LCF workshop teaches students to make linen from flax

LCF recently collaborated with Cordwainers Community Garden to run a flax workshop, teaching students to break, scutch, heckle and spin flax to make linen thread to then be woven and knitted into a garment.

The LCF flax, grown at the Mare Street site, was combined with flax grown by multiple community groups, gardeners and primary schools as part of the ‘Seeds of Fashion‘ project to grow a garment within the M25.

It is hoped that by growing flax at LCF, students and staff will gain a greater appreciation of the work that goes into creating fabric and will lead to a re-valuing of the materials we use everyday. LCF plan to expand the initiative and grow the fibre crop again at multiple sites next year.

  • Find out more about growing fashion at LCF
  • Read more about Seeds of Fashion
  • To join in with growing your own fashion, email Rachel Clowes, Embroidery Technician: r.clowes@fashion.arts.ac.uk

LCF Alumni SquidLondon Launch Colour Changing Rainwear for Kids

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Today LCF alumni Viviane Jaeger, BA (Hons) Product Design and Development for the Fashion Industries, and Emma-Jayne ParksBA (Hons) Cordwainers Fashion Bags and Accessories, founders of SquidLondon launched their first ever children’s rainwear collection; SquidKids, exclusively at Hamleys on Regent Street.

LCF popped down to the launch to check out the cute new designs, including colour changing dinosaur print raincoats and iconic London Bus wellies, and to catch up with Emma-Jayne and Viviane. They explained that they couldn’t wait to receive feedback from customers about the new collection and that SquidKids will soon be rolled out across the UK in selected stores and available online. They also told us that a percentage of all SquidKids sales will go toward “Shooting Star Chase” a wonderful hospice which cares for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions.

Over the last six years Squid has grown to be an international brand stocked in over 18 countries – from MoMA in New York to the Tate on the Southbank. We can’t wait to hear what the girls come up with next.

Guest post: EMBA at LCF hosts industry panel


“Men love clothes, it’s official” (Peter Ruis: CEO Jigsaw)

On Wednesday 8 October the EMBA at LCF hosted its regular industry panel at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden. This term the focus was on menswear and the speakers included a wide range of industry experts. Among the speakers were Drapers Editorial Director Eric Musgrave, the UK and Ireland Managing Director for Gant, Fergus Patterson, Nick Preston, Trading Director for No 14 Savile Row, as well as Eleanor Robinson who works as a buying Manager for Menswear at Selfridges. Peter Ruis, CEO at Jigsaw and Darren Skey, Menswear Buying and Merchandising Manager at Harvey Nichols were also present, as well as Dimitry Stravrou, newly appointed Product Manager at Nicole Farhi and Creative Brand Consultant Helene de Witte.

The panel was chaired by fashion consultant Louisa de Paula, who focused on the key factors driving growth in menswear. Her questions were aimed at exploring current trends and challenges and she covered many of the key issues regarding a growing and evolving market.

New Confidence

It became quite clear early on in the conversation that menswear is no longer a hidden secret. Peter Ruis began to speak about the growing markets in cosmetic and beauty with the male consumer no longer thinking of fashion as a guilty secret. Nick Preston made a thought-provoking observation, when he added that men’s interest in clothes is no longer driven by youth culture, but has become fashion driven. The metrosexual and the influence of David Beckham is still relevant in making fashion acceptable to the heterosexual consumer, but other role models in the music and film industry are now equally important in the democratization of style. Nick Preston insisted men follow fashion rather than subculture today, as a way to express style in a homogenous world. Darren Skey spoke about the changes he is observing at Harvey Nichols, where sportswear has become an important element for fashion driven brands, such as Givenchy. The sports casual trend is now ahead of tailoring in the luxury market, fitting the live style of those who are not constraint by dress codes in their professional life.

Key to this discussion was the way retail space itself is adapting to this new- found acceptance and interest in menswear and fashion. Eleanor Robinson commented on the importance of the interior for the men’s department at Selfridges. Retail spaces need to adapt their appearance to make male consumers feel comfortable. The growing trend for personal shopping as part of the experience needs to be considered as well. Robinson explained that retail spaces are changing, becoming more gendered. A more intimate space needs to accommodate personal needs within a fashion conscious environment, while at the same time responding to the growing demand for privacy.

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Inside the Industry with ASOS Head of Social Media

The Inside the Industry series at LCF this week welcomed ASOS Head of Social Media, Hannah Craik. Discussing the importance of social media in every aspect of the consumer purchase journey, Hannah gave an inspiring talk about using social to drive loyalty and sales.

