Grafting for two years for a degree to lose out on showing your work in real life is rubbish. But throughout the last month or so, art schools like Central Saint Martins and Liverpool College of Art have thought up inventive ways to showcase the work their students have tirelessly sweated over, and survived many a hostile critique for, to have more eyeballs on their work than ever before, since the paper ticket is a thing of the past.
Last night was the turn of weird and wonderful Royal College of Art’s MA Fashion students who celebrated their final collections with a 24-hour opening celebration… online? Spanning three international time zones, the party was a testament to the emerging talent of tomorrow, with the students picking at themes and motifs like desire, gender dysphoria, womanhood, 1980s TV shows like The Young Ones and “working class scum”.
While we didn’t have time to speak to the entirety of RCA’s Class of 2020 (51 students!), here six students explain their collections in a little more detail…
Jake Treddenick, MA Fashion Menswear
“I’m very much drawn to the Leigh Bowery’s and Martin Parr’s of the world. I was drawn to ’80’s TV shows like The Young Ones, because its humour is a way to mock the self and relate to the times they are in.
“Sometimes you do need to throw some paint around and spray paint c**t on things. Fashion should communicate what we feel, where we come from and where we are going!
“We live in times of manipulation. The politicians are inadequate, the stereotypes are jokes and the genders we adhere to are crumbling around us. They demonise, demoralise and drain the disadvantaged. Who the fuck are them to decide our future?
We are WORKING CLASS SCUM!”
“I investigated the roles of masculinity within class structures through humour and the contrasts of identities, whilst researching traditional embroidery techniques to create vivid textures in a modern context. ‘WORKING CLASS SCUM!’ was about the experience of social mobility from a working class northerner’s perspective.
Tianan Ding, MA Fashion Menswear
“My collection, Revalue, is a playful and critical experiment on the fabrication, cost, and function of clothes. A kitchen-paper towel jacket, a leather T‑shirt: these two items, with their very different materiality are representative of my collection.
“Water is one of the materials I use. By dissolving, dripping, and fading away, my garments become the metaphor of the deconstruction of structure, function, and value.
“The jackets in my collection are all made from disposable, dissolvable material, such as kitchen towel and toilet paper. They embody my intention to dissolve value, to make nothing into something, or take nothing and make something of it. This isn’t exclusive fashion made from expensive fabrics – classes merge along with cultures and tastes.
“Through the leather T‑shirt, I try to reflect the current streetwear status as luxury, to represent this union of streetwear and luxury which is also a new division. My pursuit is affordable coolness – I would like to advocate the authentic wearer of streetwear, who can’t afford designer clothes.
“My campaign, shot on Zoom during the lockdown, demonstrates how I perceive streetwear. It is raw, timely, and honest with respect to what is happening in the world right now.”
MA Fashion Womenswear Footwear
“My work is strongly inspired by the animation Ghost in the Shell, sculptor Antony Gormley, Bridget Riley, Piet Mondrian and visual futurist Syd Mead’s artworks, as well as by brutalist architectural structures.
“My aim is to design functional 3D printed walking art. I am interested in a response to the surrounding space through relationships of colour, shape and scale.
“I am trying to creatively explore the future of footwear. This shift + collection explores the possibility of multicolour 3D printed and zero-waste structures to create imaginative and sustainable shoes.
“The advancement of technology will shift our design thinking and manufacture processes, as well as our lifestyle. I believe the future manufacturing processes will evolve from the factory-made shoe to the home-made 3D printed shoe. 3D printing will allow for customisation and then it will also make more sense to assemble one’s shoes locally.
“I see my designs as walking art pieces. It’s about innovating, re-updating and infiltrating. It is about being progressive, innovative and playful to explore the possibility of future footwear through using 3D printing technology. It goes beyond race, culture, gender.”
Amaranthe Frost, MA Fashion Knitwear
“Growing up in a collector’s house I have always understood that collections speak volumes that could never be told in the medium of words.
“From my mum’s collections, I made my own collections. Collections of clothing details, collections of outfits, collections of silhouettes…
“Going back to my family home with my sister, I dressed myself in these collections, adorning myself with garments belonging to my mum, my granny, as well as others belonging to old neighbours and friends of the family. Some dresses had been deconstructed to make something more wearable and perhaps more useful for that time. Some missed the midriff which had been used to make scrunchies. There were half-made trenchcoats: a woman’s work in progress in the house that made me, with the women that raised me.
“This project is about women – our wardrobes, how we dress, the female body and the observation of women dressing amongst women, from the point of view of the female gaze.
“Having come from a woven background, in recent years I have decided to side step into knitwear with the ambition, and want, to apply my understanding of silhouette, drape and tailoring to knitwear.”
Ely Yili Cao, MA Fashion Accessories
“My final collection, LUNETE de DIADÈME, started with me becoming aware of how people’s appreciation of glasses has dramatically changed. I found that the social status of eyewear has moved upwards.
“In some cases, they are no less expensive than any other high-end luxury item. I am using luxury as a perspective, and high-end jewellery as a platform; metalsmith and leathersmith as traditional hand craftsmanship intertwined with an electrical circuit, incorporating technology to convey and explore how eyewear has infiltrated into people’s [everyday lives], and changed its identity from a symbol of disablement to a fashion statement.”
Sam Jamieson, MA Fashion Menswear
“My practice decodes masculinity as a means of exploring the tensions between desire, intimacy and community. Considering this within the context of nightlife and the bodies that inhabit it, I draw upon moments of tenderness and quiet within these spaces of intense pleasure.
“I explored the exchange of intimacy through silhouette, proposing new notions of the ‘boyfriend fit’ and adaptability of the garment between bodies. This always returns back to the complexity of, and interest I have with, the community that I am connected to.”