Fashion course director Katie Lenton says: 'Rocio's luxury womenswear encompasses innovative techniques such as shearing into sheepskin to create trompe l'oeil quilting effects."
Picture by Simon Armstrong. Kasubika Chola was born in Zambia Lusaka, moved to London aged 5, and Pontefract aged 11. She studied at Leeds College of Art and then Kingston University for her degree in Fashion Design. She was selected to show her final collection, made from used Levi's jeans, at Graduate Fashion Week, where it was worn by fashion influencer Caryn Franklin. Kasubika says: 'My passion for designing started with art. I still consider myself an artist and my artistic background influences my designs.' Kasibika's influences include anime, comics, manga and, in fashion, Zac Posen. 'What Posen stands for in terms of the issues of diversity and representation in fashion is a topic that I respect. 'I don't want to create something you see every day. I would love to continue to work with Levis. I aim to work and live in Japan in the future.'
Lauren Backhouse, 22, is from Selby. She graduated with a first in Fashion Design with Textiles at the University of Huddersfield this year. She has secured a graduate level job as a garment technologist on the M&S account at Klash Clothing. 'She says: 'The pure indulgent freedom which surrounds sweets has played a key part in influencing the playful shapes and contemporary textiles throughout my collection. The spectrum of colour ranges from pastels to bold shades which builds the modern aesthetic of my work.'
Tegan Barker, 21, from York, has just graduated with first class honours in Fashion Design with Marketing and Production at the University of Huddersfield. She has joined the Graduate Protege Scheme at Karen Millen HQ in London.' She says: 'I first wanted to become a fashion designer in my textiles classes at school. I'm inspired by what I see on my travels. I love visiting galleries, markets and new shops when I'm on holiday for colour and detail inspiration.' 'My design style is tailoring with a twist. In my final collection I took classic tailored staple pieces such as shirts and the trench coat and combined them with fresh details and fabrics to give an overall soft and contemporary feel.'
Samantha Worrillow, 21, is from Leeds and studied Textiles at York College before graduating with first in Fashion Design at Leeds Beckett University. She hopes to launch her own label one day. 'She says: 'I first realised I wanted to be a fashion designer when watching Vivienne Westwood talk about the meaning behind her clothes in 2012. It made me realise that fashion isn't always about what you wear, but also what it stands for. I'm also inspired by my grandma who taught me to sew.'' My designs aim to challenge what is considered modern tailoring. I like to apply feminist, gender and social theories to the research for the garments to create new forms and silhouettes. 'Leeds Beckett University BA Fashion course director Katie Lenton says:''Samantha's work is both highly conceptual and beautifully executed. She has combined bespok
Natasha Parker has just graduated from Leeds College of Art. 'Her final collection was inspired by her preference for oversized silhouettes and the extravagant wardrobe of Queen Elizabeth I,' says her tutor, Katie Lenton.'' Historical details are deconstructed and combined with modern fabrics to establish a contemporary aesthetic. Natasha's creative illustrations and original designs attracted attention from press and stylists at our Brick Lane exhibition.'