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Fashion Show 2017: A New Measure of Fashion from the RCA

Fashion Show 2017 offers the opportunity to experience fresh, rare and new thoughts from graduating Menswear, Womenswear, Knitwear, Footwear and Accessories students at the RCA. To see sneak previews of the students' work, visit fashion.rca.ac.uk/2017

On Thursday 8 June, the evening of the UK General Election and the start of the fifth London Fashion Week Men’s, 48 graduating students from the RCA will be presenting their collections through a dynamic combination of performance, installation, music and choreography.

This year, RCA Fashion is taking over the minimal quiet of a Shoreditch studio, which until recently was the workspace and home of Turner-Prize winning artist Rachel Whiteread. Within the light-filled spaces, the Fashion 2017 cohort will demonstrate their extraordinary thinking in brave new ways, introducing unexpected work that breaches new frontiers.

The evening will begin with a choreographed show, followed by an exploration of live installations dispersed throughout the building before a second show closes the evening; this multilayered presentation will offer alternative ways to engage with fashion. ‘These designers are revealing a beginning, a new bravery and an extraordinary journey, where no question has yet been fully answered and no horizon completely understood,’ explained Zowie Broach, RCA Head of Fashion.

‘It is fitting that this Show takes place at the very moment when the UK decides on its future Government,’ Zowie continued. ‘Since the UK voted to leave the EU last June, students have been asking urgent questions about owning their own culture that haven’t been asked for generations. They have been pushed to ask deeper questions about fashion within the current political climate and its power to effect change in this unsettling landscape’.

These deep and urgent questions range from the explicitly political, to the theological, spanning hedonistic approaches as well as considerations of how our relationship with the clothes we wear shapes our attitudes towards our bodies and each other.

Bianca Saunders’ Menswear collection redefines contemporary black masculinity, challenging stereotypes and offering nuanced clothes that play with non-linear gendered form. In response to the Fashion Show 2017 taking place on election day, Menswear graduate Eleanor Rousseau, whose collection is about Manchester youth culture, has made political banners for the models wearing her garments to hold, with phrases including 'CORBYN IN TORIES OUT', 'SAVE OUR FUTURE' and 'PEACE FOR MCR'.

Camilla Damkjaer’s Womenswear collection materialises the relationship we have with our clothes by embracing and celebrating the human touch and Abbie Stirrup, whose practice spans spatial design, performance art and sportswear innovation, has explored new and evolved way to dress, cover and work with the body.

The event will also offer the opportunity to see graduate collections by Ting Ting Zhang (Womenswear) and Arnar Jonsson (Menswear) who were awarded internships with adidas last year. The Menswear graduate collections from the winners of the annual Brioni Award, including overall winner Rhiannon Wakefield, winner in Innovation Dan He, and winner for Tailoring Per Hanson, will also be on display.

The graduating students of 2017 are treading their own path, but will be hoping to build on the success of last year’s graduates who, just one year after graduating, are proving to be a powerful force at international Fashion weeks. Onebyme, part of InnovationRCA, the College’s centre for enterprise, entrepreneurship, incubation and business support, will show for the first time at London Fashion Week Men’s. Kang Hyuk Choi (MA Menswear, 2016) recently showed at Seoul Fashion Week and is working in collaboration with Showstudio, Machine-A and H Lorenzo; while Supriya Lee (MA Womenswear, 2016) showed at Fashion East AW2017.