Meet the GFF 2020 Fashion Concept Award Nominees

  • NimTung (Judy) Tang
  • Madeline Robertson
  • Mark Chapman
  • David Bell
  • Caólum McCabe
  • Natasha Goodhew
  • Rosie Coggin-Levy
  • Victoria Batey

The Design Concept Award has been created to celebrate the research and concept development that must take place in order to produce a cohesive and well thought through the collection. No toiling or final products are to be included within the entry. Meet the nominees below!

Bethany Malin, Nottingham Trent University

'Redundant' focuses on the mass closures of the Sheffield Steelworks during the 1980s and explores how this effected the workforce by analysing themes of masculinity, identity loss and the working class. Originally, it was not my intention to look at the Sheffield Steelworks from this angle, however; having written my dissertation on the same topic, I came to find that much of the working class use their occupation as an identifier, and when that occupation is taken away, they feel as though part of their innate being has been taken along with it. I found this extremely interesting and so came the feminine aspect of my concept to represent the emasculation felt by the workers.
Caolum McCabe, Arts University Bournemouth

My Collection “Mother Ireland” casts a glance over Irish history when England took over Ireland during the Elizabethan reconquest. Ireland lost all sense of culture, language and identity. The only way Ireland could defend itself as a nation in the latter years preceding independence was to personify its women through myths and legends. Woman was to be seen not heard. Often lamenting her rape, the land was seen as an object to be repossessed bby man, constructing gender norms. Each garment is a celebration of the strength of Irish women, namely his mother’s. Their spirit is embodied without, such as in the insipid green hues of his grandmother’s dress which has influences by natural dye processes, or the love letters his mother wrote as a child which have become a print and have been reversed so that they read from him to her. The collection is an ode to them.
David Bell, Northumbria University

This collection is a deconstruction of the relationship between masculinity and power. Examining how the construction of masculinity effects power structures from politics and the workplace to personal relationships. Power is defined by ‘the capacity or ability to directly influence the behaviour of others or the course of events’ Power is protected by a facade of characteristics associated with masculinity whilst denying the characteristics associated with femininity. This collection explores the influence of masculinity on the “Alpha Male” and how the minority of “Alpha males” control the majority through oppression, prejudice and privilege.
Emma Fenning, Manchester Metropolitan University

My work acts as a conceptualised discussion to investigate the deconstruction of the male identity amongst the working class. Extracting key generic Garments from portraits of the working class, from the young boy aimlessly roaming a council estates in his tracksuit to , to the older man sat outside the markets on a Wednesday in his practical but not pretty walking jacket. The attire of the working class man becomes symbolic of the milestones and stages he is approaching in life. This then helped me build an extensive initial range plan of garments which illustrated the narrative of the working class man. From this investigation a clearer idea of what my collection might look like became apparent. A strong mix of sportswear and tailoring would be a prime focus.
Nim Tung Tang-Judy, Ravensbourne University London

Inspired by Fumio Sasaki, a Japanese writer who lives with a few pieces of clothing and not much else, this graduation collection examines minimalism through an exploration of routine, connectivity and efficiency. In reducing clutter and excess, we produce a demand for efficiency (that is, how much can we achieve with as little as possible?) and — as an emergent property of having such little variety — routine. Cycling through the same pieces in our wardrobe day after day, week after week, these clothes become enmeshed with ourselves, inextricably linked to one another just as our daily activities and routines seamlessly flow from one to the next.
Madeleine Robertson, University of Brighton

The concept for the Lone Star collection is based around the gritty narrative of a young girl inspired by the stories told in Corinne Day’s photography of her friends in the 90s mixed with the influences of bold female characters from Americana road films. Girls who encompass a blend of both fearlessness and femininity. The concept is inspired by my own photography of motels along the west coast of the US, as well as research into temporary structures, such as scaffolding that hold a similar eerie feeling to a lonely motel in Nevada. I also looked at artists like Christo who create sculptural forms with material and drape. The collection aims to capture the story of this young girl and her character with the use of dramatic silhouette. Silk slip dresses, sheer drapes, exposed underwear and cowboy boots, walking home at sunrise in someone else’s jacket.
Mark Chapman, Manchester Metropolitan University

The process detailed in this work entails the generation of new design informing images utilising a form of artificial intelligence called a Generative Adversarial Network (GAN). In this case, I have trained the network on roughly of 10,000 existing images of fashion catwalk shows. The images output by the GAN are an uncanny vision of fashion, stripped of previous context.

