GSA Third Year Fashion Show

Feature by Nadine Walker | 03 Mar 2014

Glasgow School of Art’s internationally-acclaimed 3rd Year Fashion Show is set to showcase the collections of some of the most promising fashion students Scotland has to offer. This time, they will be showing the garments of Textile Design students along with outfits created by Fashion design students, one of The Glasgow School of Art's newest disciplines.

Catwalk shows will take place on Tuesday 4 March and Wednesday 5 March, where students will present garments that have explored the contemporary applications of lace in the creation stages. Head of Fashion and Textiles at GSA, Jimmy Stephen-Cran said of the inspirations behind 2014’s show: “We have identified a range of non-Western European traditions for the designers to work with this year,” adding, "These traditions have simple outer lines and large surface areas which maximise the textile content."

Renowned for impeccable talent and diversity, Glasgow School of Art’s 3rd Year Fashion Show has also challenged the young designers to look at the use and effects of colour, pattern and scale for their individual styling ideas.

Every designer in both Textiles and Fashion will be showing a mini collection of three outfits during the evening catwalk events. To produce their collections, the Textile design students have delved into the qualities and characteristics of the material, lace, which together link the four textile design pathways of embroidery, knit, print and weave. Each pathway of the faculty has explored specific geographical areas while embedding their focal point for their silhouettes. Print students have developed ideas from East and West African culture, particularly from the culture of the Maasai People of the East and the Masquerade rituals of the West. Knit have researched traditions in Peru and Ecuador. Weave embarked on the exploration of the 'thobe' (an ankle-length garment) in Palestine, and Embroidery have used Romanian design as a starting point. The Fashion Design students have however, have researched and examined the garments, artwork and traditions of the Inuit peoples (Yupik, Eskimo and Inupiat) as a starting point for creating their looks.

We were lucky enough to catch up with a few of the students ahead of the show. Print designer Ciaran Moore shows a keen interest in new and advancing technologies in textile printing and the qualities these techniques can achieve. Working with photography of paper sculptures and digital drawing, Moore creates work that explores new technologies and takes advantage of the aesthetic they can give.

Moore said: “For this collection I took inspiration from the shapes created by the formation of cities and the streets that connect these buildings.  Looking particularly at maps of Nairobi, I took images of the city streets that had formed and developed new perspectives and dimensions into them, which produced futuristic and graphic prints for menswear garments. I looked at city maps as an abstract form of lace, and created lace-like structures from them as part of my design development.”

Transforming silhouettes of the collection into modern takes on African tunics, Moore took the East and West African theme having being assigned the region as a reference point for garment shapes. Moore explains: “Digital prints by designers like Katie Eary, Agi & Sam and Christopher Kane are influential on my work, along with less established designers such as Astrid Andersen, Kokon To Zai and Juun J.”

Fashion student Jonathan Douglas created his collection around ‘an act of moving’ which conceptualises and translates the traditional perceptions of Inuit dress and lace into a contemporary, fashion-led language.

Douglas tells us: “Traditionally hunters and gatherers, the Inuit people migrate from one area to another according to the season. Their distinct dress is shaped by the core principle of functionality. However, with limited raw materials, their garments are often constructed in a naïve and simplistic manner."

He continues: “Lace’s long established connotations of excess, wealth and protection led to the term ‘military lace’ being first introduced by naval officers in 1748. The uniform of the most senior officers could be distinguished from their subordinates by the vast rope-like decoration on their chest, neck and arms,” adding: “The collection, with subtle undertones of migration and promotion, knots rope around oversized and layered silhouettes and becomes more exaggerated from look to look." Douglas was keen to “juxtapose rope’s functional nature, so the placement restricts traditionally decorated parts of the body, exploring the idea of functional materials constructed in a naïve way."

Knit designer Olivia Qi's collection is primarily inspired by architectural structures and cityscapes. This is manifested in her work as clean bold geometric lines. She said: "I carry this onto my fabrics through a selected choice of yarns." Adding: "By using cottons, I achieve the clean lines and smooth surfaces of burtalist architecture. This is combined with woven interlacements of leather stripes, which recreate the clean bold lines and varied textures of the city."

Chris Barton, who studies weave, has based his fabrics on the lace-like qualities of handwritten letters from friends and family. Barton said: "To me the act of weaving is a connection to my own past whether that is in the act of making or in the adornment of the object with both pattern and meaning." He had to put this in the given context of Palestinian dress traditions. He explained: "I found the religious depictions of the Holy Land the most engaging and this in turn led me to the richly adorned robes of the medieval church. The weaving of silks, wools, precious metals and gemstones have been combined with the simple nature of the traditional Middle Eastern thobe within my work."

This year’s headline sponsors, Dr. Martens Sauchiehall Street and Mandors, have helped provide vital support for this event. Dr. Martens Sauchiehall Street has kindly provided ten pairs of shoes for the student who'd like to include them in their mini collection (Chris Barton will be showing them as part of his).

Tickets for the 3rd Year Fashion Show priced at £10 (£7 for students) are now available online from Tickets Scotland and the Art School website. All profits raised will go towards enabling the students to showcase their work at London’s New Designers Exhibition following graduation in the summer of 2015.

The 3rd Year Fashion Show will no doubt shine a light on what Scotland’s newest fashion designers have to offer and with every chance of the audience seeing the next big thing, we can't wait!

4 & 5 March 2014 at 7pm and 9pm, The Art School, 20 Scott Street, Glasgow, G3 6PE

Tickets priced at £10 (£7 for students) are now available from, The Art School (the GSA student union) and in person at The Glasgow School of Art Shop, Dalhousie Street, Glasgow.