Forget the 20-foot quilted columns, the sprawling sets, the front-row-line-up of rappers and editors or the bloggers sending street-style selfies outside. The real thing propping up this year’s anticipated London Fashion Week AW16 are the new collections soon to be unveiled by its A-list designers – of which over 50 per cent have studied at UAL.
Whether you’re Stella McCartney, Jimmy Choo, John Galliano or Zac Posen, you’re likely to have amassed a cult following, won a string of industry awards, dressed half the Oscars red-carpet set – and you, most very probably, will have launched your career at UAL.
More than half of the designers showing at this year’s London Fashion Week AW16 – including Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou, Sadie Williams, Charlotte Dellal of Charlotte Olympia, Sophia Webster and the late Alexander McQueen – all hail from UAL’s Colleges.
Four UAL Colleges are represented on the catwalk this year, with the largest contingent – 45 of the 89 LFW designers – having studied at Central Saint Martins (CSM). London College of Fashion (LCF) also has strong representation, with Wimbledon College of Arts and London College of Communication also seeing their alumni light up the shows with their designs.
CSM: College with its own LFW show
Its reputation for producing not only the world’s leading design artists, but the behind-the-scenes designers that have powered the world’s biggest fashion houses, such as Chanel, Givenchy, Gucci, Dior, Celine and Louis Vuitton – has firmly cemented CSM’s place within the world’s fashion front row.
CSM’s internationally acclaimed MA Fashion course has an unrivalled record for sending the very best talent into the global fashion industry – dubbed by media and industry as synonymous with stepping into the ‘future of fashion’.
As the only College that shows established brands at London Fashion Week on the official schedule, a select number of students will unveil their work to an international audience on
19 February at the British Fashion Council’s Show Space.
CSM MA Womenswear student, Alexander Krantz, 28, told The Guardian: “Showing my work at LFW means it will be viewed at a new level. It will be shown in the same context as established brands…LFW is a chance to show my point of view, and hopefully my future in the fashion industry will grow naturally from that.”
LCF sets the tone
As the world tunes into London’s stage, LCF hosted its annual LCFMA16 Womenswear catwalk show at Royal College of Surgeons on 18 February.
The show, part of LCF’s MA16 graduate season, featured collections from 10 graduates from the MA Fashion Design Technology Womenswear course.
Selected from a panel including Anothermag.com editor Natalie Rigg, ASOS’s Head of Fashion, Zeba Lowe, WWD’s General Assignment Editor, Lorelei Marfil – alongside Professor Frances Corner OBE, Pro-Vice Chancellor of UAL and Head of LCF, who says: “Our MA Womenswear course continues from strength to strength and by holding our LCFMA16 show ahead of LFW it gives us the opportunity to profile the graduate’s collections at a time when the fashion industry is looking to London.”
Also on the agenda
Exhibition: 17 Feb – 20 Feb 2016
LCF is hosting an MA Exhibition until 20 February. Open to the public, it showcases the work of photography, footwear, accessories, artefact and fashion design technology students giving the media, industry and public the opportunity to be inspired by the next generation of fashion leaders.
Screenings: Celebrate the National Portrait Gallery’s Vogue 100: A Century of Style by catching one of the many must-see film for fashion connoisseurs, selected by Vogue’s creative team and introduced by staff and students from Central St Martins.