This February I got a first glimpse of what London Fashion Week actually looks and feels like. I have lived in London for nearly three years, yet never gone out to see what the LFW is all about. I have always been working or busy with university.
Luckily this year I had few days ‘off’ on my diary, which allowed me to go out during the third and fourth day of the fashion week. I got to see first hand the amazing fashion crowds that were strolling around the Strand, East London and Soho, I saw Olivia Palermo (!!!!!), got photographed by some paparazzis (probably because I was on the way or because I was with my fabulous friend Chay) and sneaked into a fashion show.
Last Monday I also attended the FAD Competition fashion show, which was organized by the amazing Fashion Awareness Direct (FAD) fashion charity. FAD Competition, described by Vogue.com as an “undeniable springboard”, is one of the greatest competitions for new, emerging designers that are at the early stages in their careers. Previous finalists include womenswear designer David Koma, who now has a regular spot in the LFW schedule.
For the 2017 Competition, held at the Freemasons Hall in Covent Garden, FAD had partnered up with an Italian high-end fashion house Missoni. They “encouraged students to take the Missoni approach; a way of thinking where creativity is rooted in culture”, whilst designing the collections . The designers had definitely taken this approach into consideration when creating their collections; the 20 finalists had created pieces that were very colourful and rich in print, using different textures, materials and being bold with the shapes.
I got a chance to speak to some of the finalists, and found out that for few of them the techniques they had used were completely new. For example the first runner up Sophie Whatling, from the Arts University Bournemouth, told me that she had “never done a knitwear piece before”. Another finalist Naruhiro Iizawa, from London College of Fashion, said that he tried to add the elements of architecture, which he had learned before, into his fashion designs. “That was the most challenging, yet the most rewarding part of this whole process,” he told.
The jury, including the Creative Director of Missoni, Angela Missoni, chose a Fashion Knitwear student Amy Carter from Nottingham Trent University as the winner of this year’s competition. Her collection, very colourful and yet wearable, was described as “beautifully finished” by the jury member, the Head of Creative Textile and Design Research at Missoni, Liz Griffiths. She said: “Amy… she had a fantastic sense of colour and she had mixed stitches and different approaches to knitted fabrics together. It was very different, the way she mixed and put them together, but they worked. Amy’s work was innovative, even though it was also very commercial and sellable, and we liked that. And also the sense of colour was not normal, it was a little bit different, and Angela Missoni loved it too.” (Quote from here)
Apart from watching the show, I got to be at backstage, where Toni & Guy were in charge of the ‘knitted’ hair. The blue eye makeup was inspired by Missoni SS16 collection.
I was really happy that I got to experience this show during the fashion week. All the finalists’ collections were amazing, and you could definitely see the hard work that had been put in making them.
Overall my first, very short, fashion week was really great, although exhausting. Now I just have to work hard to experience another one next September.
Source: FAD Competition, photos © Sara Katariina Laitinen 2017