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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Change Form Collective Ubiquitous: University of West England (Bristol)’s Fashion Show

The UWE's students present their fashion collections to the folk of Bristol before heading off to Graduate Fashion Week next week... Siobhan Fagan checks it out!

Written by Siobhan Fagan

Thumbnail Lail Arad

We are going to try something a bit different and new today. In the spirit of it being a sunny summers afternoon on the best day of the week, ailment we’re in a especially good mood and want to share some free music with our readers! Who knows, information pills if we are feeling kind, and we get asked nicely, then maybe this free music lark can be a regular event.

The first download is by a recent discovery of ours; Lail Arad. The London based singer caught our attention with her wry, observational style, injecting humour and self-awareness into her songs with an insouciance and free spirit that puts you in mind of Martha Wainwright or Kimya Dawson. We hope you enjoy her new track “Everyone’s Moving to Berlin”, off the soon to be released album Someone New.

http://soundcloud.com/stayloose/lail-arad-everyone-is-moving-to-berlin

Enjoy!

We are going to try something a bit different and new today. In the spirit of it being a sunny summers afternoon on the best day of the week, cost we’re in a especially good mood and want to share some free music with our readers! Who knows, about it if we are feeling kind, order and we get asked nicely, then maybe this free music lark can be a regular event.

The first download is by a recent discovery of ours; Lail Arad. The London based singer caught our attention with her wry, observational style, injecting humour and self-awareness into her songs with an insouciance and free spirit that puts you in mind of Martha Wainwright or Kimya Dawson. We hope you enjoy her new track “Everyone Is Moving to Berlin”, off the soon to be released album Someone New.

http://soundcloud.com/stayloose/lail-arad-everyone-is-moving-to-berlin

Happy Listening!


Alexxsia Elizabeth, clinic illustrated by Jenny Robins

Despite my skills in fashion design being pretty appalling (as discovered in 2005 when I bravely decided to take on A Level Fashion) I’ve always appreciated the hard work of a designer, hence why I chose a degree in Fashion Journalism at University. It quite possibly also has a lot to do with the fact that I’m often at the receiving end of one of my best friends ranting about how hard her fashion design degree is and how she hasn’t had any contact with anything other than fabric samples for weeks.  

Having lived in Bristol all my life, I’ve known many fashion lovers who have taken the plunge into the world of fashion design at the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol’s hub for creative and arty alike. Despite this, until recently, I had never given in to the many advertisements and talk around the city about the annual Graduate Show that takes place at The Passenger Shed just on the brim of the city centre. So when I was invited to go along and soak it all up on behalf of Amelia’s Magazine, I jumped at the chance. 

After queuing in the blazing late afternoon sun, behind dozens of smartly dressed parents, friends and various fashionistas. The building is an old part of the train station that has the most impressive roof design and almost vacant, echoey feel about it. I entered the exhibition where I was met with a fashionable soundtrack, playing the likes of The xx and The Kills. Not knowing where to start, I took a brief walk around the few sections and something immediately grabbed me – Ice creams and chocolate biscuits in irresistible pastel colours and a hint of silver foil that was reflecting off the various spotlights.

This blank white board was covered in these various pieces by Illustration student Lauren Read which, on closer inspection, were much more than just ice cream cones and confectionery. Collages of drawings of people and faces mixed with paper shapes, foil bits and quirky captions such as ‘ooh I say’ made me laugh because they had a hint of cheekiness in them despite also being just colourful and cheery to look at. 

Having recently taken an interest in illustration after a friend took on the degree and opened my eyes to it, the work of another Illustration student, Suzie Smith soon caught my eye. Standing out from the couple of tiny drawings displayed on the board was a real life model in white underwear being drawn on all over by Suzie herself. The brave girl stood there for the best part of an hour while Suzie worked her magic, drawing anything from human faces to quirky patterns in black ink while passers by stood in awe. It was like watching a tattoo artist at work on a blank canvas, knowing she could draw whatever her imagination threw at her. A nice change from looking at still life pieces and trying to interpret images, too. 


