How 80s and 90s Manchester Music Changed Male Fashion

Music and fashion is a stormy marriage. For one artist it’s a supportive crux that keeps them in the limelight (Madonna’s cones and anything Gaga), for others it’s the first sign that things are on the slide (Sinitta’s X-Factor palmleaf dress).

But the clothing choices we make owes a lot to bands and singers, and few areas can boast a heavyweight title in this area than the Manchester music scene.

This vibrant north-west England metropolis — the first city outside of London to open an Armani shop — is divided between delirious Madchester, rhythmic Northern Soul, and ballsy Britpop. A city that fuses ‘Manc Swag’ and all-night clubbing with high-end designer shops and ultra-chic hangouts; we’re looking at how Manchester music launched male fashion into unchartered territory.

Manchster music

Happy Mondays

If you hear Madchester, one of the first bands you see is Happy Mondays. The term Madchester became part of British vocabulary in the 1990s. It was created to sum up a revolution in Manchester’s music scene, as well as the surging popularity of psychedelic rock and electronic dance music. Madchester’s quirky/bohemian clothes and fresh sound worked together to create a cultural phenomenon in the city, which centred around the explosion in the availability of ecstasy that changed a ‘night out’ into an entirely new experience.

Before anyone knew it, ‘baggy music’ — a genre of funk, house, guitar rock, and psychedelic sounds — was born and Happy Mondays fandom soared.

Even excluding the band’s hallucinatory sound, mad performances and off-stage behaviour, Happy Mondays is one of the most entertaining bands ever to hit music fashion.

Think flared jeans, buttoned up shirts and hippie-like tops (or just Shaggy from Scooby Doo) topped off with a fishing or bucket hat and you’ve got a visual style that is Madchester through and through. Happy Mondays fans quickly followed suit and even today, we can buy the smiling ‘acid face’ logo emblazoned on t-shirts and hoodies, which shows how the band’s fashion legacy has kept strong.

Stone Roses

A lot like Happy Mondays, Stone Roses helped to marry music and fashion, and were massive players on the Manchester music scene. Founding member, Ian Brown, led the band to international stardom in the 1980s, and they soon become famous for their distinctive style and resurrection of flared trousers.

From the fisherman bucket hat to the Adidas jacket, Stone Roses fashion was all about loose clothes and a casual dress sense. You catch Stone Roses fans sporting tracksuit tops, floral or checked shirts, too-big Stone Island sweatshirts, and maybe even the iconic ‘mod cut’ hairdo made famous by Brown himself. This messy haircut is a mix of classic rock and ‘baggy style’, influencing stars and fans alike over many years — including Liam Gallagher and The Enemy.

Stone Roses helped to create a fashion spin-off of the ‘baggy music’ genre that fans loved, and this Manchester band became synonymous with the term, scally — a word first used to simply describe a working class person with a casual/sportswear dress sense that is now, unfortunately, almost always used as an insult for yobbish behaviour.

Oasis

Another of Manchester music’s most famous bands, Oasis, formed in 1991 and won countless MTV, NME and Brit awards before splitting in 2009.

Immediately when you think of how Oasis dressed, you probably imagine khaki parkas, baggy shirts and Lennon-esque glasses. A big part of music and fashion in Manchester around Oasis’ heyday was the revival of the 1960s’ Mod, which Oasis spearheaded amazingly.

Original mod fashion brought together tailored suits and military-style trench coats with buttoned-down collars and fitted trousers. Bands like Oasis took hold of this idea and spun it into something that fitted perfectly into the world of Manchester music. Keeping the streamlined look, Oasis gave mod fashion a rockier edge with Paisley-print shirts, tracksuit jackets, messy haircuts, khaki coats zipped up to the chin, and straight/slim fit jeans (never skinny).

Brands like Levi, Fred Perry and Tommy Hilfiger were often found draped on The Gallaghers, who also loved the lightweight, waist-length look of the Harrington jacket. This garment was actually first made in Manchester, which probably made it a source of pride for the Mancunians, and it was the perfect mix of smart/casual for the quintessential 90s’ mod look.

Throughout their time at the top, the Oasis boys loved the odd Kangol-branded bucket hat like the rest of Madchester, and made sure to sling on plenty of Adidas tracky jackets (fully-zipped) for the ultimate lad-look that you see everywhere today.

