UEL fashion shines at hip Hoxton Arches
From Thai infusion to crystal formations, the visions of UEL’s fashion students shone brightly in east London during the inaugural Process East Fashion and Textiles Graduate Showcase.
And fashion insiders and casual observers alike were dazzled.
“Coming to an event like this is quite exciting,” said Rebekah Roy, a noted stylist and director of east London fashion magazine Disorder. “It’s just wonderful to see all the prints, the textures. I love all the magazines the student designers have done. It’s just really important for us to see what is happening.”
Process East brought UEL students studying fashion design, fashion management and digital fashion together with University staff, alumni, industry experts and others for three days of interactive exhibits, lectures, portfolio advice, networking and more at ultra-hip Hoxton Arches in east London.
The showcase kicked off with a “Private View” reception and clothing presentation that attracted nearly 200 guests. A highlight was a special “You are what you Instagram” exhibit that allowed visitors to virtually try on student collections by putting on white lab coats that acted as canvases for projected images.
“It’s not a straightforward catwalk show where you attend and you leave," Fashion Programme Leader David Thomas said. "This is a different experience. It’s a way for people to actually interact with the clothes being presented instead of just looking at them.”
Collections at Process East ranged from the minimalistic avant-garde to ballerina-meets-science fiction.
Fashion student Stacey Robinson took inspiration from her travels in Thailand. Her textile collection alluded to the nation’s lush tropical beauty as well as its poverty and internal conflicts.
“The concept behind it is the idea of tradition and modernism and how you can combine those two to create a new aesthetic,” Stacey explained.
The result was a sophisticated mix of colours and prints that blend the classic and the cutting-edge: everyday fabrics juxtaposed with PVC plastic, old-fashion silk screening beside digitally-created graphics.
Lois McDonald created a series of feminine, softly-draping pieces inspired by the chemical formation of crystals.
Lois said she’s been pushed at UEL “in a way that is absolutely brilliant.”
“They develop you not only as a designer but as a person, which is so important,” she said.
Process East was created with an eye to providing UEL fashion students with a showcase beyond the annual Graduate Fashion Week, where UEL’s catwalk show is scheduled for 31st May.
Industry guests said they were impressed with both the work on display at the showcase and the energy of the event itself.
“My immediate impression is that it’s overwhelming, almost, the amount of texture, which is nice. That excites me. It’s fun,” said Lee Ngummi, who works for popular online fashion company ASOS.
Ms Ngummi’s ASOS colleague Veronica Peduzzi-Davies, a UEL fashion alumna whose own graduate collection earned praise from Vogue magazine, described the intricately-crafted textile projects that dotted the Process East venue as “amazing”. She commended University staff for providing fashion students with the chance to promote their work.
“This is a great opportunity for UEL people to meet people from industry, who actually get to see things really close up. I think it’s really good,” she said.
Ms Peduzzi-Davies and Process East participants are part of a long line of UEL fashion success stories. Recent graduates include Krasimira Ivanova-Stoynena, who won last year’s prestigious Muuse x Vogue Talents Young Vision Award. Joanna Pybus, who completed her degree in 2012, triumphed last year with a “monster” handbag collection snapped up by London retailer Liberty and mentioned in publications such as The Daily Telegraph.
Notes to Editors
The University of East London (UEL) is a global learning community with students from over 120 countries world-wide. Our vision is to achieve recognition, both nationally and internationally, as a successful and inclusive regional university proud of its diversity, committed to new modes of learning which focus on students and enhance their employability, and renowned for our contribution to social, cultural and economic development, especially through our research and scholarship. We have a strong track-record in widening participation and working with industry.