Winchester School of Art: Fashion grads with a message

The designers from Winchester School of Art showcasing their graduate collections at the On|Off Vinyl Factory in Soho on Thursday, gave London Fashion Week a real kick-start. The designs featured were outstanding – something very unusual and they all had a good story to tell. I had a chat with four fashion design graduates about their inspiration and plans for the future. Turns out they are all ambitious and hungry for success.

Credit: On|Off Vinyl Factory

Credit: On|Off Vinyl Factory

The African mask and traditional aesthetics
Ye Peilian has designed her graduate collection inspired by African masks and traditional aesthetics. The African mask goes back to the 20th century, representing the control over good and evil forces. Peilian used inspiration from the mask in her designs. One garment catches my eye – a black coat with a detailed finish. You can see the structure of an African mask on the coat, made by mixing several materials and colours.

“I have focused on using strong colours and solid material within my collection, to visualise the simple silhouette and traditional style through my designs.”

Talking about strong colours, Peilian have used cobalt blue as a connecting line through her whole collection. It takes you on an historic journey through the origin of the African mask, entwined traditional Chinese garments. Peilian’s collection is all about how materials and colours combine together, expressing her identity within her designs – and not giving it away to the modern.

“I’m all about tradition and am hoping to keep it that way”. 

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The power of graffiti 
Zhao Ning is wearing a black and white shirt with a gingham pattern on. Her collection is all about the power of graffiti art and exploring with different patterns on clothing. It shines through in her designs, and for her graduate collection she has certainly set out to catch the attention of the eye.

“I explore through imbalance in my designs, and are always aiming to try more printed patterns and stronger silhouettes.”

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Challenging the differences
Liayo Ding is a girl with hope and she has based her graduate collection on cultural differences in today’s society. Ding wants to tell a story through her designs, removing the casual look and the many differences between race in our society.

“Everything can be an inspiration for a new garment, but I like to find mine in different people around the world.”

Ding aspires to become established as a designer in the UK, featuring her message within the fashion world and to change society’s view to the message that everyone deserves the same chance – black as white.

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Is society striving to be perfect?
As we all know, most of us wake up every day and don’t go out of the house without our ‘face’ on – makeup. Jiangxue Han wants to change how women strive to look perfect every day. She wants to make the perfect not so perfect. The designer’s focus on expressing natural beauty through her design, wanting to inspire young girls not to strive for the perfect look every day, but to be comfortable with who they are.

“It’s not healthy to wake up every day and feel like you have to put a mask on and dress a certain way.”

The Chinese designer plans to move back home and establish as a designer in China. She wants to show China modern design and new technologies, as she describes the Chinese design programs as a little unfashionable, only focusing on traditional Chinese garments.

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Join us for a sneak-peak at the preparations of the presentation – Winchester School of Art has completed their first London Fashion Week with exquisite designs, showcasing talents with inspiring stories to tell.

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What do you think of the designers with a message?


Images: Rob Case & Winchester School of Art 

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