Oasis continues to influence the world of fashion. Ex-member, Liam Gallagher, started fashion label, Pretty Green, in 2009 which has had great success in bringing Oasis’ mod/Britpop/90s’ lad fashion into 2017.

Joy Division

A Manchester music scene titan, Joy Division was originally called Warsaw and formed in 1976. It had great commercial success before the death of lead singer, Ian Curtis; but was also a leader in alternative fashion that still influences fans today.

The band had a very simplistic attitude to clothing. Tucked-in dress shirts, plain suit trousers, brogues, and large overcoats with upturned collars was the style of Joy Division. Similar to The Smiths, Joy Division opted for monochrome shades that didn’t attract attention and helped encapsulate the dark, emotional, disenchanted sound that was Joy Division’s post punk/gothic rock legacy.

The Smiths

Eighties’ rock band, The Smiths, had huge influence over the independent music scene and inspired a wave of alternative rock/indie pop groups. But when questioned about fashion, Morrissey was brutally dismissive of clothing trends and claimed that The Smiths were pretty much the worst dressed band ever.

Many fans clearly disagreed and Morrissey is still known for his quiffed hairstyle and wire-rimmed glasses (which possibly inspired Liam Gallagher’s spectacles affinity). The Smiths’ uniform consisted of baggy shirts, over-sized cardis and large jumpers, but they also had a grungier side that was made up of acid-washed/ripped jeans, leather jackets and sunglasses. These styles worked to cement the band’s unique and unforgettable sound that blended poignant, multi-layered songs with an undertone of youth angst and discontent.

The Smiths came about at a time when the flamboyant costumes of Duran Duran, Adam Ant and Culture Club sashayed around the opposite side of the Eighties’ music stage. However hard Morrissey fought on the side of art against fashion pageantry, The Smiths still inspired generations of dressers who go for the thoughtless, laid-back, ‘thrown-on’ look every morning.

Manchester music and fashion has revolutionised British style for decades. Check out our range of retro men’s and women’s plimsolls for your own alternative look.

Gola Interviews… Circa Waves

Since launching debut album ‘Young Chasers’ in 2015, Liverpudlian-born band, Circa Waves, has made an incredible impact on the music scene. From sell-out tours to performances at Glastonbury, the band has grown both lyrically and musically to become one of the most respected bands on the circuit.

Currently on a UK tour and enjoying massive success with newly-released second album ‘Different Creatures’, we caught up with Circa Waves’ guitarist, songwriter and lead singer, Kieran Shundall, to find out more about the roots, present and future of Circa Waves.

Circa Waves

There’s a significant change in sound between ‘Different Creatures’ and your first record ‘Young Chasers’. It’s a bit grittier and your lyrics are about darker themes, like alcoholism and depression. Was this shift a conscious decision with this record or was it something that came naturally from growing as part of Circa Waves?

KS: It was just what came out naturally when I started writing in early 2016. Our first record was more about looking back, but the lyrics in ‘Different Creatures’ are very present. It all came out of its own accord, really.



You worked with Alan Moulder on this album, who is the producer that worked with The Smashing Pumpkins and My Bloody Valentine. These bands have quite a distinctively raw, distorted sound. Did you seek him out because you wanted that sound, was it something he just created organically, or was it a bit of both?

KS: A bit of both, really. Alan has made every legendary rock record and the great thing is that he has all the knowledge. If you want that specific sound, he’s usually got the pedal that did that sound.

I think we asked one time: “How do you get the snare sound from that record?” and he just texted Butch Vig and got whatever snare it was, whatever mic was used, and within two hours had them both there ready to go. He’s got such a wealth of knowledge and information to get what you need. He’s also really patient and able to reach inside an artist’s brain and pull out the best, which is great for us because we don’t speak fluent musical language.

It seems like you knew exactly how you wanted each instrument to sound in every song. When you were writing, did you have a clear idea of how you wanted the album to turn out?

KS: Yeah. A lot of the demos did sound quite similar to the end result you heard. I’ve got a meticulous ‘demo-ing’ obsession. I think it’s a good foundation to have for an artist to go into the studio and say: “Let’s just make this but do it better”. Obviously, Alan is very gifted at doing that.

As much as you seem to have a specific idea in mind with ‘Different Creatures’, it sounds completely natural and doesn’t come across as over-polished. For example, I noticed you chose to keep in a comment you make about someone texting you at the end of one of the songs on the album…

KS: That was actually all orchestrated! We did loads of fake overdubs.

