Last year, second year Fashion Art Direction students from Manchester School of Art were tasked with creating and shooting an editorial using the graduate collections from across the UK. Given a month to source garments from two different graduates, interpret their designs and creating a cohesive editorial, the project armed the MSA students with crucial skills as budding stylists, photographers and creative directors.
“We try and encourage students to think about themselves as early career practitioners, the sooner they start developing links outside of the university the better,” says Anze Ermenc, a stylist, creative director and course lecturer at Manchester School of Art. “We spotted an opportunity and a need for students to step outside of their comfort zone of working with people they already know.”
Below, five students share their final results and the concept-led stories behind them.
Jessica Lythgoe with “Angel From the North”
“My publication was created in effort to bridge the gap between my interest in fashion and my home town, Wigan. Wigan is an industrial town that is still cemented in its old fashioned ways and can sometimes feel disconnected from the advancing cities surrounding it.
Since moving to Manchester to study Fashion Art Direction, I have been attempting to reconnect with the town through taking a series of documentary photos which are incorporated alongside the imagery of the graduates collections.
My specialism is collage and I wanted to incorporate this in the publication, the inspiration for this was 80's/90's tacky diary entries, exploring exaggerated feeling and emotion. “
Ella Kenneally with “Conflicting Spaces”
“I began by looking into post-war Brutalist architecture and found that Brutalist structures tend to give a monolithic feel, appearing as if they were carved from a single, concrete block; almost imposing and fortress like.
I was thinking about how I could create this illusion by grouping and layering my models and think of them to be carved from one block of stone. Through simple moments of connection between models and surfaces, it further emulates the structural support and the distribution of weight found in brutalist work.
I wanted to keep my shoot stripped and raw, focusing on the garments and surfaces around them, and how the textures contrast with each other. With this in mind, I chose two collections that are very different. For example, Catherine Denniss’ collection has strong workwear and utilitarian style influences, whereas Courtney Howard’s collection holds softer more decorative features.
This contrast is what inspired me to further explore the idea of conflicting spaces, looking at the contrasting colours, prints and textures within both collections and how I could inter-style these in relation to the setting.”
Natalie Fay with “We’ve Lost the Fantasy”
“We've lost the fantasy is a collaborative project highlighting the struggles of young fashion graduates. My inspiration came from the idea that being in a creative field is often looked down upon. Nowadays you have to back everything up with facts, putting a limit on creativity.
More noticeably than ever, creative subjects are being labelled as ‘soft’ university subjects, a waste of time to study, and degrees that will almost certainly not lead to employment after graduation. Society has forgotten that, without such studies, we instantly close our minds to the sensitive and intensely human world of originality.
As part of this editorial, I interviewed recent graduates from universities across the UK asking a variety of questions about how they feel working in fashion and what do they want to see an advance in the industry. The images were supported through various quotes from the designers which highlighted their honesty and feedback on being in the workforce, illustrating the obstacles that can often get in the way.
Charlotte Brownhill with “Modern Goddess”
The project was focused on a modern idealisation of 'The Immaculate Heart of Mary.' I was originally researching into religious figures for inspiration for a shoot and came across one of the most popular Marian devotions in the Catholic Church today and thought it would be an interesting topic to focus on.
I wanted to recreate a modern image of that devotion, however focusing on a main religious figure and their attributions on what makes them recognisable, in this case i have focused on Mary.
I wanted to shoot this on film, to show the contrast between the old and the modern.
Melanie Drinnan with “Take Carrie to The Prom, I Dare You”
My concept for the shoot was a very, cliche 80's prom — think Carrie, Footloose, and Rachel and Monica in the Friends flashbacks. I wanted the modern twist to come from the styling, very over the top blusher and a ridiculous amount of hair clips.
Kate Clark’s garments were amazing, voluminous sleeves, and all the teddies inside brought the 80s kitsch vibes I was after!