ASOS is a global online fashion and beauty retailer selling over 65,000 branded and own label products to fashion forward twenty-somethings, and in just nine years has gone from a niche get-the-look website to a massive internet phenomenon.

Hannah started her talk with the uplifting point that:

“There is always going to be someone really enthusiastic about what you do.”

She explained that the most powerful part of social media is its ability to reach a huge amount of people. With approximately 20 million photos posted to Instagram every hour and young people spending 80% of their time online on apps, social media is the perfect way to engage with ASOS’s twenty-something fashion conscious customer. Hannah went on to split her talk into what she believes are the three most important areas for social media, the process of inspiration, the buying process, and post-purchase.

It is interesting to think about what inspires us as consumers to buy something and how this might have changed due to the influence of social media. In the past, consumer inspiration used to be almost completely controlled by high-end retailers, and Instagram totally revolutionised that. Where word-of-mouth used to be an uncertain and immeasurable process, now people can instantly share their purchases with one another.

Hannah explained:

“More people have access to, and feel they are an inspiration to others.”

It’s evidently true that people share their purchases, ideas, and styles with one another these days, most of us would definitely admit to doing it. What we may not have noticed however, is how we are influencing each other in such a way that has never been seen before. For brands, the ‘see it, want it’ impulse-buy motivation can now be capitalised on.

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Inside the Industry: Imran Amed of the Business of Fashion in conversation with Frances Corner

Discussing all things creative and commercial, Business of Fashion website founder and editor Imran Amed set LCF’s 2014 Inside the Industry series off with an insightful and savvy start this week.

Since its inception in 2007 as a blog updated from Amed’s sofa, the Business of Fashion (BoF) has become an indispensible daily resource for fashion designers, executives, entrepreneurs and of course switched-on students worldwide.

As a self-proclaimed “fashion outsider” who had spent most of his career in the corporate world of management consultancy, Amed explained he wanted to see beyond the glamour, celebrity and flash bulb realm of fashion:

“That is obviously part of the industry but behind all of that is this magic. I was trying to understand how that magic happened and to show the more serious side of fashion.”

It’s this objective approach that has encouraged critics to not only take BoF seriously as a legitimate source but also the entire fashion industry as a global influencer -

“What BoF has done is provide a new dialogue around what the fashion industry is: how it can be improved, what its merits and demerits are, why it’s interesting and why it’s a contributor to popular culture.”

For an industry often considered trivial and superficial, it was motivating to hear someone with a healthy distance still value the driving force fashion is in society, from the economy to technology. Amed touched upon the excitement over the Apple watch at last month’s fashion shows, for example.

But for all its influence, he spoke as frankly in person about the industry’s failings as BoF. Amed answered students’ questions covering topics from intellectual property (“if creativity is the lifeblood of the industry then as an industry we must strive to protect ideas”) to underpaid internships (“I hope over time there’ll be more balance over how the profits of the fashion industry are shared”) to sweatshop labour (“just think about what it takes for a company to be able to sell a bag for £5, who has been rewarded along the way?”)

Hearing his points from a business as well as cultural perspective was particularly interesting. For budding fashion entrepreneurs, perceptive advice about appealing to consumers and “pro-sumers” (professional consumers taking an active role through social media and brand awareness) in the 21st century was gold dust.

“There’s still aspiration in fashion image but there’s a lot of inspiration in brands that are growing and developing online now. Inspiring people to be interested in your brand, to take part in your brand and to have a conversation about your brand is a much more powerful way of engaging people.”

Amed also took a considered approach to the current, unsustainable speed of design turnover. Reminding us “newness is what drives conversation but predictability, stability, experience, foundation is what drives the business of fashion”. In other words, designers don’t be overwhelmed! Find your own signature Chanel 2.55 bag, Burberry trench or Furstenberg wrap dress!

With BoF’s worldwide outreach, it was interesting to hear Amed’s view of the industry on a global scale. While he believes the four major fashion capitals will remain key, we should “do away with fashion nationalism”. He encouraged us to think of the global fashion centres as “global fashion platforms” rather than rigid representatives of that country’s own fashion tradition.

It’s a good point considering so many buyers and editors were apparently underwhelmed with last season’s collections. “If we looked for creativity beyond our own borders maybe we could make things a bit more exciting and make it justifiable to spend all that money and time travelling round.” Amed’s emerging market to watch out for is Africa and advice to expanding businesses is to always remain respectful of local cultures and traditions.

