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Kingston School of Art student scoops Zandra Rhodes Award at Graduate Fashion Week for folk-inspired collection

Posted Friday 30 June 2023

Kingston School of Art student scoops Zandra Rhodes Award at Graduate Fashion Week for folk-inspired collection Monika Pohorská was crowned the winner of the Zandra Rhodes Fashion Textile Award for her collection which takes inspiration from her home country, The Czech Republic. Photo credit - Sam Appleby.

A Kingston School of Art student has been crowned the winner of the Zandra Rhodes Fashion Textile Award at Graduate Fashion Week for a final year collection featuring hand drawn illustrations inspired by mythology and folklore.

The award is named in honour of and judged by iconic British designer Dame Zandra Rhodes, who is known for her bold prints and vibrant technicolour designs.

Monika Pohorská's collection, Voices of Nature, draws inspiration from her native country, The Czech Republic, as well as other cultures from around the world. The overall shape of her six dresses is designed to replicate the structure of traditional folk costumes, while the patterns and prints are influenced by mythological creatures and natural landscapes.

"I wanted to feel closer to my family and my home country, by taking inspiration from trees and plants that you can find there," Monika explained. "Prints in my collection also reference other cultures with ancient Egyptian symbols and mythological Greek creatures such as a dragon and Medusa."

One of her looks also features drawings of The Knight, referencing a piece used in the game of chess and based on her brother's horse at home. Folklore-inspired elements include tarot cards prints, floral motifs, flower crowns and beaded accessories.

Her collection is made predominately out of natural materials including linen and cotton satin. To make the printed patterns and designs, she drew her illustrations on paper or digitally using Adobe Photoshop before screen printing them onto her fabric.

"It was a challenging process," Monika explained. "I cut four metres of fabric into individual pieces and then I traced my drawings over it before screen printing. Each time I did this, it was nerve wracking as the entire dress was at stake if it went wrong, so I had only one attempt to make it right."

Alongside the recognition that comes with picking up an award at Graduate Fashion Week, having the chance to meet Dame Zandra Rhodes was something the designer said she would always remember.

"Fashion textile has always been my passion, so winning this award will help me kick start my career in this area," she said. "Meeting Dame Zandra Rhodes on the day was an unforgettable experience. It was a real honour to share my collection and ideas with such an inspirational and iconic British fashion and textile designer."

Course Leader David Frizzell commended Monika on her success at Graduate Fashion Week. "We have a longstanding history of our students receiving recognition in these prestigious awards and winning this specific accolade for two years in a row is further evidence of our commitment to excellence." he said. "Monika demonstrated high levels of skill and craft in the creation of her final collection. Her unique research, hand-drawn artworks and technical expertise clearly impressed this year's judging panel. Her success is further demonstration of the special talents our emerging designers at Kingston School have."

Monika's collection was unveiled on the catwalk at the central London Kingston School of Art BA (Hons) Fashion show alongside the work of 20 other students, which was attended by industry experts and fashion commentators.

Graduate Fashion Week, which takes place annually each year in June, is the largest showcase of BA talent. Its awards are judged by industry professionals and ambassadors, covering disciplines such as textile design, styling and creative direction, photography and marketing.

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