The research I have undertaken is reactionary to the way that technology is utilised within the fashion and art industries. Often, its usage is solely for product development, or as a form of gaining attention through flashy visuals or concepts. Technologies in this age can no longer be solely for those specifically trained in their uses, or those who utilise them with little knowledge of them to mystify their artistic concepts. I want my work to be accessible, focusing on the power of technology to benefit the creative process. My concept is not about futurology, but rather technology which is freely available to the general user right now.
Matthew Hanlon, De Montfort University

My project “Stella ARTwat” is based around class and the relationship between opposing classes and their relationship with art. I explored the class system at opposite ends of the spectrum with rococo royalty my subject for the upper-class and working-class youth being the latter. I wanted to explore the idea of art and how it both unites and divides classes. This idea of opposites was something I wanted to encapsulate throughout my collection, comparing sportswear with tailored refinement. I am fascinated by art and the ideology that a sketch, painting or a sculpture can be a transformative piece in raising people through the class system. Wealth and stature distort people’s perspective and opinions on themselves and others, my goal was to combine all three subjects to create a harmonious collection.
Melody Uyanga Ramsay, Glasgow School of Art

My final year collection focuses on the politics of aspirational fashion as a woman of colour and the art of responsible concept design. My visual language is informed by my Scottish and Mongolian heritage, paying homage to country attire from both sensibilities. I somehow found authenticity in the in-between and navigated my own fantasy according to my vision of timelessness. A research trip to visit Oxfam’s Wastesaver Factory in Huddersfield further informed my understanding of sustainability, ethics and its intersections.

From here I became determined to utilise my voice in fashion to change the way we value our clothes, as the common thread between fast fashion and climate change is over-consumption. My graduate collection is made entirely from second hand or otherwise discarded fabrics, largely displacing the loss of life, environmental destruction and worker exploitation in addition to confronting our lethal desire for newness, and the people we champion in the pursuit of sustainability in fashion.
Natasha Goodhew, University for the Creative Arts Rochester

“Adrenaline” draws inspiration from the daring attitudes of fire fighters of the Edo period in Japan and uses their reversible and handmade uniforms as sustainable influence. The brigades acted like gangs at the time and were made up of intimidating characters; yet despite their front, they were highly respected among their people. Themes of adrenaline are explored through the use of statement graphic print and layering, while working with upcycled materials and organic fabrics to create reversible and multi-wearable garments. For a zero-waste approach inspired by traditional Japanese Boroboro techniques, any excess. Offcuts from the collection were utilised into a patchwork design for one of the final jackets in the lineup.
Rosie Coggin-Levy, Sheffield Hallam University

During an overall wonderful and insightful trip to Japan I was jolted by the omni- presence of schoolgirl culture, or 'JK' from the Japanese Joshi Kosei (meaning high school girl). I was shocked and saddened to see teenagers in school uniform sell their time to passers-by. Men pay to hold hands, go for a walk, or have a cup of co ee with the girls. Some even pay to sleep on a girl's lap. This is all legitimate, above board and legal. This schoolgirl aesthetic signifies youth and innocence, it seems to be worshiped en masse. It is described best by its slang term: Lolicon, the hebephilic desire for young girls. I was inspired to question this sinister normalcy in an exploration into the humanistic ceremony of ritual and desire.
Vick Batey, Sheffield Hallam University

My starting point for my concept was looking into the important role of a woman within the household. I found that women are a key figure within the family, almost invisible at times. To make this project more personal, I drew upon my own family experience, giving my father’s mother the recognition she deserved. The project looks into the role of the woman within the household and how the role has changed between generations. The collection focuses on the female generations that want to break the stereotype and become something other than a housewife.