I come to you from the past. The date, Thursday May 29, the time, 9pm. The venue, the T13 skate park. The event, Belfast School of Art Graduate Fashion Show. My current thoughts, ‘I can’t effin wait!’ Fast forward and I’ll bring you back to the present-day to discuss my afterthoughts, which can pretty much be summed up in two words. Unbelievable and outstanding.
29 fashion graduates showcased their avant garde, cutting-edge and phenomenally creative final year collections, on a concrete runway contained by graffiti painted walls. Basically the perfect setting for this artistic bunch of up and comings. Naturally, I’d love to review all of the collections debuted, however it would take a small fashion bible to express and convey this so instead I’ve opted to chart my top ten.
First up we have the show’s majestic, clean and contemporary catwalk opener from Grainne McKee. Featuring off whites, limestone greys with a dash of neon delving into the history of the Aran jumper, the Galway shawl and Irish fashion in general with a sports luxe meets futuristic chic vibe to boot.
Next came Hannah Mcilroy, debuting ’Allure’ a nine piece collection full of funky Jazz inspired saxophone prints showcasing silk trousers and a full length skirt, alongside a standout metallic contrasting sleeved overcoat and matching cropped metallic cape.
Followed swiftly by the colourful and quirky offerings of Fawn Miskelly. A standout for me, showcasing an 80s glam vibe with a modern-futuristic revamp as Miskelly’s inspiration arrives from global street style and iconic pop culture. Emerald green metallics meet multi-coloured fringed bumbags and eccentric digital prints, complete with an uber cool urban style to back it up.
Then we moved from playful and energetic to the downright haunting and all-round grungetastic world of Jenna Harrison and her dark designs of fantasy and spine-chilling catwalk couture. Monochrome incorporated liquid rubber garments were brought to life by Jenna’s innovative and imaginative collection proving experimental and enchanting from start to finish. Jenna’s designs stole the show, captivating with the unusual, the abstract and the art, all taking centre stage throughout backed by a full blown wave of creative self expression. Not to mention ridiculously sleek silhouettes.
Sarah Graham’s ‘SHE WOLPH’ brought the AW14 element back to the forefront, mixing fur and fire alongside orange and black as fashion and knitwear collide. Full of floating, feminine shapes and autumnal layering, Sarah presented a collection fit for a mystical, mountain goddess but with a sinister edge underneath the warm exterior.
Karen Murphy took us back to the future featuring alien inspired garments in silver and neon florescent green detailing. Plus a cropped translucent, hooded rain coat. Heavily influenced by ancient technology and the progress of the modern day world, Karen’s designs were cool, clean and 100% contemporary.
Next we have Claire McElduff who delivered a cohesive collection entitled ‘TEMPUS’, highlighting eccentric shearling dip-dyed offerings. Combining theatrical, Hollywood themes, intriguing textures and modern metallics in a variety of cutting edge shapes, not to mention a striking palette of electric and powder blue palette holding it all together. Powerful, enchanting and majestic all in one go. A sensational delight.
Continuing on from her immensely successful debut at Belfast Fashionweek SS14, Julia Sokele developed another fine example of cutting-edge design for her own inventive graduate work. Swapping metallic prints and blood red shades for a far more clinical and medicinal catwalk collection showing off grated textures, neck brace collars, mesh and translucent cocooned garments, all in various shades of white. Sokele’s work is so on trend and so on point it hurts.
Finally we have a hugely refreshing moment in NI design history, graduate collections consisting solely of menswear. Yay! Emma Zacharopoulou’s ‘BAILE’ collection showcased bold autumnal knitwear with a cool and contemporary twist, paired alongside vibrant checked and tweed inspired fabrics and patterns. Presenting quirky knitwear alternatives for the modern, fashionable man.
Whilst the impressive out of this world, sci-fiesque creations of Fintan Mulholland’s ‘DEGRADATION’ designs left everyone wanting more. A little bit of Gareth Pugh, meets Rick Owens meets the monstrous Asher Levine, all in one incredible innovative menswear swoop. By that I mean visors, cloaked and hooded oversized knitwear, gothic impressions, robotic trousers, bone structured jumpers and so much more. NI Menswear reborn.
So whilst I am now completely exhausted at having condensed my collection reviews down into petit paragraphs, I am also immensely excited to see what the future brings for the next wave of NI fashion talent. Stay tuned to those mentioned above folks, they truly are the emerging designers we should all be watching from this point on.
Review by Lewis Cameron.
Fashion Editor & Menswear Stylist at Beyond Man with the odd fashion blogging on the side bringing you the exclusive and informative lowdown on what’s hot in the fashion scenes from Belfast & Beyond.
Photography by Stephen Potter. The images of Karen’s designs are by Adrian Quinn.