What’s inside a handbag designer’s handbag?

Handbags have been big news in fashion for nearly forever and are undoubtedly the must have accessory for any aspiring style icon. You’ve probably come across gorgeous pictures that give you a glimpse into various fashionistas’ handbags on blog sites across the web.

But what about those who design the bags that so many of us treasure and lust after? LCF News were intrigued to find out what our bag and accessories designers carry around with them. The peek we got into their world shows the creative lives they lead, and may also give you some inspiration for what type of bag should sit on your arm (or shoulders) next! Or maybe they’ll even get you ready to start sketching out your own dream bag…

April’s bag: the sophisticated backpack

Inside April's bag, 2nd year student on BA (Hons) Cordwainers Fashion Bag and Accessories. Photo: Emmi Hyyppä, MA Fashion Photography.

Inside April’s bag, 2nd year student on BA (Hons) Cordwainers Fashion Bag and Accessories. Photo: Emmi Hyyppä, MA Fashion Photography.

2nd year BA (Hons) Cordwainers Fashion Bag and Accessories student April Huitong Mai made this super sleek rucksack in her first year on the course. It really shows that backpacks aren’t just for school kids any more, in fact, they’re for clued up fashion students who are already making a professional impression! Super soft black leather is contrasted with ecru hide and inside April carries all the tools of her trade: her sketchbook, essential leather crafting tools, notebooks and leather samples as well as the all important student ID and Oyster card.

Fashion blogger Heidi’s pattern happy tote

Inside Heidi's bag, 2nd year student on BA (Hons) Cordwainers Fashion Bag and Accessories. Photo: Emmi Hyyppä, MA Fashion Photography.

Inside Heidi’s bag, 1st year student on BA (Hons) Cordwainers Fashion Bag and Accessories. Photo: Emmi Hyyppä, MA Fashion Photography.

We love 1st year student Heidi Petitjean’s rainbow colour coordination. Who would have thought the inside of a bag could be so much fun! Heidi’s got her mini toolkit, rainbow felt tips for design thoughts on the go, and some seriously pop accessories: popcorn phone cover, burger lollipop and burger sunglasses. Heidi also told us that her plectrum collection is important to her – not only are they lucky charms but they’re her next piece of inspiration for a super rainbow box bag bejewelled with hundreds of them!  Also, Heidi carries her business card to never miss an opportunity, linking to her very cool blog.

Max’s bag: natural textures

Inside Max's bag, 2nd year student on BA (Hons) Cordwainers Fashion Bag and Accessories. Photo: Emmi Hyyppä, MA Fashion Photography.

Inside Max’s bag, 2nd year student on BA (Hons) Cordwainers Fashion Bag and Accessories. Photo: Emmi Hyyppä, MA Fashion Photography.

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Behind the scenes at MA15 Womenswear

Once again we’ve brought you a sneak peek from behind the scenes of our catwalk show, this time from MA15 Womenswear. Check out all the mayhem from backstage and on the runway in the video below.

The Money Debate: Designing Alternative Values

On 19th March, LCF will be hosting a debate focusing on money, its influence upon our decisions, creativity and wider issues of sustainability. In this digital age where new forms of currency are tweeted, posted or exchanged in moments, this may well prove to be a key moment for the creative industry and economic system.

money pic

Image from BA (Hons) Fashion Photography ‘zine project

In light of this exciting event, LCF News asked MA Fashion Futures student Rachael Taylor, who will also be leading this debate, to give us her views and tell us how this affects the fashion industry…

RT: In the 21st century we are entering a time when cash is no longer king, pounds are changing form into bits, bytes and things. Possessions are being swapped into spaces that build relationships and a social currency is creating moments of exchange. The monetary moving from physical to digital, virtual worlds enabling personal and collective actions subject to need.

Money is central to our everyday lives and choices which can result in positive and negative consequences. The future of money and creation of alternatives is the subject of debate. A shift is emerging in new concepts for finance and economy, bringing with it possibilities and opportunities as designers. This was evident at the V&A Museum: Money No Object Series in 2014 and work of Patrick Stevenson-Keating, participating in the current Design Museum Designers Residence: Disruption.

