Each year, we invite a group of the industry’s most exciting influencers and content creators to join the Talent of Tomorrow official photoshoot. This year, seven influencers made their way to our shoot location on the rooftop of the Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, to be involved.
Between them, the influencers not only curate an exciting and diverse online presence, but each of them have a purpose behind their platform — whether that be to empower and support BAME youth, increase visibility of minority groups or simply to share their unique perspective and aesthetic with the world.
Below, meet the influencers in our one-on-one interviews, check out the looks they chose for the campaign, find out about the student designers behind their looks, and see our behind the scenes video from the shoot!
Victoria wears: Jasmine Farmer from Nottingham Trent University
Nottingham born Jasmine’s design expresses a feminine take on braille through female nostalgia. She explores the sensory elements of knitwear by creating intricate knit structures that reflect that of braille. Her final look consists of a statement pair of red trousers with exaggerated pleats in the waistband and an oversized fringe jumper with red, pink and pale blue fraying detail.
The contrast between both tailored and fluid elements elevates the sensory concept of the piece. Her main focus on modern femininity is demonstrated through the use of traditional female colours which have been used in a contemporary way through hard and soft contrasts of the knits. To inform her knit development, Jasmine drew inspiration from the textures in Ernesto Neto’s sensory exhibitions and Iwan Pol’s “Happy concrete” sculptures.
Sul wears: Katherine Jane Watts from University of Portsmouth
When digging around in her grandfather’s shed, Kate came across old nautical charts of the Blackwater Estuary that he used to navigate the network of saltmarshes and mudflats. These charts and Kate’s personal interested in the black waters and coastal marshes around the Essex/Suffolk coastline acted as inspiration for her printed fabrics. Kate’s collection reflects the essence of the sea by using materials that all have a connection with the sea.
Old life jackets, donated from Sealife, were combined with the sails her grandfather once used. To highlight the materials connection with the sea each pattern piece was carefully placed to draw the viewers’ attention to the unique marks of the sea. On the sails, the metal fittings have been corroded by salt water to demonstrate how time and life eventually pass but the sea and its tides remain resolute.
This plain sail material contrasted with the brightly coloured pockets made from life-jacket off-cuts creates a juxtaposition with the relative dullness of the jacket highlighting both the fun and the cruelty of the sea. The oversized fastenings were inspired by the zips used in sail covers and hooks used on boats. The machine embroidered straps and laser cut zip pullers incorporate words and drawings taken seen on life jackets to contrast the regulation of the safety equipment with the unpredictability of the sea.
Jade wears: Demi Hardy from Southampton Solent University
Demi’s colourful look was designed to depict a sense of rebellion against growing up and having to deal with both the responsibilities and realities of adult life. Her design expresses the young generation straddling the tough adult world, desiring the freedom that it offers, but still in need of the comforting protection of the parental home.
Emotionally expressed bold prints and slogans creating a voice of protestation, padded garments and oversized silhouettes embody a child in an adult world. Additionally, a sense of childlike chaos is communicated through vibrant colour, layering and interchangeable Perspex tags. Her lime green padded jacket is decorated with a personal expressionist scribble print representative of rebellious adolescence and the ultra-wide black cotton twill jeans show contrast with vibrant stitching and removeable statement Perspex tags.
Rachel wears: Venus Chen from University of Portsmouth
Chinese born Venus Chen was inspired by Pareidolia in the design process of her oversized jacket. Pareidolia is the phenomena of how people often make sense of random shapes to try and form a face. Chen found it interesting that the mechanisms of the human body, such as eyesight and visual perception will try to find the human in inanimate objects.
This is because our vision can trick our mind into imagining that we might be surrounded by other people even though we are not. As mental health and wellbeing issues are on the rise, particularly amongst young people, this fashion and textiles collection asks the viewer and wearer to question how we relate to each other and what we see as normal; is seeing faces in things a worry or an enjoyable part of being creative.
Chloe wears: Megan Grinham from Norwich University of The Arts
Megan’s inspiration behind this design was craftsmen and their uniforms; anything ranging from blacksmiths, to glassblowers. Therefore, there are lots of references to aprons, tool belts and hardware. In this design there are elements such as straps holding up one layer of trousers to reveal pockets underneath on another pair of trousers.
Her designs are often inspired my menswear shapes however they are made for women. Therefore, they are oversized. Megan’s designs occasionally have cut outs like the back of the jacket from this design to show the femininity of wearers. The garment itself is made from a variety of orange technical fabrics, including water proof and durable fabrics. It includes functional pockets and acrylic laser cut hardware.
Rashpal wears: Mikkel Kunze from University of West London
The inspiration of Mikkel’s designs comes from his design universe as 1COQ92. 1COQ92 is a cryptogram for incognito, due to the way you pronounce numbers in Danish. 1COQ92 was inspired by the rising trend of pervasive surveillance. Taking inspiration from the dark and rough idea of counter-surveillance, he developed the idea of being able to evade CCTV tracking. Looking at the idea of The Panopticon, a type of circular institutional building with a watchtower in the middle, intended as a system of controlling social behaviour designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham.
