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Kingston School of Art student scoops Culture and Heritage Award at Graduate Fashion Week

Posted Monday 17 June 2024

Kingston School of Art student scoops Culture and Heritage Award at Graduate Fashion Week

A Kingston School of Art student has been crowned the winner of a Graduate Fashion Week Award. Gussie O'Connor received the Culture and Heritage Award for design, for her final year collection celebrating the cultural diversity of the United Kingdom.

The award recognises a student who has used their work as a platform to raise awareness of race and ethnicity, opening conversations and highlighting underrepresented areas.

Gussie's collection features traditional slogans, emblems and crests, which have been reconfigured and screen printed onto her garments to represent the United Kingdom's four nations and ignite conversations about what it means to be British.

"I wanted to promote a sense of unity among the workers of Wales, Scotland, England and Northern Ireland, and reclaim our patriotism by placing a new meaning on traditional Britishness," Gussie explained. "My collection celebrates the UK's diversity of cultures and heritage and encourages conversations about their fair representation in society and politics."

Her collection features all the colours of the Union Jack flag. Each of her six looks were made using only second-hand garments, which she repurposed, giving them new leases of life. She dyed each piece of recycled fabric and then screen-printed her designs onto the fabric, before sewing them back together.

A statement piece in her collection is a one-piece made out of three hoodies she found in a charity shop which she dyed grey, then cut and spliced into one piece. It features a long fishtail skirt made by taking the hood off one of the hoodies to use it as a tight pencil skirt before affixing it with a waist band and joining the scraps of the arms of the hoody together to create a drape effect.

Course Leader David Frizzell commended Gussie on her success at Graduate Fashion Week. "We have a longstanding history of our students receiving recognition in these prestigious awards and winning yet another award this year is further evidence of our commitment to excellence." he said. "Gussie demonstrated high levels of creative and technical skill in the realisation of her final collection. Her success is further demonstration of the special talents of our emerging designers at Kingston School of Art."

Graduate Fashion Week, which takes place annually each year in June and has been running for 30 years, is the largest showcase of undergraduate fashion talent. Its awards are judged by industry professionals and ambassadors, covering disciplines such as textile design, styling and creative direction, photography and marketing.

Categories: Alumni, Staff, Students

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