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Northampton students at Graduate Fashion Week

The UoN stand at Graduate Fashion Week in Brick Lane, Shoreditch

Grime music, mental health issues and even geometry all featured at this year’s Graduate Fashion Week when University of Northampton students took over the catwalk on Tuesday 6 June, writes Julie Allen.

The 15 students from the BA (Hons) Fashion, BA (Hons) Textiles for Fashion and BA (Hons) Footwear and Accessories programmes, had the opportunity to showcase their extensive range of collections to the fashion glitterati, including established designers, journalists and bloggers at the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch.

First to hit the catwalk was Gemma Stevens who used maths and geometry as the basis of her collection, after researching the work of Greek mathematician Euclid.

The rest of the students followed and showed off their talent and creativity:

Leah Wanjugu’s urban themed inspired collection inspired by grime music.

Halima Begum used the theme of family roots throughout her collection and took inspiration from her parents’ home country of Bangladesh and in particular the Liberation War in the early 1970s.

Venuka Wickramaarachchi wowed everyone with his pieces based around culture and the traditional costume of his home country of Sri Lanka.

Elena Hristova was a big hit with her tailored silhouetted creations based on her Bulgarian heritage.

Lauren Jones designed her collection with parachute nylon to instil a military feel to her pieces.

Louise Gunn’s print collection encompassed the negative aspects relating to social media.

Sumaiya Neher manipulated her fabrics by tearing, ripping and fraying her materials to create pieces that represent how she sometimes feels restricted by life.

Loren Buckingham put her best foot forward with her predominately leather footwear and accessories collection based on the Colony Collapse Disorder and a bee’s way of life.

Italian student, Sharon Mensah incorporated engraving and prints into her pieces to portray the emotions of how people feel when discussing racial prejudices.

Stephanie Clift’s collection featured lots of canvas, leather and jersey after being inspired by the Chinese contemporary artist and activist, Ai WeiWei, who had been imprisoned for his radical artistic works in China.

Mollie Crabtree chose deconstruction as her main theme which she demonstrated through the breaking down of her garments, such as a shirt dress with half a waistcoat.

Polish-born Aleksandra Kukula took over the catwalk with her version of a more contemporary folk dress from her home country.

Courtney Allen lit up the catwalk with flashes of illuminated yellow and heavy garments made out of duvet to create the feeling of being weighed down with anxiety or depression.

Finishing the show was Bethany Martin’s athletic men and womenswear which was inspired by an article on the Afghan women’s cycling team in National Geographic magazine.

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Dr Julie King, Head of Fashion at the University of Northampton, commented: “Our students in the fashion, textiles and footwear subjects have become widely recognised for their skills in craftsmanship, design and manufacture – and most importantly for being ahead of the design curve.

“The University of Northampton has long established links with industry, which develops our students’ industry ready employability skills, and this coupled with live industry projects prepares them for a successful career within the sector.

“We have such a unique relationship with leather in Northampton, the collections with leather in them have a real resonance because of the heritage in the county and also the collections with footwear because of the heritage. We always try to put a collection with footwear in. We only had one this year but these help Northampton stand out from the other institutions.

“We have a lot of industry people we invite to come and look at the students portfolios and to speak to the students and see if we can get them jobs, some of them have already secured some jobs so they are feeling pretty good. Some of them have got internships and plans and other events they are involved in.

“We have got a catwalk show going out to Sri Lanka, two students, so we have got stuff happening all month. We got through the show, no-one broke their leg on the catwalk so we’re fine! I am overwhelmed with it, they have done an incredible job this year.”

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