Really?! So did Alan try to get the right mics for how you wanted that to come across?

KS: Nah, in all seriousness, it’s something that we’ve all always loved. Like when you listen to old Beatles records and you can hear them all talking to each other. As a listener, it sucks you in straight away, which is what you want. For me, I always remember being able to hear when the Arctic Monkeys click the distortion pedal off at the end of their first record.

It’s immersive, isn’t it? It takes you right into the studio.

KS: Yeah, you’re in the studio with them. I’ve always wanted that. No matter how big the production — and it’s big on some of these songs — I still want it to feel personal to everyone listening to us.

Circa Waves

The album has been very successful so far. Do you feel you’ve now reached a place as a band, commercially or artistically, where you’re happy with where you are?

KS: No, I don’t think we’re content at all, really. We are really proud of what we have achieved and what we’ve done, but I don’t think we will ever think we have made it. Even when we’re headlining festivals, we’ll want to headline two festivals.

Any musician who is content should probably give up. You’ll stop making music that means something to you. We’ve got that drive and just want to keep moving up and up. We’re really happy with the album, but we want to keep pushing it as far as we can take it.

I think that takes a lot of confidence as a band. Is that how you feel?

KS: Yeah. I think when we first started we were just happy to actually be in a band. You get a record deal and take everything with a pinch of salt. You go: “Well, we’re just glad we’re here!”.

But over the last few years, we’ve seen the reactions that we’ve had and we’ve watched ourselves getting bigger and better. That alone makes you more confident. It’s hard not to be when you see 10,000 people singing your songs back to you! It’s such a massive boost. We want more of that.

It seems like Circa Waves is a band that has worked from the ground up. Do you think it’s harder, particularly as quite a working-class group, to take that path?

KS: I think we pride ourselves on being a live band that have toured continuously. Since we were all about 14 years old, we’ve been playing live and honing our craft, and we’re definitely happy to have made our name that way and not through some awful TV show.

We’ve played the toilet circuit (a network of small music venues that hosts rising rock, indie and metal bands) many times over to get to this point. Hopefully, people will see how we did it and it’ll inspire them to grow their own band that way and not look for the easy way into it. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who think you just have to go on ‘The Voice’, or whatever, to make it.

But, is it hard to support yourself when you’re starting out and not seeing that kind of success?

KS: When we were first in bands, we all had jobs and would practice at night. With Circa Waves, we got signed really early which gives you a foundation of cash to live on. Not much, but enough to get by and just concentrate on being a band and making music. So, I don’t know, sometimes you’ve just got to put yourself out there and do it.

Circa Waves

You said you pride yourself on being a live band, as it’s where you built character and honed your craft. Is there any particular way you approach performing live? Is it an entirely different performance or do you go out and play with the same energy and enthusiasm that you did in the studio?

KS: I suppose it is a bit of a performance. I don’t walk around the way I do on stage in real life. You have to have a bit of swagger when you’re in front of people.

Yeah, I’m sure Nick Cave doesn’t walk around on stage the way he does in real life, either. You are playing a bit of a role, aren’t you?

KS: It is a bit of a role. I think we are very aware of our fans and they’ve all paid £15 to come and see us, so we owe them that amount of entertainment. We do put everything into it and at the end of each gig, we’re sweating and our hands are bleeding. I don’t know any other bands at the moment who are as active as us in our genre. We do absolutely give it everything.

Are there any other bands right now that inspire you?

KS: The Vryll Society. They’re really cool, sort of like early The Verve. I’ve always loved the singer, Mike Ellis. He’s such a confident guy and actually reminds me of a young Mick Jagger. He’s a brilliant songwriter, too, so I’m really intrigued to see what he does next. I also heard Zuzu on Huw Stephens recently, who’s really cool, and Clean Cut Kid are doing well at the moment, I think.

Do you put much thought into your fashion when you’re on stage? Is there an image you aspire to when you’re performing?

KS: Elvis. We all try to be Elvis… As a band, we try to put a bit of effort into our look but we don’t wear guy-liner. Yet.

So, when you talked about ambition, you meant glam rock?

KS: Yeah. Flares and guy-liner.

That could be the next stage for Circa Waves.

KS: That’s the next level.

Circa Waves are made up of bandmates Kieran Shudall, Sam Rourke, Colin Jones, and Joe Falconer. The boys are currently touring across the UK, supported by INHEAVEN and The Magic Gang, and their latest album is available to buy now.

