‘One person’s insanity is another’s normality’ – Sabrina Khan
A decayed wall in an old asylum can conjure up tattered memories, evoke a feeling of nostalgia or, in this case, generate the colour pattern of an edgy collection. I met Sabrina Khan in the halls of the Graduate Fashion Week 2011 In London’s Earl Court. ‘There is no way to escape these days,’ she tells me ’we are constantly controlled and restricted. This is what my collection is about.’
Sabrina has just shown her collection ‘Mind’ and in this successfully graduated from the University of Wales, Newport. Inspired by a documentary on the Denbigh Asylum, the collection aims to challenge the stigmas associated with mental health and give an insight into the world of mental illnesses through the eyes of those who endure them. ‘It is kept unisex and mixes eastern and western pattern cutting techniques. Fascinating and weird in their form are the laser cuts which reflect a surface texture of the human brain. Sabrina had a cup of tea for breakfast and is planning on setting up her own company, pushing the boundaries of unisex. We wish her the best of luck.
It’s all about the mind at the University of Wales and since three years it is part of the ‘Mill of Fashion’ festival mixing with Belarusian designers. Last week, there were three designers from Newport showing at the festival: Claire Andrews, Bek Cochrane and Fern Marie Smith.
I chatted with Bek Cochrane about her collection ‘Pleasures that plague my mind‘ that in her words is ‘a voyage of discovery, liberation and mutation.’ I am not surprised. The mutation is clearly visible: body extensions come in knitted spikes and voluminous shoulders and creature features are spray-painted on translucent silk sleeves.
Inspired by a hall of mirrors, where perception is altered, the collection is defined by androgynous and cocoonish shapes. Held in black and white with blue denim as the classic odd colour out it is, too, unisex. For Bek Cochrane also had just a tea for brekkie, gender crossing is the big thing and she sets it on level with abnormality and irregularity, but makes it normal and into absolutely wearable obscurity. See her show here.
Exodus - Fern Marie Smith
Inspired by sources derived from desolate landscapes – deserts, abandoned homes, and ghost towns – Fern Marie Smith’s graduate collection ‘Exodus’ shows fabric manipulation details inspired by waves of sand, rusted metals, cracked wood and earth. See her show here.
Tomorrow is Now – Claire Andrew
Textiles, textures and surfaces inspired by nature are combined to create organic contemporary silhouettes for Claire Andrew‘s graduate collection.
Asked what she likes about the graduate’s work, Penny Jarman, Head of Development of the University of Wales simply tells me: ‘It is exciting, always changing, always moving.’ Let’s hope it will stay that way.
Each June Graduate Fashion Week stages an exhibition showcasing the work of some 50 universities across 52 courses, and approximately 21 university fashion shows in London.