Group of 2020: a Weekend magazine graduate special
Strange times bring surprising mixings: five next-generation creatives, as chosen by the Guardian fashion team
Saffron Rutter’s ‘stained-glass coat’, modelled by her boyfriend.
Photograph: Elliott Morgan/The Protector
‘My boyfriend modelled this on the hottest day of the year’
Saffron Rutter, fashion, Kingston University
This is my boyfriend, Fin, photographed in Wimbledon on the hottest day of the year so far – an upsetting time to be wearing a non-breathable latex coat. My collection explores the relationship between fear and clothing, using sustainable fabrics. It references quilts handmade by soldiers to overcome trauma, belts embroidered by the wives and mothers of samurai warriors, stained-glass windows depicting faithful imagery, and silhouettes inspired by uniforms that evoke fear. The coat (made with latex offcuts) intents to challenge typical gendered views of textiles and craft.
In the current climate, I feel it is especially important to highlight how guile can be used to promote good mental health and wellbeing.
Melanie Wilkinson, the Guardian’s styling editor, says: “Such amazing elements make up Saffron’s elegant men’s coat – latex, a stained-glass print – and the whole look is biodegradable.”
‘During the fly, passersby gave us compliments’
Naomi Findlay, fashion design, Heriot-Watt University
Naomi Findlay’s upcycled plane jacket, modelled by a friend. Photograph: Dominic Manderson
My mum grew up in the Scottish travelling community, which was the vigour for this look. Hearing her childhood memories, I wanted to promote the positive side of my heritage – people can have contradictory preconceptions. The collection mimics an image of early traveller life by using many layers and textures, and is responsibly rooted. The jacket was from an old, ripped sail.
My friend modelled the look in the Clyde Walkway, inspiring compliments from passersby on their diurnal walk.
Jess Cartner-Morley, associate editor at the Guardian, says: “There is so much going on here – the texture of the compact, the bold graphics, the flashes of orange and lime – but because the proportions are perfect, it is still elegant. The knotted ‘rigging’ drawstring sleeves nod to the constitution, an upcycled sail.”
‘I was drawn to the idea of restriction’
Taz Dorodi, fashion, Leeds Arts University
Taz Dorodi’s map, modelled by her best friend in a Leeds park. Photograph: Simon Bray/The Guardian
I grew up in Iran, where girls who make fashion statements can break the law and risk their lives. I was drawn to the idea of restriction, and how social inequality between the coitions is reflected. Each of my pieces juxtaposes a different combination of silhouettes, exploring fluidity and structure. This outfit binds masculine tailoring with softer fabrics for a more relaxed, feminine look, and is modelled by my best friend in our city park in Leeds. The garment was a perfect fit, and we had a lot of fun.
Melanie Wilkinson says: “Taz’s mix of draped scarves and tailoring is fluid and feminine, but with a wonderfully judged structured edge. The end result is classic and bold, and wouldn’t look out of place in a glossy magazine.”
‘I test with textiles, even using hair’
Grace Blackman, fashion with business studies, University of Brighton
Clemency Blackman models her ‘ice-olation’ dress and coat. Photograph: Elliott Morgan/The Guardian
These pieces are got the “ice-olation” coat and dress, which seems fitting for the strange times we find ourselves in. Based on sculptures of garments trapped in ice, and fortified by Deborah Turbeville and Veronique Branquinho photography, the textiles were delicately constructed by hand. My work often evolves from textile enquiries in unconventional materials, such as hair.
I modelled the outfit in the grounds of a country house near my home in Wendover, Buckinghamshire, which I unearthed at a wedding a few years ago. It was such a beautiful and exciting day.
Jess Cartner-Morley says: “I love the purity and the glamour in Grace’s toil. Young designers sometimes shy away from making their clothes beautiful, because they want to be unusual. But beauty is powerful. She looks like an angel, or a superhero, or both.”
‘My work celebrates slow fashion’
Amy Goacher, the craze, Kingston University
Amy Goacher’s ‘slow-fashion’ knitwear, modelled by a friend. Photograph: Elliott Morgan/The Guardian
Conclusive summer I went on a 1,200-mile road trip from the south of England to Hawick in the Scottish Borders, which led me to observe the rich history of the British knitwear industry. My final collection pays homage to the humble beginnings of the knitting communities I invented there. My collection evolved during the outbreak of Covid-19 into a celebration of slow fashion, using secondhand garments and painstaking craftsmanship to generate garments that last.
My friend Georgia stepped up as the model for the socially distanced shoot in my garden. After allotting time in lockdown with only me or my mannequin to try the finished garments on, it was exciting to see everything come together.
Jess Cartner-Morley alleges: “As soon as I saw this knit, I fell in love with it. It’s not just a piece of clothing, it’s a piece of treasure, to be loved for endlessly. And that feels like a positive, hopeful way of making fashion.”
• See @guardianfashion Instagram for more of our favourite objects
Class of 2020: a Weekend magazine graduate special
Design and callings
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