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UEL fashion students electrify at Graduate Fashion Week 2017

Highly praised show showcases unique materials and diverse skillset

University of East London (UEL) fashion students rocked the runway at Graduate Fashion Week 2017 with innovative collections that ranged from dresses made with glue to blazers made from cork.

The official GFW blog declared, “University of East London gave us a huge line-up of jaw-dropping design.”

The Voice described UEL as producing, “one of the stand out shows over the four days.”

UEL sent 17 talented student designers to this year’s GFW at Old Truman Brewery off Brick Lane. The event ran from 4-7 June and featured the work of more than 1,000 students from over 40 universities.

UEL stepped outside the box with this year’s catwalk by casting non-traditional models and often focusing on wearable design.

Dorota Watson, Head of Fashion and Textiles at UEL, said, “What makes this fashion week special for UEL is the fact that we embraced widening participation and our diverse student population. That was reflected in the designs the students produced and the models we used.

She said, “We took a gamble. We street-cast with performing arts students and students’ friends and family, and we put together a set with real people. I think it reflected in the clothes – they are for real people.”

She added, “It’s all been really well-received.”

Fashion design student Sibu Dladla opened the UEL show with a menswear collection that showcased his skill with techniques such as laser printing and digital printing.

Sibu said, “I wanted to do a collection that, first of all, I wanted to wear. Every piece is mixable. You can wear it with something else. Functionality in fashion is very important to me.”

Fashion design student Poonam Mahajan took inspiration from the 70s era woman – someone she described as “very strong and independent”. Her clothes featured dramatic pleating mixed with bright oranges and plaids.

She said, “It’s such a great opportunity to be at Graduate Fashion Week. It’s such a huge platform. I’m proud of myself. I’ve come so far.”

Dorota said, “The quality of the collections this year has been amazing. We’ve had students who worked with glue and lace. We’ve had students who worked with cork. We’ve had students who worked with bag ties and also traditional ways of printing and embroidery.

“It’s a whole gamut of different ways of working and they’ve worked incredibly hard to achieve what they’ve achieved.”