ECA's Fashion Show
Edinburgh College of Art’s annual fashion show always produces excellent, thought-provoking work. Kirstin Innes meets two of the budding designers
Edinburgh College of Art’s annual fashion degree show has long been a key date in the calendar of fashion-forward ‘Burghers, who know that the innovative designs on display tend to transcend expectations for a student fashion show.
ECA graduates have often gone on to shape the way the city thinks about fashion too, with young designers creating lines for key stores such as Godiva and Totty Rocks. Chloe Patience, one of the designers behind Bebaroque (the Vogue-featured, award-winning line of designer tights) is a graduate of the masters course.
We spoke to Joseph McGee and Raine Hodgson, two of the most exciting young designers who will be exhibiting their work this fortnight. They’re both still in their very early 20s, but their work already exemplifies two very different ways the fashion world can be expected to evolve over the next few years.
‘I’m inspired by an ambition to design high-end luxury products, so the fabrics I’ve created my collection around are all superfine wools and high-grade cashmeres,’ says McGee, who at the tender age of 22 has already assisted on Roksanda Ilincic and Marios Schwab’s collections, and designed a line of accessories for Schwab’s spring/summer 2009 range. His collection, which he calls ‘Proposal’, uses the soft, pliant properties of luxury fabric to explore human movement.
‘What I’ve done is underlay the fabric with foam strips at key points in the body: at the joints, wrists, knees and around the shoulder area. The garments look like they’re being propelled forward, like they’re in motion. When I worked with Marios, I was inspired by his process and passion. He’s so creative and avant garde with his designs, but also very commercial and sellable. He’s doing something really interesting and pushing the boundaries.’
Hodgson, 21, is less interested in avant garde luxury, and more in the socio-political, economic and environmental impact that the industry has on the world. Her designs, inspired by Russian folk costume, are all created from sustainable materials, including horse and, er, human hair.
‘I love the look of furs and leathers, but I would never use them unless it was an ethically-sourced animal by-product,’ she says. ‘We’re beginning to see ethics coming back into fashion; and the economic climate means more clothes are being recycled – these factors have been pivotal for my collection.’
Hodgson’s collection ‘Folks like these’ is shot through with respect for natural resources. ‘Fashion is always moving, so you don’t necessarily have to use modern technological fabrics,’ she says. ‘They’re not always the most environmentally efficient. Being resourceful with what you have around you – that’s a true expression of individuality.’
Wed 6–Fri 8 May, Edinburgh College of Art. Tickets from www.hubtickets.co.uk