Social media has expanded the collaborative consumption movement to a global platform for sharing, renting and swapping. Localism in the form of Brixton pounds has enabled small businesses growth and connected communities with local heritage, visualised on every pound. Social networks and digitisation are creating virtual currencies; VEN and Bitcoin are used by members of hub culture for purchasing goods and services. In fashion a social currency where tweets using a hashtag act as forms of payment. (Truong 2014) at Fast Company reported on Daisy Marc Jacobs Tweet Shop, customers paid for samples and other products by posting on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Design offers an ability for creativity and imagination to provide alternative opportunities for how fashion is consumed and distributed. Depending on what lenses you look, how this is framed could be the difference between; life becoming a commodity or creating a better world.

As part of my Final Major Project for MA Fashion Futures, I am designing a series of alternative systems and exchanges. The first part of this series will be The Money Debate: Designing Alternative Values, to be held at London College of Fashion. This will act as a design intervention to create dialogue around the concepts of money, selected speakers will offer knowledge upon how they put into practice new systems of exchange. This will bring attention to alternative possibilities within the design process, innovative approaches using different modes of exchange and evolving systems. When situated with sustainability this provides creative opportunities for using digital, physical and social currency as a way of widening an inclusive freedom of choice, that being central to building a sustainable world.

The Money Debate: Designing Alternative Values will take place on 19th March at 6.30pm.

Green Week discussion: Does Fashion Need Nature?

On Friday February 13th, students studying International Preparation for Fashion, a foundation course based at LCF’s Mare Street campus, hosted a discussion titled “Does Fashion Need Nature?” for national Green Week.

Jenna Walters, BA (Hons) Fashion Styling and Photography 2014 http://showtime.arts.ac.uk/JennaWalters

Jenna Walters, BA (Hons) Fashion Styling and Photography 2014 http://showtime.arts.ac.uk/JennaWalters

The event began with a video that featured speakers sharing their experience in sustainable fashion. First was Rachel Clowes, an alumni from the MA Fashion Futures course (formerly known as MA Fashion and the Environment). She stressed the importance of understanding sustainability holistically – not just in terms of fabrics and textiles, citing the importance of transportation emissions, worker conditions and product longevity. Read the rest of this entry »

LCF Alumni star in London Fashion Week AW15

Not a girl, not yet a woman – Ryan Lo presents his first solo runway show

Not a girl, not yet a woman – Ryan Lo presents his first solo runway show. Image: Dan Sims

On Thursday 19th February LCF kicked off London Fashion Week AW15 by celebrating the class of 2015 with the MA15 Womenswear show at The Wallace Collection. And then, after a ferocious five days of model dressing, seating plans and photographer flashes, London Fashion Week came to a close and the fashion crowd moved on to Milan.

LCF featured prominently this season, with alumni talent showing across all five days, not only with catwalk shows, but also in the Somerset House presentation and showroom displays. Whilst the fashion designers are making a name for themselves on the catwalks, LCF’s alumni filled the rows at shows working as journalists and buyers, or working hard behind the scenes as hair and make-up artists, pattern cutters and PRs.

BA (Hons) Fashion Design Techology Menswear alum J.W. Anderson’s power-dressing collection harked back to the silhouettes of the 80s with the catwalk itself reminiscent of an 80s office interior, and the garments giving off a distinct ‘Working Girl’ vibe. However, the designer took a softer and more elegant approach to the trend that has been reinterpreted many times, with Vogue suggesting that:

“The underlying ugliness of those eighties shapes (that we all remember) was nixed with the help of Anderson’s light touch, and his love for long-line silhouettes.” adding, “It was a slam-dunk lesson in making nostalgia feel relevant and elegant.”

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LCF Careers Competition

Studying at LCF and currently on a placement? We would love to see what you’ve been getting up to and get an inside look at what a student placement looks like from the inside.


With that in mind we have teamed up with LCF careers to give you the chance to win a £30 voucher! All you have to do is get snapping as many awesome pictures as possible from behind the scenes on your placement (with you manager’s permission of course), post to Instagram and use the hashtag #LCFCareers.

Each week, until 18th March, we will be choosing the best picture. So get snapping and show us your experience behind the scenes of those big fashion brands or creative studios.

