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Students taking over the IJL catwalk reveal the role of jewellery in fashion today

Zhixue Xie LR

In a show first, International Jewellery London has collaborated with Graduate Fashion Week to present collections from six talented graduates as it aims to further inspire retailers and offer an overview of the high street trends for 2020.

The designers, who are all alumni of the 2019 GFW event, will have their work introduced by the president of the Graduate Fashion Foundation (the charity behind GFW), Hilary Alexander.

GFW is the leading international event for fashion graduates and is a showcase for the imagination and design innovation — shaping the way fashion works as well as looks.

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The graduates showcasing work at IJL will be: Hannah Stote and Holly Bryant from Bath Spa University, Allison Orr, Zhixue Xie and Lingshan Fan from the University of Central Lancashire, and Laura Collins of Liverpool John Moores university.

Ahead of the show, five out of the six graduates discussed their designs with us and shared their views on the role of jewellery within fashion today.

Hannah Stote, winner of the GFW Catwalk Knitwear Award, will be presenting a series of knitwear pieces in washed out, pastel tones that are a modern take on the traditional fisherman gansey. With her combination of chunky knits and lighter lace, she hopes her pieces will be perceived as timeless and trans-seasonal to oppose the wasteful attitude of fast fashion. Her desire for a sustainable outlook extends to jewellery as she states: “Jewellery is designed to be loved and cherished, passed down generations as an heirloom — this is something I would love for my clothes to embody.” On the IJL catwalk she hopes the team will pair the look with delicate and thoughtful jewellery that complements the soft, romantic feel of the collection.

Holly Bryant has assembled a collection based on the rough workwear of World War Two paratroopers and the complex geometric patterns of dazzle ships. Her clothes are made from broken parachutes and unwanted denim to fit her sustainable ethos. Bryant has selected a pair of earrings to match the print design and complement the colours. When asked about the role of jewellery in fashion, she responds: “The role of jewellery is very important whilst designing as it can really complement the outfit.”

Designer, Allison Orr, has taken the environmental theme a step further in her designs. She states: “Our oceans are slowly turning into a plastic soup concoction and the effects on the ocean life are chilling.” As a result she will be exhibiting six monochrome outfits made entirely from plastic bags, straws and sandwich bags. Her love of environmental symbolism does not stop at the garments, however, as her first outfit will be shown with a necklace crafted from plastic straws. “Straws are a very dangerous to sea life,” says Orr, adding: “So I used the straws to make a necklace to symbolise the way it’s choking our oceans creatures.” Orr describes the role of jewellery as being like adding icing to a cake as it finishes and a garment and completes an outfit.”

Elsewhere, Lingshan Fan will be bringing to the catwalk a series of bright, colourful garments inspired by the world of children’s toys. She cites her own experience with children and how quickly they go through toys as the basis of her designs. She calls for environmental awareness with her theme of reuse and in terms of jewellery says: “If the accessories are reasonable, it can make the work more complete and more appealing.” For the IJL show Fan would like to see jewellery that is “colourful and exaggerated, in accordance with the style” partnered with her designs.

The fifth graduate Laura Collins uses the ethos, “Aspire to be bold, comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable” when it comes to fashion and jewellery. For IJL se has created pieces influenced by the Bulgarian traditional ritual Kukeri, in which villagers try to scare away evil spirits in costumes made from fur, beads and feathers, accompanied by an animal mask. Discussing jewellery, she states: “When designing the role of the jewellery connects the ensemble and connects the full look to tell the story. Jewellery and accessories complete an outfit, it brings accents to a look and is the staple to the ensemble.”

The Graduate Fashion Week Catwalk will take place on September 2 at 3pm. GFW president Hilary Alexander will discuss the relevance of each design to 2020 fashion trends, while journalist Katherine Ormerod will highlight the hottest SS20 high street jewellery trends.

Article written by Olivia Garrett

Tags : GFWGraduate Fashion FoundationIJLInternational Jewellery London
Stacey Hailes

The author Stacey Hailes

Editor, Professional Jeweller

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