Mikkel has merged his contemporary prison research with Bentham‘s traditional theories of behaviour and from this created a new on trend tech-wear look. The inspiration for the prints are again based on the fact that the “watchtower” is tracking our identity and storing data about people’s most sacred value- their identity. Several prints are based on the notion of handing over your fingerprints to the authority when arriving in prison. Other prints like _C0P3NH463N 80RN (Copenhagen born) represent Mikkel himself in a code made with numbers, among a couple of statements written the same way.
Mercedes wears: Billie Rose Hart from University of East London
Billie’s two-piece suit took inspiration from the shapes of a 1960’s men’s blazer and 1950’s men’s slacks with the idea of recreating and modernising classic work-wear, originally designed for men, but for the modern working woman.
Inspiration for the collection was drawn from John Bulmer and Humphrey Spender’s photographs of Bolton and other ex-industrial towns in Lancashire between the 1940s and 1970s as well as her grandparent’s time working on the mills, mines and factories during these periods. The final collection, along with this piece, is dedicated to the industry still left in Yorkshire and Lancashire today whilst aiming to reimagining this in a way which is functional, durable and empowering for the modern woman.
Video by Llinos Peters and Katie Richardson
LOOK 1: Chelsea Flinn from University of Huddersfield. Worn by Rachael Sealy
Inspiration for Chelsea’s tailored boiler suit and collection began on the streets of East London in Shoreditch’s famous Brick Lane. The graffiti found in the busy and vibrant street helped to develop an exciting platform for this collection by encouraging the use of expressive prints within the designs.
Combined with the styling of the 80s hip hop era, with oversized garments and statement pieces seen on influential artists such as Tu Pac, MC Hammer and Slick Rick, formed the foundations of the boiler suit used in the Talent of Tomorrow shoot. Tying her interests in urban art and 80s hip hop, with the skills she learned on a placement year at TOG24 and a keen interest in styling, the final collection comes together to create a selection of inspirational urban wear with careful tailoring.
LOOK 2: James Siddons from Manchester School of Art. Worn by Rashpal Amrit
Born in the Rhubarb Triangle in Yorkshire, James drew inspiration from his hometown and his ability to investigate the mundane and ordinary and turn it into a whimsical element that subverts traditional concepts.
The journey between his home and university inspired the leather trousers and jacket, reflecting the landscape of the M62 which connects the cities of Manchester and Leeds. By drawing on his roots and using techniques which required a high level of skill, the collection and piece used in the Talen of Tomorrow shoot pulled together to tell a story of the British landscape.
LOOK 3: Chloe Bagge from Leeds Arts University. Worn by Victoria Magrath
Rather than using garments to conceal, Chloe’s collection celebrates the beauty of imperfections, through the creation of textile’s that emulate apparent ‘flaws’ found on the skin’s surface. Through the exploration of degenerative skin conditions, namely vitiligo and psoriasis, the garments in the collection aim to resemble a second skin that celebrates diversity and challenges the homogenous vision of the female form.
The work of artist Jenny Saville and her presentation of the un-airbrushed female form projected onto large canvases was another element of inspiration for the final pieces. By combining the above and embracing the concept of wabi-sabi, which in traditional Japanese aesthetics is a world view centred on the acceptance of transience and imperfection, the final collection aims to challenge established notions of beauty.
LOOK 5: Jessica Parsons from Birmingham City University. Worn by Chloe Street
Sustainability is at the core of Jessica’s collection and was driven by her passion for the subject. The idea behind the designs was to look into the effects of climate change and how this has caused our world to drastically change.
The focuses for creating the garments in the collection were to source waste fabric from industries, repurposing textiles and collecting sustainable materials as this is an important foundation for Jessica’s work. The materials used are a sustainable alternative to leather which were patchworked together using embroidery to create a larger piece of fabric. Impressively, no thread was cut in the making of the suit used in the shoot, making it sustainable with no wasted fabric or thread.
LOOK 6: Nid Matomela from University of Salford. Worn by Suleman Kudus
Born in South Africa before moving to Warrington, Nid drew inspiration from the initiation and rite of passage that he went through in South Africa aged 18. The main focus of inspiration comes from the traditions of the Xhosa where it is believed that to become and honourable man, one must go to the mountain to be initiated. This traditional initiation period was one of Nid’s own life experiences and taught him that it was important to carry your learnings and heritage throughout your life.
The process of achieving the white chalky print, inspired by the white ochre applied to the body during initiation, required large amounts of research as well as trial and error The tartan checks were based upon the blankets used as clothes during the ceremony yet were reconfigured and redefined to suit a modern era of dressing. The history and heritage of the Xhosa is carried through in this collection to tell a story and give representation of the designer’s own life experiences.
LOOK 7: Ellie Thomson from Edinburgh College of Arts. Worn by Jade Pearl
Ellie’s collection aims to promote longevity and sustainability within both the physical and psychological sphere and is centred around the fact that fashion is not just a visual practice but also an emotive and sensory one. The piece used in the shoot demonstrated the use of using recycled materials.
Exploring the theory of ‘Enclothed Cognition’ and taking inspiration from her own personal psychological associations, the collection investigated emotive connections within fashion and colour and how pattern can be harnessed to promote positivity. This collection aims to celebrate emotional connectivity within clothing so that people learn to love, care and cherish the clothes that they wear whilst promoting the longevity of fashion through emotive connection paired with the use of innovative and durable materials.