Gola Ridgerunner ‘National Parks’ Pack

golaridge

It is hard to deny the sheer beauty of some of the landscapes which we are lucky to be blessed with here in Britain. In order to celebrate these national treasures we have developed the hiking-inspired ‘National Parks’ pack Gola Ridgerunner. Inspired by the great outdoors Ridgerunner is packed full of autumnal colours reminiscent of our stunning countryside.

Gola Ridgerunner ‘Yorkshire Dales’

gola york

The Yorkshire Dales is situated in an upland area of the Pennines in Northern England. This historic area is famous for its Three Peak treks which take on Ingleborough, Pen-y-Ghent and Whernside, with many people attempting and succeeding to tackle all three in one day. Our Yorkshire Dales Ridgerunner trainer is made up of dark, earthy tones including tan, brown and black. It is also available in both low and high-top silhouettes with each featuring a tweed-look inner and cleated hiking style sole.

Gola Ridgerunner ‘Cairngorms’

gola cairn

The Cairngorms is a national park in the eastern Highlands of Scotland which is home to a mountain of the same name. The area is well known for its Caledonian pine forests and some of the best cycling trails available on our shores. The Cairngorm Ridgerunner is inspired by this beautiful location and features brown and tan set upon a background of navy blue with a red and tartan inner and cleated hiking style sole for extra grip.

Gola Classics: Pretty in Pink

No matter what time of year it is, a splash of pink will always brighten up your day. You could say it is lucky then that right now on the Gola website, we have dozens of brilliant pink ladies’ shoes and bags which can help add some much needed colour to these cold and grey winter months.

There are plenty of pretty pinks to be found in several of our Harrier trainers, which were originally launched in 1968 and are part of our Gola Classics collection. Whether it is bright pinks against a dark navy suede like these, or dark, warm pink with a navy wingflash like these, you can always count on pink to bring your Harriers to life.

Our next selection is an eclectic mix made up of three styles which are part of our Gola Classics range. These include black slip-ons with an elegant pink floral print, the 70s tennis classic Orchid in a bright shade of fuschia and last but not least the Gola x Liberty Art Fabrics Samurai which makes great use of one of Liberty’s intricate prints.

Finally, we bring you a trio of bright and bold Gola Classics Redford messenger bags. We have chosen a baby blue and pale pink design, an allover pink and fuchsia number and lastly a darker blue, pink and white take on our classic over-the-shoulder bag.

Don’t just take our word for it though, there are plenty more for you to browse and buy in the Gola online store!

Gola Classics Comet & Seeker back to life for AW15!

The weather is getting colder and greyer, the nights are getting darker earlier and the inevitable ring of people proclaiming ‘”it’s only (insert number here) days until Christmas!” is very much a reality… Autumn is here! And while this may be painstaking to any summer-lovers out there, it is the perfect time to up your shoe game and embrace the new season.

The dawn of this new season has brought with it the Gola Classics AW15 collection, which is now officially available in our online store and on retailers’ shelves. This new range is jam packed with hot and exciting new designs that are sure to help you through the colder months with lashings of style.

Being the good people that we are, we have decided to round up two of the newest and exciting styles in our autumn / winter range to give a little background and further insight into each trainer. So without further ado, we bring you the Gola Classics Comet & Seeker in all their glory:

Gola Classics Comet

The Comet is back with a bang in our latest collection where you can find the plimsoll in no fewer than 11 new colourways. Choose from a variety of lace-up suede and canvas uppers, along with padded lining to bring you even more comfort. Stand outs in the collection of these quintessentially British fashion pumps are the men’s and women’s all white canvas Comets and the Navy suede Comet. Get them while you can because they won’t be around for long.

Gola Classics Seeker

For AW15, the Gola Classics Seeker comes in three easygoing styles – high top, plimsoll and slip-on.

The high top is our unique take on the classic chukka boot silhouette and this simple but effective design comes in five autumnal colour and material variations, which are: tan leather, black leather, brown suede, navy suede and blue suede. Each pair has a contrast heel tab, layered rand and would look perfect when teamed up with some casual jeans.

The Seeker plimsolls and slip-ons are available in blue or brown suede – subtle but effective!

The Return of Gola x Liberty Art Fabrics!

We are absolutely delighted to welcome back the Gola x Liberty Art Fabrics collaboration for AW15, with a whole new host of their floral, pattern and paisley fabrics used on the Gola Classics range.