UK launch for new perspectives on fashion business growth in India


Presentation by MA Strategic Fashion Marketing student Disha Jain

The LCF International team and fashion business academics have been working to make connections between the UK and India. As part of the UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI), supported by the British and Indian government, students and teachers at LCF have been collaborating with students and teachers in India to develop new strategies for the fashion industry there.

Now their efforts which have seen LCF students buddy up with students from Pearl Academy to research and present new business proposals in India, and three years’ worth of research and relationship building have to come together in a new publication, Global Fashion Skills Collaborative Networks UK/ India perspectives: Case Study and Research for Future Business Growth.

Having launched in India in September, the book also saw industry leaders and researchers from LCF come together to celebrate its UK based launch.

With three years of experience fresh in her mind, LCF’s Sarah Atkinson spoke about the challenges of collaborative projects and went on to introduce the audience to the new publication.

She was joined by fashion consultant, Martin Newberry, who teaches on the Executive MBA (Fashion) at LCF, who presented his research into how UK retailers view Indian manufacturers. Also speaking was Karen Dennison, former Principal of the Fashion Retail Academy, providing her insight into the up skilling of the industry. A key mission of the new publication is to address the skills gap in India that needs to be covered in order for fashion retail to thrive.

Karen reflected on the launch:

“The UKIERI event was very well organised with speakers who were right on the button with current thinking. The level of questioning and debate was highly stimulating. Exactly the type of session needed by the sector at present – the more minds put to the development of vocational education and the more good practice shared the better for the sector.”

MA Strategic Fashion Marketing student Disha Jain presented her exploration of successful marketing communication and localisation strategies by international luxury brands in India, whilst Associate Professor at Pearl Academy Anjuna Parasha Dhir presented the Indian perspective on the project. Assistant Lecturer at Pearl Academy, Dilpreet Kaur, explored the retail merchandising gaps in the Indian market.

  • Photography: Bryan Lanas

LCF Panel Debate discusses Positive Psychology in Fashion

London College of Fashion’s Better Lives series drew to a close on last week, with a panel discussion on the positive psychology in fashion.

Chaired by Dr Phil Sams, the panel included; Dr Carolyn Mair (Reader in Psychology at LCF); Prof. Frances Corner (Head of LCF), Dr Tom Lomas (Lecturer at UEL, MSc Applied Positive Psychology); Dr Itai Ivtzan (Program Leader at UEL, MSc Applied Positive Psychology); and Zowie Broach (Head of Fashion at the Royal Academy of Art, founder of Boudicca fashion house). Dr Phil Sams introduced the debate with a definition of positive psychology:

“It’s widely regarded in psychology that we have a base line of “ok-ness”, most psychology focuses on those who are below the base line, and attempting to get them up to the “ok” line. Positive psychology says there is a world beyond this, and this series has focused on how fashion can get us there.”

Tim Lomas followed on from Sams, explaining:

“There is a strong link between mental well being and whether society enables or hinders our self expression”

Fashion, as Tim described, is an important tool for self-expression:

“Fashion can allow us to find a sense of meaning by expressing ourselves through our clothing, and, therefore, can positively impact our well being.”

Frances Corner elaborated on fashion’s role within positive psychology, explaining, clothing can be used as a tool for tackling problems with which the fashion industry is often associated:

“Everyone has to wear clothes, and everyone is entitles to wear beautiful clothes whatever their size or ability, we could use the fun and frivolous side of fashion to take on, and develop solutions to, ethical problems within the fashion industry.”

Zowie Broach agreed with Corner’s statement and, after showing the political short film, ‘Nonlinear War’, by Adam Curtis, stated:

“We need to believe in the wonder and beauty of fashion, not just in capitalism.”

Itai Ivtzan described how one of the ways fashion can become multi-dimensional to the wearer, and transcend capitalism, is through spirituality and mediation:

“Meditation can pierce through the value of the things we think we need, if we step back from the immediate desire of ‘stuff’, which meditation can allow us to do, we can move away from this constant need to temporarily satisfy ourselves with new garments.”

Dr Carolyn Mair also reiterated that self-satisfying, selfish happiness was not what positive psychology encompassed:

“Positive psychology isn’t just about being happy, it’s much deeper than that. It’s about doing good for everybody, it’s not about individual selfish happiness.”