Illustration from the sketchbook of UWE student Lauren Macaulay

Before I’d gotten the chance to take in much more of the exhibition, a loud voice announced that the catwalk show would begin shortly. As I eagerly took my seat on the front row, I took in the atmosphere and, I will admit, I had expected the whole thing to look and feel a little unorganised and certainly not as professional as it did. Being a student showcase, I had presumed the attention would fall on the work rather than the show in general. Oh, how I was wrong. Everything from the seating plan to the lights, sound system, frantic organisers and even the catwalk itself could have been confused with something from London Fashion Week. There were hundreds of people sitting and waiting in anticipation and skinny models in heels rushing around at the last minute in bursts of nervous excitement.  

Designer Amber Hards opened the catwalk with a bang. A pumping soundtrack and a collection consisting of mini skirts covered in feathers, a white floor length dress with a magnificent train made up of a web of cotton wool-like material and structured skin-tight tops in a range of textures which told us that body con is yet to leave the building.  

Alexxsia Elizabeth then took over with something completely different and much more sinister. Trousers and ankle length skirts in cobwebs of khaki and black fabric with bold, statement capes and chunky boots completely contradicted the previous outfits to be paraded down that catwalk. Think mythical forest creatures and dark silhouettes. 


Alexxsia Elizabeth, illustrated by Pieter de Groot

Evelina Dimarco’s use of  pastel colours in flowing skirts, dresses and loose vest tops mixed with interesting jungle print fabrics and big circular head pieces were a refreshing change to the apparent obsession with bold structures and a dark colour palette. There was a hint of tribal with the choice of print and heavy, beaded necklace but contradicted with flirty, feminine shapes and summertime colours.  

Meanwhile, Jasmine Howard-Evans’ collection got me camera crazy myself with her ‘girl about town goes on holiday’ inspired pieces which were accessorized with an old fashioned camera around the neck. From grey pinafores finished with a vibrant strip of fuchsia material to give it a fresh boost, to modern jumpsuits in pink, trippy print fabric and all finished with brown vintage suitcases. Think excitable 1950s fashionista.

Jessica Hart didn’t fail to keep my attention with models strutting down the catwalk dressed in short, structured dresses in bright cartoon prints finished off with a big bow in the hair, larger than life beaded necklaces and cute little ankle socks. It made me think of Alice in Wonderland, wind-up dolls and a hint of a Gwen Stefani music video. Fun, quirky and different to anything else I saw that evening.  


Jessica Hart, illustrated by Jenny Goldstone

Block colours such as hot pink, yellow and mint green appeared to be the colour palette of choice for many of the students and Katie Dunkling certainly brought it to life with clean cut and box shaped skirts, dresses and short sleeved jackets. A sixties vibe was created with the choice of hem line and bright colours but brought into the modern day with sharp fabric structure. 

Away from the vibrant, summery colours that were a constant reminder of the sweltering temperature both outside and in, Sabrina Miller’s collection of body armour and medieval inspired garments were sent down the catwalk to a heavy bassline and a huge round of applause. Underwear as outerwear seemed to be the theme, with skin tight skirts worn with corsets and sheer blouses. Very structured and powerful, the outfits appeared harsh and almost masculine but the hint of flesh through the transparent fabric, the body con structure which highlighted the feminine curves and the vibrant red fabric seeping out from the black leather made it sultry and seductive.  


Sabrina Miller, illustrated by Jenny Robins

Wakestock circa 1960 soon took over the catwalk with Vanessa Harris’ collection of tie-dye tunics, tasselled cloth bags and patchwork leggings.


Vanessa Harris, illustrated by Aniela Murphy

Then Zoë Davidson brought out something even more wacky with tanned and toned models flaunting parachute pants in bold orange fabric, cropped t-shirts, biker boots and even helmets to finish off the look.


Zoë Davidson, illustrated by Antonia Parker

For soon-to-be-graduates, this showcase of talent was undeniably impressive. From the beautiful full-length gowns with trains of fabric to the crazy prints and ris hemlines, it all had me gripped and convinced that these students would turn designers in no time at all.

The UWE students will recreate their show for Graduate Fashion Week 2010 at Earl’s Court – look out for more details and full show reports soon! You can even go and see it for yourself if you like…

Also, check out the Change Form Collective Ubiquitous blog here.

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