Recently returned from a three month trip around America, Megan Evans, is ready to enter the industry. As the winner of the YKK Accessories Award at Graduate Fashion Week 2017, her garments have been on display in the YKK showrooms in Shoreditch. The colourful embroidery and artistic illustration on the pieces makes seeing them up close, worthwhile the trip to East London. Her thirst and energy for fashion, art, design and sports is clear, and contagious. We caught up with the emerging designer to hear her thoughts about the changing industry, where her future lies and carving a space for art and fashion to collide.
“I want to experience all of the wonderful sides of fashion. Without knowing my accessories became a big part of my style, I am low key obsessed with accessories, skinny dip being my favourite brand right now on the high street, I would like to work for an accessory brand with a lot of fun with their designs and fashion forward in an unique way.“
As an award winner, Megan found the experience “rather crazy. I went into GFW with an open mind and of course relief that I made it to end, hallelujah! When I arrived, the attention that my collection brought definitely made me feel at ease and that I was going in the right direction. When you are working so hard in your last year, one of the end goals is GFW so it was great that mine ended like it did.”
Megan hopes to in the future to “share ideas and become an influencer to the younger generation” yet appears that she is already achieving this goal. Whilst stateside, Megan spent ten weeks teaching fashion design to a range of children, introducing basic sewing skills to those that hope to be the next generation in the industry. With fond past memories of attending GFW in previous years, “I always loved going to GFW, in my first and second year, it’s a great place to get inspiration and understanding of how the industry works” her journey has been one of being inspired and providing the inspiration for others “it was also great that I could be that bit of inspiration this time around. Winning the award made me speechless to say the least.”
With a graduate collection inspired by the sporting act of rock climbing, it seems natural that activewear and athletic fashion feels like the next step. A easily relatable attachment to the everyday comfort of sportswear makes her designs approachable and wearable.
“I wear activewear and sportswear as part of my day to day so I could definitely see myself designing activewear, in a lot of cases when I design I like to bring a sporting element whether it’s just fastenings like my collection or technical fabric used. Plus who doesn’t love looking fashionable and comfortable at the same time, dream collaboration!
I’m also a big sneaker head or how ever the Americans call it. While traveling around America I took the opportunity in New York to finally get to go into big sneaker stores like Kith, Fight Club and Nike Lab, as New York is where the sneaker subculture began.”
Fashion and style is an expression of culture, and Megan’s designs participate and represent several subcultures, both the rise of illustration on garments, and using a technical approach to make clothes tread a line of multi-functionalism. When asked her thoughts about the rise of collaborations between artists and designers, Megan has some succinct ideas for how the disciplines can enhance each other.
“I personally love the transition between fashion and art on the catwalk, it makes it exciting to watch as you never know how it’s going to turn out. It’s also great source of inspiration, seeing how designers get to that conclusion through art- it can open doors for your own work. Fashion has become functional also, for example Louis Vuitton and Jeff Koons second instalment collaboration, combines both functionalism and art, as the bags are traditional and wearable. I think creating a graduate collection you need to figure out what that "something new" is and art is always a great path to follow to make something creative and beautiful in fashion."
Every graduate that comes through Graduate Fashion Week, has their own perspective and method for succeeding. When asked what advice Megan would give to an upcoming graduate, perhaps feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of designing a collection and competing to show it at GFW18, Megan offers some sound advice on pursuing your ideas.
“Always follow your gut is something I believe in when studying fashion, everyone has their own opinions in fashion on what’s good or bad/right or wrong, its what makes it so exciting and cut throat but once you understand your style it will make you as a designer, that key feature that makes you stand out, you never want to regret a decision that just isn’t you, it’s so much extra work if you’re having to be something you’re not that’s a job in itself. Also to take a BREAK, when you are studying the work load can literally make you feel like you're drowning (all been there) but having one chill evening can make a world of difference, or even a cocktail….. or two”
Words by Annabel Waterhouse-Biggins
Photography by Emilie Canteloupe