Sixty years of fashion excellence at Northumbria University was celebrated in style at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art when students unveiled their catwalk collections at this year’s Graduate Fashion Show.
The fashion elite, including media and industry professionals on the hunt for new talent, were in attendance as 58 of Northumbria’s students showcased three years of hard work, with their creative collections taking inspiration from sources as diverse as Catholicism, sustainability and the circus.
Staged at BALTIC on Wednesday 13 May, the University’s show takes place each year ahead of Graduate Fashion Week in London with the best collections picked to represent the region at the end of May. Northumbria’s BA (Hons) Fashion is celebrating its sixth decade of academic excellence this year and has an established reputation at Graduate Fashion Week, where the University’s students have won over 40 awards in the last five years, including New Designer of the Year, the Fashion Innovation Award and, for the last three years running, the Ethical Award.
This year’s catwalk show at BALTIC included Carlisle born Annie McKie and Victoria Barwood from Barnard Castle whose collections have already been selected to feature in a special edition of Vogue this spring.
Annie McKie’s exploration of sustainability in high-end fashion caught the eye of Vogue fashion writers with her menswear collection made out of reclaimed tents from Ebay. The simple but powerful collection is inspired by geometric structured shapes, tents and boat sails, creating a striking, durable and functional line-up.
Over in womenswear, County Durham-based Victoria’s stand-out designs also caught interest due to contrasting themes of Catholicism and the Circus inspired by Italian film director Fellini.
The emphasis on craftsmanship at the University was showcased by Whitley Bay-born Billie Toole whose finely made menswear collection based on 40’s America features fine knitting and premium pattern cutting.
Key figures from the fashion world, business and industry, and education turned out to see collections from the designers of the future, with the likes of Barbour, Topshop and Dr Marten’s sitting on the front row alongside world famous catwalk photographer Chris Moore and Northumbria University Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Andrew Wathey.
Fashion’s 60th anniversary celebrations continued into the evening with a drinks reception on the River Terrace and an exclusive commemorative dinner in the Level 5 viewing gallery hosted by Professor Wathey, where guests were able to view a selection of catwalk images from each decade provided by honorary graduate and iconic photographer Chris Moore.
Janine Hunt, Director of Fashion at Northumbria, said: “There is always so much energy that goes into the Catwalk show, it really is a celebration of the students’ achievements. It’s the culmination of years of hard work from our talented students and it’s fantastic that this year we’re also celebrating our 60th birthday.
“The course has become stronger each decade thanks to the focus we place on running a studio culture where craftsmanship is valued, intellectual freedom encouraged and creativity nurtured and through the years we have amassed an impressive list of alumni and supporters. The show at the BALTIC and Graduate Fashion Week acts as a platform for the students entering the world of employment and our course is watched carefully by industry partners each year.”
Now in its 60th year, Northumbria’s award-winning BA (Hons) Fashion course is renowned for the calibre of its business-ready graduates, with 97% of last year’s students in full-time employment within six months of graduating. The University has a hugely impressive portfolio of alumni graduates employed internationally with renowned global brands such as Lanvin, Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Alexander McQueen, Worth Global Style Network, Concepts Paris, Nike and L'Oreal. ~
To find out more about Fashion at the University, register for Northumbria’s Open Days on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 June at www.northumbria.ac.uk/openday
Northumbria is a research-rich, business-focussed, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. To find out more about our courses go towww.northumbria.ac.uk