i-am-chen’s Autumn Winter 2018 collection did not disappoint, flawlessly fusing unconventional knitwear techniques and wearable comfort.
After dropping out of university as an engineering student in China, Zhi Chen pursued her dream of fashion. Beginning with a scholarship to the Parsons School of Design in New York, Chen then continued her studies at the London College of Fashion in 2017 receiving a distinction.
Chen embraces every aspect of her education, using advanced knitwear machines for every one of her pieces, resulting in precision and efficiency. Even with the machine’s specificity, i-am-chen is able to create unusual, almost Matisse-style shapes in the delicate garments.
While her previous collections used offbeat materials, this show incorporated wool and cashmere, delivering comfortable and luxurious knitwear that is ready to wear. Chen’s unorthodox approach to design was instead demonstrated in the playfulness of the colours, accessories and silhouettes. Brightly coloured tights, eccentrically shaped handbags and vintage inspired cuts, all deliver explosive yet polished ensembles.
i-am-chen’s enduring dedication to intricately-constructed, whimsical collections have once again paid off, inspiring an eternal sense of childish playfulness.
Beaded headwear that looked like chandeliers dazzled the crowd as Ones To Watch designer, Susan Fang showcased her AIRWAVE Autumn/Winter 18 collection. Drifting down the runway were light, lilac tulle overlay skirts while caged colour blocked skirts created a striking contrast.
Susan explores the interaction of the body with her clothing by weaving long strips of various textiles to form her garments. A skirt and a long black satin coat, paired with yellow and burgundy ruffle trousers exemplify her approach to design and the human form.
A long all-white ruffled dress was in the spotlight with its’ innovative design catching the audience’s attention. It was reminiscent of a deconstructed wedding dress with gorgeous ruffling down the front, and fabric gathered at neck to form a halo at the collar. This showcased the interdimensional elements of the fabric that glided along the marble floors as she experimented with silhouettes.
In 2015, Susan’s Central Saint Martins graduate collection was highly credited and was featured in Dazed, The Evening Standard and Dezeen.
Maddie Williams’ AW18 collection eloquently explores social, political and environmental issues in today’s world, with conceptual and striking designs.
After graduating from the University of Edinburgh last year, Maddie went on to win two awards at Fashion Scout’s Graduate Fashion Week: the Catwalk Textiles Award and the coveted Dame Vivienne Westwood Ethical Award. Her continued enthusiasm to construct fun and avant-garde eco fashion has, once again, captivated everyone watching.
Maddie’s collection combines modern, youthful style with non-conformist materials. She showed us bubble skirts embellished with ruffled and frayed plastic stripes and transparent plastic bomber jackets filled with strips of plastic and wool.
Williams’ designs also uncover a more socio-political meaning through the experimentation with proportion. She gives us highly structured and exaggerated silhouettes, inspired by ancient fertility figures which glorify the form of the female body.
Maddie William’s continued devotion to using fashion as a conduit for raising awareness of socio-political and environmental topics has certainly caught the attention of the fashion industry, and this collection cements her place as a pioneer in this field.
Words by Laura Cawdron and Ellie Pinder
Photography by Nicholas Kristiansen