LONDON — As COVID-19 restrictions continue being lifted, the London College of Fashion’s graduate showcase is returning to a physical format at central London’s Victoria House basement from July 8 to 9.
This edition is its biggest showcase ever to date, featuring works from both BA and MA level students of all pathways for the first time.
Roni Brown, head of the London College of Fashion, said the school wanted to “challenge conventions” during this challenging time, and the showcase is “one of the most ambitious, intimate and immersive experiences that we’ve ever created for our graduates and provides a real insight into what it’s like to study at London College of Fashion.”
While viewers can physically experience the show, everything on display exists digitally.
“Due to the pandemic, we were working within tight parameters and knew that we couldn’t rely upon more traditional formats — with physical work on display or on the catwalk — so digital showcasing became a vital component of launching the class of 2021. We also wanted to ensure this was the most accessible and inclusive show that we’ve ever staged,” she said.
By the entrance, there are a series of interactive installations showing a selection of works from the school of media and communication students.
One can control and browse works from emerging photographers, stylists and creative directors on big screens by scanning a QR code. Themes explored by this year’s cohort include activism, change and radical visions for the future.
Brown is proud of her students for navigating new complexities and adapting to the new reality so quickly.
“Instead of building sets for shoots in studios, our creative direction students have used digital animation. They are challenging our discipline to rethink industry standards and this will have a positive impact in terms of sustainability and our ability to move the industry forwards.
“The explosion in digital output has also allowed us to change how we show in physical form. Student projects are displayed in a series of interactive installations that prototype future forms of engagement and invite the audience to shape their own experience of the work. This has worked incredibly well for visitors coming to the space in person but also for those interacting with the work online,” she said.
The fashion design part of the showcase is divided into two rooms, with the smaller featuring eight small screens. They intend to mirror the showcase’s online experience, Sphere, which was created as an alternative to the catwalk. One can explore students’ projects through photos, videos and interviews. The next room features a 20-minute fashion show being projected on a giant curved white wall.
“People have been astonished by the level of detail that you can see in the towering 10-foot digital displays. In many respects, it’s akin to being backstage at a show or behind the scenes at a photo shoot. You can see the craftsmanship and the little details which are easily missed in a fleeting moment on the catwalk,” Brown added.
The showcase also brings the launch of Voices of the Fashion Business School and screens a series of industry talks that tackle hot industry topics like COVID-19 recovery, rethinking business models in line with sustainability goals and the climate crisis.
Brown said her vision for the school’s future is to create “dynamic and experimental spaces, which invite industry to take a closer look at our world leading talent and to invest in the next generation.”
“We share our graduates’ optimism for the future and believe in their creative ability to help our economies recover from this deadly pandemic. They help fashion look forward and shape lives and we have every faith in their abilities to succeed,” she added.