For any of you that may have missed it, we first collaborated with the amazing London-based brand back in 2013, producing a beautifully feminine range of lades’ shoes and bags which captured the hearts of people all over the world. Now, they’re back for more as we continue this marvelous relationship of two quintessentially British brands on a mission to create high quality footwear and bags with an unmistakable floral image.

Who are Liberty?

Liberty Art Fabrics have a long and lustrous heritage which all started in 1875 when a certain Arthur Lasenby Liberty opened an Eastern bazaar-inspired store on Regent Street, London. Customers flocked to his store to browse and purchase Liberty’s ornaments, fabrics and other works of art which fueled a shop expansion within the first eighteen months.

Since then, Liberty products have remained irresistible to consumers and now the brand is adored all around the world. Below, we have pulled out some of our favourite pieces from the Gola x Liberty Art Fabrics AW15 collection, but you can browse them all in our online store.

Our first footwear choice is the gorgeous slip-on Delta plimsoll in navy / blue. This easy-going design comes with chunky sole, twin gusset and an eye-catching all over print. Second, Liberty re-imagine our Samurai with another of their stunning floral prints, this time adorned on an 80s-inspired silhouette with a suede and nylon upper. You can also see both of the charming Gola x Liberty Art Fabrics rucksacks above/below.

Graduate Fashion Week 2014 overview

Well its all over for another year, but what a year it was. With a venue change, sunshine and wall to wall new talent.

I am going to give you the lowdown on what went on and some of the best bits at GFW 2014.

Firstly the location change. Usually GFW is held at Earls Court which by no means is a bad venue. It is a large space that is very bland,  so the perfect backdrop to customise and create a great fashion space. The only downside being the location of Earls Court, not really a fashion district in London.

This year GFW was held at the Truman Brewery. Located in the heart of Shoreditch and just off the famous Bricklane. On the weekend the whole area is filled with market stalls selling street food, antiques and clothing. A mecca for anyone interested in Fashion. Many new fashion brands/agencys etc are now based in Shoreditch making the Truman Brewery an even better location to attract potential employers.

With the bustling streets outside the old brewery the inside was transformed form a warehouse into a vibrent, talent filled space.

Each university is allocated a space to customise as they wish to best showcase the students work and represent the university.

As you entered the building life drawing classes were being held by the London Colllage of Fashion. Next to them was the University of Salford stand. Very simple and industrial looking allowing the work to speak for itself. Old wooden sleepers had been fashioned with scaffolding to create a huge desk space with matching benches. Portfolios were laid out and it allowed viewers to sit down and look through the work. The only branding was an eye catching neon sign on the wall.

Once inside the wear house there were so many stands each trying to show individuality. One that really stood out was the Manchester University stand. It had been designed by a past employee of Paul Smith. It was very clear this stand had been created to a very high standard. The whole floor was covered in wood chipping’s, all work was displayed in glass cabinets or on a single wooden shelf running the length of the stand. In the centre of the stand was a large glass table with computer screens laid into the top to showcase students digital work. It was so eye catching and looked extremely professional.

Not all the stands were occupied by universities. George for Asda also had a stand. They held talks on careers in buying and merchandising. Very interestingly they had 3D printers on display actually printing off small plastic models.

Over all I think this may have been one of the best GFW years. The change of location and standard of work on display has really made the event. I am excited to see how they will top it at GFW 2015.

 

 

 

Creative Focus Awards

Friday 13th of June 2014 marked the beginning of the University of Central Lancashire Creative Focus week and the event that opened this event was the Creative Focus Awards.  A large crowd gathered in the University’s Atrium space to support the 30 plus students from the University of Central Lancashire all nominated for an award in recognition of their achievements

The awards were judged, this year, by not only the university but members of Creative Lancashire,  an initiative create by Lancashire County Council with the aim to support and promote creativity within the county. Winners from each of the three UCLan schools (the school of Journalism and Media, the school of Art, Design and Performance and the Grenfell-Baines School of Architecture), were awarded by Charles Hadcock, the chairman of Creative Lancashire and Professor Gerry Kelleher, the UCLan Vice Chancellor.