Of course the ultimate question was: what advice could he give anyone wanting to enter and be successful within fashion? A novice less than a decade ago, Amed has learnt everything he knows along the way and finished with a few simple guidelines. Keep your integrity and professionalism as a business and individual, designers wanting to make a success of their brands should understand the business basics too, find your USP and most of all remain passionate. “You have to care about this industry to be successful in it.”

From someone who’s built an award-winning resource up from mere “passion project”, there are few who’d know better.

MA Fashion Journalism students launch #NOFILTER magazine

A group of students from the MA Fashion Journalism course have launched #NOFILTER magazine, a publication, designed by Chirag Grover MA Fashion Media Production, that rather than telling women how they should be, empowers women to be happy with who they are now.

LCF News spoke to publisher Caitlin Gillespie who told us about how the publication came about.

#NoFilter came together after a group of us MA Fashion Journalism students got together, it just so happened that 90% of us were female, and over coffee just got to talking about life.  It came around extremely organically, as we knew we wanted to do something on feminism.  At least a few of the girls were hesitant because their understanding of feminism and feminist were not particularly positive, thus #NoFilter came about.

We felt that everything we saw on TV, everything we read in magazines and even the social media we ourselves use is continually coaching us to be someone different, to be someone ‘better’.  We decided then that it was important that we provided something that we felt discussed feminism in the same way we talked about it with our friends, even our male friends, as something that encourages women to be happy with who they are, to have goals and to have aspirations, but to also appreciate themselves the way they already are.  As a new generation of people entering the industry, we felt that we wanted to make our opinion on popular culture, feminism and women known.

At that first meeting we created our manifest statement:

“We are a collaborative of young creatives who believe that the magazine market is inundated with publications that perpetuate an image and understanding of women that we no longer identify with. We embody a new generation of women that view, consume and decipher their world differently.  The prevalence of social media and the never-ending access to information means we exist in a far more global world than ever before.  We are international women looking to be recognised for who we are, not constantly told who we should aim to be.”

Free copies of the first issue of #NOFILTER are available across all LCF campuses and around London.

Guest post: The essential act of drawing by Rob Phillips

Rob Phillips, Creative Director of the School of Design and Technology

Rob Phillips, Creative Director for the School of Design and Technology, @robphillipswork

Rob Phillips, Creative Director for the School of Design & Technology is obsessed with image making and believes, in his own words, “drawing to be the most important, visceral and inspiring skill any designer or anyone wanting to enter fashion should have, not just for their practice but their mind”.

In recent weeks Rob has been using Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to show his speedy sketches of the LFW Spring 2015 international catwalk collections that sit amongst other imagery he creates and finds inspiring. Here the LCF director takes to the LCF News airways to share his thoughts on drawing and fashion.

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The best of London Life

Over Freshers’ Week we decided to give you an Instagram tour of our six different buildings and their surrounding areas to really get you excited and raring to go for student life in London.

We had such a good time showing you around our different sites and want to say a big thank you for sharing your favourite places with us, and with your fellow students and #LCFfreshers. We hope you are all feeling settled in your new homes and are discovering even more about London life each day!

Check out the above gallery for a round-up of our favourite London Life pics! Special mentions to @maiamclean96, @turkinafaso, @nataliakopschitz, @linitrinh, @duktiga.

Whether new to London or a regular city slicker, you can always let us know what’s hot using #LondonLifeLCF.

You can see all of the images on our Instagram or on our Facebook page.

LCF Fashion Matters Gala raises money to launch new careers

Fashion Matters, LCF’s annual gala event which raises money for scholarships and bursaries has this year smashed its target, raising in excess of £85,000. The event which took place on Friday 10 October aims to support  future generations of designers, makers, entrepreneurs, commentators and industry specialists. The success of the evening will result in at least 50 new scholarships and bursaries.

The glittering Gala dinner, held at The Savoy London and sponsored by Shaftsbury PLC and Hogan Lovells, accommodated over 200 guests including designers, entrepreneurs and key fashion business for a unique evening to celebrate British educated fashion and design talent. VIPs included Grayson Perry CBE RA, Soprano Laura Wright, CEO of the British Fashion Council Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of Whistles Jane Shepherdson, Harold Tillman CBE, model Olivia Inge, designer Maria Grachvogel, interior designer Nicky Haslam, TV illusionist Derren Brown, philanthropist Aisha Caan, Made in Chelsea star Mark Francis and TV presenter Cleo Rocos.

