End-of-year fashion shows display fresh talent from Glasgow and Edinburgh's Art Schools
Names to look out for include Joanna Dixon, Natasha Samasuwo, Salwa McGill and Colleen Leitch
Glasgow and Edinburgh fashion students have created inspiring end-of-year shows. Claire Sawers pinpoints some of the best collections
Syrian techno from the ultimate wedding-party DJ, Omar Souleyman, and squelchy Nigerian funk from the mysterious William Onyeabor boomed from the no-nonsense Art School’s speakers on the opening night of the GSA’s Third Year Fashion Show. There was a distinctly international flavour to the fashions on the catwalk too, where fashion and textile design students took inspiration from world dress traditions.
Joanna Dixon, a third-year print student, was drawn to the natural patterns and lace-like motifs in fungi, insects’ nests and coral for her sublime prints, and paired them with pop-out sky blues and orange-reds that she found while researching East African traditional dress.
Natasha Samasuwo, originally from Zimbabwe, and on the same course as Dixon, looked to West Africa for ultra-simple silhouettes, filled with bold patterns. Her vibrant, geometric prints were inspired by African costume and the (always fiercely well-styled) Maasai people. Elsewhere, Sijia Chen, from Shanghai, used fringed capes and tasselled layers for a sleek, minimal update on clothing and Shamanist rituals of the Inuit.
Over in Edinburgh, the students won’t show their collections until the end of April, but a sneak look at their designs revealed they’re pulling inspiration out of everything from architectural drawings (Salwa McGill) to female monsters in 50s B-movies (Sarah Kilkenny) and on to tailored religious-wear (Colleen Leitch). Leitch’s designs take a zeitgeisty look at beautiful monochrome and smoky-grey digital prints, made with silk, velvet and … rubber undercarpet slip mats.
Meanwhile, Kilkenny visualised a strong woman for her collection, and is exploring feminist and confrontational takes on feminine silhouettes. Bryony Campbell is inspired by female activists and anarchists in her collection, with the working title ‘Keep Your Boobs On/It’s the Tits’ looking at how underwear and outerwear can play around with notions of nudity and conformity.
The Edinburgh College of Art Fashion Show takes place at McEwan Hall, Edinburgh, Wed 23–Fri 25 Apr, 6.30pm and 8.30pm. Tickets can be purchased from hubtickets.co.uk; alternatively, we have two pairs of tickets to the opening show to give away.