Winners from each category were announced as follows:

Architecture Award – Sally Archibald (Architectural Technology)

Design Award – Nicholas Norcross (Illustration)

Fashion Award – Femida Adam (Eastern Fashion Design)

Fine Art Award – Daveid Darbyshire (Drawing and Image Making)

Media Award – Lauren Clark (Screenwriting with Film, TV and Radio)

Performance Award – Catherine Shaw (Contemporary Theatre and Performance)

Creative Lancashire – Best in commercial viability Award:

Samantha Binns (Fshion and Brand Promotion with Photography)

Lanty Ball (Contemporary Crafts)

For further information on the event and its winners visit –

http://uclancreativefocus.com/uclan-recognition-creative-achievers/

Creative Focus Week

This week the University of Central Lancashire opens its doors to the public for its Creative Focus Week from the 16th to the 21st June. A week long degree show exhibition of all its creative final year students individual work with courses stretching across a broad spectrum of subjects from Architecture, Media, Design, Fine art, Performance and fashion across the universities Preston campus.

The week features sculpture, design, paintings, sound instillations, animation, film and much more displayed in various studios located in the Hanover, Victoria and Harris buildings and the universities Media Factory. With the Hanover building also exhibiting work by the foundation year art and design students.

The week also features the Creative Focus Awards on Friday 13th June, with one student from each of the creative courses nominated and a student will be chosen from each area to receive the award. Friday the 20th of June will also see the catwalk exhibition of the UCLan Fashion Design students, many of which showcased their collections at this years Graduate Fashion week at London’s Truman Brewery.

The entire week long Creative Focus exhibition (10am-6pm )  is completely free and guided tours are available for businesses, schools and colleges. Staff and students can also be found throughout each building ready to discuss courses and individual work for any visitors wanting any more information. This highly anticipated event is a chance to see many important names of the creative future displaying their final major projects that their whole three academic years have been working up to.

Carla Lee Illustration

The word ‘illustration’ comes from the Latin word ‘illustra’tio, illustro’ meaning ‘enlighten’. True to its essence, Yorkshire-based Illustrator Carla Lee’s work is nothing short of enlightening.

Focusing on precise detail and intense observational skills, Carla shines a magnifying glass onto objects and animals and teases out intricacies so defined her images stray away from reality and approach the surreal.

Carla usually begins with the traditional Illustrator’s tools: sketchbook and pens. From here, her passionate imagination and desire to create are her ‘je ne sais quoi’, resulting in unique and striking images.

Carla is a self-confessed kitten lover, which is apparent in the feline, farmyard, feathered and four-legged motif that characterises her work (take a browse on her website). ‘The Fox and the Mask’ – a limited collection – brings out the wave-like tonality of her mammal’s fur, so detailed it could be a peacock’s tail. And it’s only too appropriate that Carla drew a collection of magical ‘Alice in Wonderland’ inspired illustrations in which animals and nature are recognisable, but somehow not quite right.

Talking stories, one of Carla’s proudest ventures was her first book for American company ‘New Adjustment Productions’ titled ‘Weevil & Nightshade’s Compendium of Farables and Tales’. This original piece treads somewhere between Aesop’s Fables and Grimm’s Fairytales. In seven tales written by Mark Roushe, the farables confront societal issues with a fantastical twist through characters Shannon Shee and her shadow Persephone, a living enslaved girl made out of chocolate. Carla’s poignant, imaginative and prickly style perfectly complements the lyrical yet dark tone of the farables, which interweave abstract and realistic themes with uncanny fluidity.

Check out Carla’s work on her website www.carlalee.co.uk and discover the wizadry for yourself.

Emma Robertson – GFW

With Graduate Fashion Week now over for another year it is now time for us to look at the enormously talented students behind the collections seen on the catwalk.

I spoke with Emma Robertson a final year Fashion Design student from the University of Central Lancashire who was one of the talented few to showcase her final collection at this years Graduate Fashion Week. Emma’s contemporary A/W 15 menswear collection put a new spin on track wear and made us re-think the PVC stripe. It focuses on the juxtaposition between the attitude of menswear style during the great depression of the 1920’s and the stereotypical look of the modern day jobseeker. Executed perfectly using a contrasting combination of performance fabrics, wool and nylon in a palette of dirty lilacs and soft powdery blues amongst much heavier navy and cream tones set against a crisp white.

What was the inspiration behind your collection?