As the seminar drew to a close, Tom Lomas left the audience with his powerful statement on the power of fashion to drive change:

“The most damaging thing is to think that a situation can’t be changed or challenged, and we can challenge and change situations through fashion.”

Amy de la Haye behind the scenes at the Museum of the City of New York

Professor Amy de la Haye, Rootstein Hopkins Chair of Dress History and Curatorship and lecturer on the MA Fashion Curation, has been our ‘Curator-at-Large’ this week in New York. Amy is a Co-Director of the Centre for Fashion Curation.

Amy told us:

‘Today I flew into Manhattan and went to the Museum of the City of New York, where I had an appointment with Costume Curator Phyllis Magidson to see garments by Lucile.  She showed me a group of 4 evening dresses and a night dress dating from Spring/Summer 1921. They had been ordered from Lucile’s New York salon by Elma Lapp, who wore them no more than once or twice.

Her fiancé was killed during the war and it appears that this season she re-entered social life. However, she never married and preserved these exquisite garments for some 60 years before donating them to the museum.

They form a fascinating group that evidence one woman’s selection and are a tribute to the craft skills of Lucile’s couture workshops. Here is a detail of one of the dresses – a robe de style – and a close-up of the corsage. I was completely thrilled to see them.”

LCF student wins F.A.D competition at London Fashion Week

Juniper Lai and her winning designs

Juniper Lai and her winning designs

Juniper Lai, BA (Hons) Fashion Design Technology Menswear student, has been announced as the winner of the 14th annual Fashion Awareness Direct competition which took place on-schedule with Fashion Scout at London Fashion Week. With her technological approach to the brief, Juniper triumphed over the shortlisted sixteen students from universities nationwide and took home the £1000 prize.

Juniper’s winning menswear collection translated the ‘Physics Meets Fashion’ brief into an eye-catching range of oversized masculine garments centred around her fabric which was created using 3D sintering technology. This is the latest progression in 3D printing using lasers directed at points of a 3D structure to bind the material in areas to create a solid shape. Crisp white shirts were teamed with wide circular cut, cobalt blue dip dye shorts with ruched waist bands in a contrasting colour palette of monochrome.

Commenting on winning the prestigious competition, Juniper said:

I feel happy to have won the F.A.D competition, and honoured to have had the opportunity to show amongst other young talents. This gave me a great platform to showcase what I have been doing, an opportunity I couldn’t miss, so to win and represent LCF is wonderful.

Rob Phillips, Creative Director of the School of Design & Technology said:

This is a great win for Juniper and LCF. The F.A.D competition is a great platform and sends out a positive message to all young designers that are trying to get started in this industry.

Congratulations Juniper!

You can find some of the exciting coverage on Juniper’s win below:

Read more…

LCF alumni win big at the Oscars 2015

After their amazing BAFTA win for Best Makeup and Hair, LCF alumni Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier have gone on to win an Oscar for their involvement with Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel at this year’s Oscars 2015.

Frances and Mark, both alumni from BA (Hons) Hair, Make-up and Prosthetics for Performance, won the Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling at this week’s Oscar’s.

‘Chanel’s butterflies: the corsets, crinolines and bustles’ Fashion Curation Professor Amy de la Haye visits Syracuse University

Professor Amy de la Haye, Rootstein Hopkins Chair of Dress History and Curatorship and lecturer on the MA Fashion Curation, has been in New York this week lecturing at the Sue Ann Genet Costume Collection at Syracuse University.

Amy’s first lecture is ‘on Chanel’s butterflies: the corsets, crinolines and bustles’, and her second is ‘Objects of a Passion: Fashion in the context of the Museum.’ She says ‘Chanel is said to have pronounced that a woman should be a caterpillar by day and a butterfly at night. To date, curators and historians have tended to privilege the modernity and functionalism of her designs – the caterpillars. My talk focuses upon her lesser known romantic evening wear – her corseted, crinoline and bustled gowns’.

We at LCF News invited Amy to be our ‘Curator-at-Large’ in the big apple, giving us sneak peeks into what happens on the other side of the pond. Today she has met with Jeffrey Meyer in the Costume Collection, who collects Rootstein mannequins and American Patina mannequins, including the extremely rare seminal ‘Twiggy’ mannequin.