After a champagne reception with an exhibition of beautiful work by current London College of Fashion students, the evening kicked off with a welcome speech by Chair of the Fundraising committee Harold Tillman CBE asking guests to “Dig deep … and even deeper” to help LCF surpass last years total of 29 new scholarships which helped launch “29 new careers.” Following Harold Tillman’s opening address Grayson Perry CBE RA took to the stage – beautifully dressed as his female alter-ego Claire.  Grayson had the audience in stitches as well as reminding everyone about the more serious reason for the evening – to raise money for students who might not otherwise be able to afford university education.  He reflected that as a working class boy he had received his art school education for free – and mused how the changes to the funding of Higher Education in the UK was likely to have an impact on those very same working class students.  Will we still have artists and designers in the future from every social background?

“I don’t see the next Alexander McQueen coming from Eton” he commented.

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LCF student creates photography booklet for Skin Care for All

MA Fashion Photography student Kári Sverriss has created a collection of images for Skin Care for All , helping to raise awareness of skin problems and respond to a range of skincare concerns and initiatives. Skin Care for All is an organisation that aims to nurture and encourage the self management of community dermatology.

Paul Bevan, Course Director of MA Fashion Photography, told LCF News about the thinking behind Skin Care for All and how fashion photography is interacting with the campaign:

“The mission was to invigorate the skin care for all agenda by engaging the power and proposition of the image, and in particular the fashion image. Fashion photography is mostly underpinned by conventions in visual aesthetic and beauty.  With this, come questions around our identity, and how we look at, judge and treat others by their appearance.  This was a great opportunity to give a creative response to the skin care for all initiative”

LCF News caught up with Kari to find out more about his work and inspirations.

LCF News: Tell us about Skin Care for All and how you got involved…

KS: I was approached by Paul Bevan (Course Director for MA Fashion Photography), Phil Sams (Honorary Doctor at LCF) and Terence Ryan (Honorary President of The International Society of Dermatology) and asked to create a series of images, and a booklet with them that would be used as a part of a presentation at the European dermatological summit. The images were to raise awareness of certain issues and matters regarding skincare and skin diseases.I decided to approach people with skin diseases and skin problems and asked them about their experiences and if they had ever met prejudices in their lives and if so in what way and how did they deal with it.

LCF News: Tell us about the images you have created…

KS: We had 8 days of shooting both in studios and on location in different parts of Iceland, I wanted to use the raw, rough and dry environment, and the unique locations in Iceland as I felt that they were a link or a visual connection to the extreme conditions that some people around the world are living in, and also problems that people with skin diseases and skin problems face.

I wanted all of the images to have an element of fashion to them, as I believe that the power of photography and fashion is undeniable and when those two elements come together there are endless possibilities and it can be used as a universal language to send out messages around the world. I wanted the images to portray the prejudices that people with skin diseases and problems face, the emotions, the good and the bad and I also wanted to show in the photos that we are all the same.

 

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Lady Gaga wears Contour Alum’s designs

Lady Gaga has been spotted out and about wearing designs by BA (Hons) Fashion Contour alumna Zoe Greening. She was first pictured wearing one of Zoe’s black slip dresses whilst being interviewed about her latest album in Stockholm. Images of her in the dress were posted on MTV’s Instagram account to their 2.7million followers.

She was then spotted wearing Zoe’s lace trimmed dress not once but three times! Firstly when leaving her Swedish hotel in it and then a couple of days later whilst getting ready for an event.  On Wednesday evening she was spotted in it again this time at a basketball game in Berlin and she posted an Instagram picture of her wearing the dress whilst holding the NBA trophy.

Lady Gaga is a champion of young design talent and is often photographed wearing LCF student and alumni designs.

The dresses were part of Zoe’s collaborative collection with BA (Hons) Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear alum Faye van Andel and featured in the BA14 catwalk show.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty to be curated by LCF Chair in Fashion Curation

LCF Chair in Fashion Curation and Senior Curator of fashion at the V&A, Claire Wilcox is curating Savage Beauty, the exhibition of the work of Alexander McQueen.

Having previously been named the Costume Institute‘s most popular exhibition ever, after having a sell-out run at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of art in 2011, the exhibition is soon to come to London, with a room dedicated to McQueen’s years in the city, as well as the original line-up showcased at the Met. The exhibition will present concepts and themes central to McQueen’s work throughout his career and will capture the dramatic staging and sense of spectacle synonymous with his runway shows.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty runs from 14 March – 19 July 2015.