The inspiration behind my collection came from a visit to the ‘This Way Out’ exhibition at the Camp and Furnace in Liverpool. While I was there I saw a Karl Lagerfeld quote on the wall, which read, “If you’re wearing track pants, you’ve given up“. I’d seen a lot of TV programs on ‘benefits Britain’ at the time and there was a lot of coverage in the media on how job seekers and those claiming benefits were being portrayed. I made the connection with the quote that I had seen and started to think about how people in different social and financial situations approach their own fashion style.

For example – people wearing track pants therefore must have given up and those in suits are the picture of wealth and high society. I wanted to look back in history to find a time that was suffering from the same social and financial difficulties that benefits Britain struggle with today, but where men had a different attitude to style regardless of their circumstances. I chose to research into the Great Depression on the 1920’s where men were searching for jobs wearing sandwich boards on the street but also wore their best suit underneath it.

How would you describe your collections look?

ER: My collection is a merge of 1920’s tailored silhouettes modernised by sportswear fabrics and fastenings and PVC tracksuit stripes.

You decide to use Gola Classics within your collection, why is that?

ER: The reason I chose Gola was because these are a classically British brand and shoe. It was important to me to use a trainer that fit well with my concept and so they had to be of British heritage.

How did it feel to be able to show your final collection on the catwalk at Graduate Fashion Week?

ER: To show at Graduate fashion week was an amazing experience and something we all as young designers aspire to. I feel that it’s a good platform to show your final collection as many people from industry attend graduate fashion week and it is also exciting to be able to showcase your work to your family and friends.

Emma’s collection was highly received at the Graduate Fashion Week showcase and she has now even been contacted by magazines, who have asked to shoot and write about her work. She also tells me that she has also received some exciting job interviews by some big industry names. With this hugely positive reaction to her final collection and Emma’s previous experience at big names such as Alexander McQueen, Savil Row’s English Cut and Sportswear International, it is clear to see that her name is well worth watching out for in the not so distant future and we wish her all the best.

 

 

Graduate Fashion collections

It is that time of year again, the weather is getting warmer (supposedly), nights are getting longer and Uni is finally finished for the summer.

Well except for those of us mad enough to study fashion, we have the last big event to go. Those of you in the loop will already know and for those who aren’t I am referring to Graduate Fashion Week.

Graduate fashion week is the culmination of the top fashion talent form all over the country. Each university putting forward their most promising students to exhibit and show. To give a representation of the best university has to offer prospective student. It also helps the students to make the next big steps into the fashion industry.

This year is no exception. With changes such as a change of venue this year is set to be one of the most exciting yet. Moving the location of Graduate Fashion week to The Truman Brewery, in the heart of east London has brought it bang up to date. East London is famously a hub of new talent and exciting business growth especially focused on the creative industries. It is a sponge waiting to soak up anything new and interesting, a great base for Graduate Fashion Week.

Before Graduate Fashion Week a lot of work goes on behind the scenes, visualizing and creating the collections that may be chosen to walk down the runway. I interviewed UCLAN fashion student Natalie Smith about her collection, inspiration and thoughts on this years graduate fashion week.

VP: What are your feelings towards Graduate Fashion Week?

NS: To be selected for Graduate Fashion Week is a great feeling. I hope showing my collection on the catwalk will open up exciting opportunities for my career, and as a student will help promote my name in the industry.

Natalie’s Collection is a menswear collection deeply rooted in tailoring with strong shapes and muted dull tones.
The beauty is in the detail, focus being paid to pockets and zips.

VP: What is the inspiration behind your collection?
NS: The inspiration for my collection is Brutalism. I looked at the structure and exposure of brutalism building in London, (Hayward Art Gallery & National Theatre) paying attention to how architects from the 1950’s and 1960’s used the inside functions as an outside feature. The buildings also helped to create my colour pallet as the grey tones were drawn out to develop an AW Collection.

The collection has three main focal points. A beautifully tailored grey two-piece suit. A crisp white shirt with a large black panel brazened across the front to make a bold statement. My personal favourite is the classic bomber jacket. This timeless classic has been given a modern twist by using fabric usually associated with suits to emphasize the smart casual feel of the collection.

VP: How were the concepts developed and who decided on them?
NS: My concept was developed through innovative moulage and creative pattern cutting. With help from my tutors we analyzed the shapes and construction lines and combined this with brutalism architecture.

When Viewing Natalie’s collection it is clear to see the strong influences that the Brutalism movement has made on her collection, from pallet through to construction and shape. Using the strong form Brutalism portrays while combining the concept of using inside function to create a pleasing outside aesthetic.