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RCA Fashion Students Celebrated at London Fashion Week, ITS Awards and 10 Downing Street

It has been an impressive summer for RCA Fashion Menswear and Fashion Womenswear, with recent graduates picking up awards at this year’s International Talent Support festival (ITS) in Trieste in July, taking part in London Fashion Week and attending a reception at 10 Downing Street.

Three graduates from MA Fashion Womenswear 2016 – Amanda Svart, Oksana Ani and Stefanie Tschirky – took part in the On|Off ARTS THREAD curated showcase ‘Tomorrow’s Talent’ during London Fashion Week (16–20 September), which brought together elements of each designer's collection under the theme ‘Digital Impressionists.’

Oksana Ani, who during her time at the RCA collaborated with researchers from MIT on garments fashioned using living bacteria, exhibited items from her collection Fluid’Sense. Stefanie Tschirky, also interested in the intersection between fashion and other disciplines, exhibited elements from her collection exploring the use of mathematics in the pursuit of aesthetic perfection.

In the run up to London Fashion Week, recent RCA Fashion graduates were among those to attend a reception at 10 Downing Street, where Prime Minister Theresa May celebrated the British fashion industry, describing it as ‘a global leader in trade, creativity and innovation’. During the event, May also acknowledged the important economic contribution that fashion makes to the UK economy.

RCA graduate Paula Knorr (Fashion Womenswer, 2015), selected as one of this year’s NEWGEN designers by the British Fashion Council, attended the ceremony along with Mark Glasgow (MA Fashion Menswear, 2015) and Louise Bennett (MA Fashion Womenswear, 2014), who since graduating from the RCA have gone on to work for fashion label E. Tautz and London-based furniture designer Fay Toogood. 

Earlier this summer, twelve RCA graduates were shortlisted for a prestigious ITS award. Now in its fifteenth year, the ITS festival recognises the next generation of designers shaping the future of fashion. Of the twelve students who were shortlisted, four came away with awards. Head of Programme Zowie Broach says of the festival: ‘It’s given those students amazing opportunities ... the festival really helps young designers feel confident, independent and self-sufficient.’

Marco Baitella (MA Fashion Menswear, 2016) won the ITS Artwork award for his miniature Utopia captured in transparent resin; Helen Kirkum (MA Fashion Menswear, 2016) won both the ITS Accessories Award and the Vogue Talent award for her footwear collection 'Our Public Youth', consisting of meticulously deconstructed trainers; and Sari Rathel (MA Jewellery & Metal 2016) won the ITS Jewellery Award for her jewellery collection exploring the performative nature of gender.

Each of the prizewinners were awarded €10,000. Neils Gundtoft Hansen – awarded the Only The Brave prize – also received the opportunity of an internship at either Diesel or Maison Margiela. The ITS Generale Future award, which recognises continued innovation in the work of previous ITS award-winners, went to Justin Smith Esq (MA Fashion Menswear, 2007).