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Clothing with a conscience creates a stir on the catwalk


Clothing with a conscience creates a stir on the catwalk

A model wears an outfit designed by childrenswear designer Laura Harvey.Trendsetters from Kingston University’s internationally-renowned Department of Fashion have banished bling in favour of more timeless garments made from ethically-sourced products. The young designers, who unveiled their final collections at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall this week, placed a strong emphasis on global issues and the environment. Drawing on organic cloth and vintage denim, the students’ outfits were designed to grab the attention of fashion executives searching for the next Stella McCartney or Ralph Lauren.

Fashion department head Elinor Renfrew said there was a definite sea-change taking place in the type of creations which hit the runway this year. “At Kingston University our students have devoted a huge amount of time to finding out how to put together responsible collections,” she said. “Their emphasis has been on creating a new type of luxury which is less about bling and much more about producing good quality, long-lasting garments that can become classic signature pieces for their owners.”

Kasha Crampton’s final collection was inspired by homeless people on the streets of Manhattan.The University, in South West London, which has recently been making a name for itself in the industry with the slogan Kingston is the new black, teamed up with Brooks Brothers and Dewhirst who sponsored the show. Representatives from Maxmara, Aquent, L’Oreal, Abercombie and Fitch and Smith and Pye were all in attendance at 900-capacity venue.

Students who attracted audience admirers included 21-year-old Kasha Crampton whose menswear range which was sparked by seeing how resourceful homeless people living on the streets of Manhattan could be recycling old materials. Kasha reused material from her old coats to add details to collars and cuffs on new clothes. Also turning heads was a childrenswear range dreamt up by Laura Harvey which drew inspiration from the outfits worn by environmental protesters. The 23-year-old gathered snapshots and information from Glastonbury festival-goers and traced eco-warriors’ clothing preferences back right back to their roots. She also interviewed local primary school children about their clothing likes and dislikes as her garments took shape. Fellow fashion student Harriet Carp meanwhile could often be found in Portobello Market hunting out materials for her womenswear range, entitled Dutch Courage, which was fired by her upbringing in Holland. “My collection is based on nostalgia and is quite child-like so there are a lot of pompoms, knit pieces and vintage effects,” she said.

The show comes hot on the heels of further industry acclaim. Just last month, Kingston University was named winner of the British Fashion Council College Portfolio Award, sponsored by leading fashion magazine Drapers. “These designers are definitely names to watch out for the future,” Mrs Renfrew said.  “Their work features an explosion of colour and much more exaggerated cutting.”

To find out more about some of the stars of the Kingston University Fashion Show, please click here.

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