Last week, the Royal College of Art graduate show came to a close in a mass of graffiti, knit, pop-prints and sport luxe layers. The show was the culmination of a year of hard graft, late nights and vivid imagination, as well as being Professor Wendy Dagworthy's last show as she takes her final bow as Dean of the School of Material after sixteen years with the college.
“The most frantic moment was maybe when I coated fabric in silicon and all of the pattern pieces stuck together overnight,” recalls menswear designer Raj Mistry. “I found this out thirty minutes before I had a seamstress coming in to sew my garment. The whole class helped peel off all of the silicone. It was crazy but we got it done.” Mistry’s collection, which fuses urban sportswear with traditional tailoring was inspired by the diversity of local communities. “The cultural importance of sportswear. It reflects my childhood and teenage years, while the colour palette takes its lead from Luton football club’s orange, blue, white and black home jersey.”
“Laughter keeps you going. When you are barely sleeping, everything becomes pretty hilarious,” adds Emma Hardstaff, whose iridescent collection of distorted figurines, cracked metallic and frothing tulle was inspired by the idea of an “exploded silhouette… huge flat patterns that transform through the use of elastic into oversized yet defined garments. A soft extravagance.”
“Laughter keeps you going. When you are barely sleeping everything becomes pretty hilarious” — Emma Hardstaff
Meanwhile Alex Benekritis cites R Kelly’s Bump n' Grind (Waze and Odyssey remix) as a class motivator. Benekritis’ collection of embellished and roughened tailoring sought inspiration from the imperial ambitions of China and Africa. “I tried to explore tribal influences in a contemporary way, and deconstruct military garb with primitive sensibility," he explains. “The most soul destroying moment was making my giant two-layer black leather overcoat. Due to its massive size and weight it was a feat of strength to physically stitch it. I still shudder when I think about inserting the sleeves.” Here AnOther present an Instagram timeline which documents the fast-paced artistry and student comradeship over the past year.
Text by Mhairi Graham