Friday, 30 April 2010


Back from the Alternative Fashion Show at Spitalfields Market, London. This is the place where young new designers can show their collections and hope to be discovered. Here the audience was an eclectic mix of fashionistas and office workers out on their lunch break , music played courtesy of “The Really Tight Corsettes”; the models were not all stick thin; the surrounding market stalls were teeming with clothes and accessories to buy and there were plenty of places to eat. All in all, a great place to hang out. Here’s a summary of the designers showing on Tues 20th:

Hackney Community College Art Dept – “Telling Tales”.
Maybe not something you could actually wear, and definitely not something you could sit down in as the materials used were stiff plastic and paper. There were prints galore of colourful swirls, photo images, handprints and lettering. Designs included a skirt made from stiff individual petal shapes, a semi transparent dress with hooped hem , and my favourite – a blue and grey photo image print skirt exaggeratedly curved over the hips at the sides but flat at the front and back, matched with a stiff top moulded to follow the model’s curves. The guys were out there too, one in a red ribcage vest with a very high ( over the head) stand up collar decorated with handprints, and red lettering down his bare arms. Unfortunately he didn’t stand still long enough for me to read the message.

4.2morrow – “Ballet versus Armour “
The main colour was black. Lots of black leather – ruffle layered leather mini skirt, leather petal layered mini skirt, and pleated leather panelled jersey trousers and dress. Skirts and tops were teamed with black see through mesh tops. A semi transparent ivory skirt and dress brought contrast to the all black collection.

Charlie Chambers –“Laundry Day”
Using recycled vintage garments, designs included a brightly multicoloured patchwork strapless dress with a slim denim belt and uneven hem (a dress Cinderella would have been proud to wear) and a delicate floral green and white strapless knee length bloomer style playsuit. This was laundry day out in the countryside on a lovely summer’s day.

Stacey Richards – “Acedia”
Acedia – described as “the earliest and oldest meaning of sloth, one of the 7 deadly sins”. The clothes are designed to appear unfinished, disjointed and fragmented in order to mirror sloth.
Silk, cotton and leather were used and the colours were black, red and white.
Handmade metal mask jewellery covered the face of some models like muzzles to represent a restraining mask to silence the patient from rambling in their madness. “Better not get too near those” I muttered to myself. On one model the ensemble looked futuristic with black helmet hairstyle and short white dress wrapped with horizontal black transparent fabric strips. On another the look was an escapee from the asylum with an uneven hemline you get when you button up in the wrong buttonholes and with a few slim leather straps wrapped around the clinically white dress.

Cool Tan Arts – “Twisted Tartan”.
The first designs were of stone coloured plain dresses roughly cut with uneven hems used as the canvas to display the colourful silk batik fabrics worn over the shoulder in the Scottish style and in some cases a more Caribbean style crossed over the front and around the neck. These Batik designs were made using the application of silk and wax. Then models of all shapes, sizes and ages appeared in an array of bold colour combinations of oranges, limes, purples and reds to brighten the more sober start.

Prilly Lewis of Prillywear
Prilly knits and felts using lambs wool with touches of angora.
The fine knit knee length swing coats came in ivory and a yellow-green, accessorized with a large green wool felt bauble necklace. The A-lined coats were panelled with contrasting colours of lilac and burgundy or light brown and burgundy giving a classic and wearable look. Again accessorised with contrasting large wool felt bauble necklaces. Could see Michelle Obama happily wearing one of these coats.

Kimberley Startup- “Come on Now Kimi, Grow Up”
“Once upon a time Kimi sat and attempted to face adulthood but saw only work, debt and death. So she said “When I grow up I want to be a child again”.”
Her collection was themed around the small child’s classic toys. A red and yellow large striped dress styled as a soft spongy ball, a mint green t shirt decorated with the colourful keyboards of a xylophone, a padded dress made of colourful ring stacks, and an orange asymmetrical top with a runaway train over the shoulder. Alphabet blocks made great bangles and head bands, and all were accessorised with candy coloured high heeled platform shoes, worn with a double layer of contrasting coloured ankle socks. It was fun recognising the toys.

Tanya Smith- “The Natural Look”.
Inspired by a trip to Kew Gardens Tanya was captivated by the gorgeous shapes and colours of the plants and flowers.
Thinking beiges and creams for the natural look, I was pleasantly surprised to see bright purples, dark greens and coral as the colour palette and finding the mixing of these colours working so well. Mainly block colours; a delicate floral pattern was used in pocket linings and lapels. Not sure whether the undone trouser zip showing the floral pattern underneath was intentional, but not a good look. Large exposed zips featured on dresses and the high shouldered short cape. Loved the long dark green slim skirt with the very high funnel neck coral top.

Dorota Damian
A fusion of Eastern European tradition with organically inspired sculptural shapes and embroidered floral patterns.
Colour palette was black and white with emphasis on texture and embellishments. Texture came in the form of ruffles, drapes and bunches of soft folds. Embellishments in the form of metal studs and beading. One favourite was the white asymmetrical ruffled blouse with its long sleeve and billowing folds. Over the knee and knee high socks with strappy studded sandals were worn.

Hayley Trezise from Raggedy – “Compare Readings”
Ethical fashion- Ragged display of scribbly stitch work and asymmetrical sculptural shapes transformed from charity shops clothes to create one off quirky couture for all occasions.
Hayley’s disjointed fairy tale reminded me of a combination of Cinderella and her ugly sisters – mixing the flamboyance of the messy (just been dragged through the hedge backwards)bouffant hairdos, colourful smudged eye make-up and tilted small felt top hats with Cinderella’s patchwork of rags. Colours were earthy greens, browns, off whites, rustic reds and oranges. Skirts were either softly folded cocoon shapes (loved the invisible pockets within the folds), a patchwork of similar colours or ragged layers of different textures. Tweed waistcoats and short sleeved jackets were cropped with uneven lines adding more texture to the outfits. This collection showed even rags could be stylish.

Georgia Nash –“The Nut was too strong to crack”
Inspired by the Nutcracker and each look based on a character. Attention to detail here was key, from the toy soldier tied to the back of high heels to the scattering of pearls within the black beaded coat and bodices. Zips lined the tip of large ruffle layers giving a hard edgy look to a short cream jacket. The long ruffle layered coat combined different fabrics, embellishments and colours to create a spectacular piece. Fabrics used were lace, velvet, silk and satin; embellishments were black beads, zips and pearls; colours were black, turquoise, red and white. Underneath the model wore a sheer black body stocking adorned with pearls and ribbons which added to the drama. For some reason the models didn’t linger on the catwalk to be seen together. A pity because this collection was worth a second look.

West Thames College –“Galactic Summer Holiday” - Resort wear for a galactic summer holiday.
Metallic silver, grey and white were the colours for summer attire on a galactic holiday. Slinky catsuit with long hanging sleeves, stiff A-line metallic mini dress with quilted edging and a funnel necked sleeveless mini dress gave a more retro futuristic look.

At the end of the show I had decided on my favourites, but the question on every designer’s mind was who will be the fashion industry’s favourite?

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