Nationwide Degree Show: The Business of Fashion Curation

  • Vanna Paabor
  • Emily Mitchell
  • Laura Chen
  • Kate Warrington
  • Shamsa Anjum
  • Joe Habben

The Nationwide Degree Show is a collection of work from art & design students, who's final year shows have been cancelled due to COVID19. What started as an initiative by Fresh Meet to plaster billboards across the UK with student work, has now resulted in an online collection of over 1000 submissions from over 100 universities and 17 creative disciplines. The Curation Series is a programme of student work selected by industry leaders, creative pioneers and trendsetters. Below you will find a selection of student work curated by Business of Fashion, the leading digital authority on the global fashion industry.

The Business of Fashion is a next-generation media company recognised around the world for its authoritative, analytical point of view on the $2.5 trillion global fashion industry. Serving members in more than 125 countries, BoF combines independent, agenda-setting journalism with practical business advice, online learning, career-building tools and immersive events and experiences that open, inform and connect the global fashion community.

This curation was selected by Imran Amed MBE (founder and editor-in-chief), Chelsea Carpenter (Senior Designer) and Kate Vartan (Studio Project Manager)

#1 - Gloria Ogunyinka

The first selected piece in this curation is a collection by fashion design graduate Gloria Ogunyinka.
BoF writes "This visually stunning collection challenges you as the audience and conveys a lesson of extreme importance, on how physical appearance and race reflects societal perceptions."
Gloria Ogunyinka, Fashion Design at Norwich University of the Arts

Gloria writes, "Spot the Real Thug is a satirical collection focussing on the designers heritage, an interesting mix of Nigerian and Liverpudlian, taking inspiration from football hooliganism in the 1980s. Its intention is to provoke conversation about what it means to be mixed race, growing up in a world where they’re considered half of something, and never quite enough to be considered truly either.
The collection also takes a serious tone, evoking guests to think about society, with the name “Spot The Real Thug” taken from an article in the 1980s, on how to spot a football hooligan simply by how they dress. The quote “the bovver-booted model on the left looks ready for a punch-up but the casually dressed model on the right is wearing the new disguise”, inspired the designer to look at how in society, black men are statistically more likely to be accused of committing a crime simply by how they look, rather than what they’re doing. A topic the designer feels strongly about, after the death of Trayvon Martin and the way the case was handled."

#2 - Vanna Paabor

The second selected piece in this curation is 'The Wood Dress' by fashion design student, Vanna Paabor.

BoF writes "A remarkable use of materials and level of craftsmanship, creating a highly successful silhouette with an underlying message of sustainability."
Vanna Paabor, MFA Performance Costume at Edinburgh College

Vanna writes "It is part of a project on sustainable consumption and production where I designed for groups of materials and represented them as industries. The shape is inspired by late 18th century as a reference to the start of the industrial revolution. The dress is made from wood (incl. veneered plywood, marquetry and burnt wood) cork and paper. It was an amazing challenge to make!"

#3 - Kate Warrington

The third selected piece in this curation is a knitwear collection by fashion design grad, Kate Warrington.

BoF writes "These pieces are undoubtedly striking, with an impressive use of colour, structure and technique. The inspiration taken from Northern Vietnam is particularly interesting and they successfully immerse the model and you in their rich and colourful landscapes."
Kate Warrington, Fashion Knitwear Design & Knitted Textiles at Nottingham Trent University

Kate writes "Specialising in Knitwear Design, ‘Hikari 523’ embodies the dramatic, terraced landscapes of Northern Vietnam, and contrasts the contours of the land with the ‘patchwork’ style architecture nestled within it. The collection has a multi layered aesthetic, incorporating rich colours, textures and stitches. The garments shown reflect the structural qualities witnessed within the architecture, with colour composition informed by the weathered and layered surface qualities of metals and wood. The collection endeavours to recreate the feeling of being encompassed by the immersive landscape."

#4 - Shamsa

The fourth selected piece in this curation is a composition by photography grad, Shamsa.

BoF writes "A beautiful use of mixed media to convey the important message of belonging and community for British Muslim Women. We love how they’ve used embroidery to further elevate the idea of true beauty in diversity."
Shamsa, Photography at Nottingham Trent University

Kate writes "A focus on British Muslim Women, their relationship with their faith, heritage, and culture through photography and hand embroidery. My work creates a new perspective, giving an insight to the beauty of the religion through portraits of the Muslim women that make up the diversity of Britain. This body of work is set out to be educational through the creativity of reality, but also for other women like myself to connect and relate to, giving them a sense of belonging to a community that accepts them."

#5 - Joe Habben

The fifth selected piece in this curation is a great example of photojournalism by communication design grad, Joe.

BoF writes "A gratifying and considered use of colour and composition, exploring the crucial issue of industrialisation and human impact on the environment."
Joe, Communication Design student at Glasgow School of Art

Joe writes "‘In Moleca’ documents the events and effects of the ‘Acqua Alta’ (high-water) which transpires annually in the city of Venice, Italy. This tidal activity is a natural occurrence, however in recent decades it has been aggravated by the effects of human activity. Mass-tourism, global warming, urban expansion and industrialisation are damaging factors which have influenced the deterioration of the Venetian lagoon, this has led to the increasing tide and subsidence of the ‘floating city’. Exploring issues caused by human intervention; this on-going project highlights the tender balance between urban inhabitants and the environment. How can cities like Venice harmonise this interdependent relationship and adapt to the age of the Anthropocene in an increasingly globalised world?"

#6 - Tayo Adekunle


The sixth selected piece in this curation is from photography graduate Tayo.

BoF writes "This photography from Tayo is not only visually enchanting, but an extremely important reminder on how we, in the creative industry and beyond, must constantly be educating ourselves on how black females and other minority groups have been historically represented."
Tayo Adekunle, Photography student at The University of Edinburgh

Tayo writes "‘The work explores the commodification, fetishisation and sexualisation of the black female body, specifically through the human displays in ethnographic expositions in the 18th and 19th centuries. The work is influenced by ethnographic photographs which were circulated as pornography where black (and other racial minority) bodies were photographed either naked in front of a white background, stripped of their identity, or surrounded by random tropical plants to make the photographs seem authentic. Referencing her Nigerian heritage through Nigerian fabric, Adekunle explores the relationship between the past and present ways of treating the black female body."

#7- Laura Chen


The seventh selected piece in this curation is a snapshot into a series from photography graduate, Laura.

BoF writes "This outstanding use of colour and contrast in photography is a perfect representation of how the drag community celebrates fluid ideas of identity and reinvention."
Laura Chen, Photography student at Birmingham City University

Laura writes "‘This is an image from my series Killer Queens, for which I have photographed around 40 individuals from Birmingham's (UK) LGBTQ+ and drag community. The colourful portraits celebrate and explore performance and self-expression. The work addresses current issues surrounding identity, sexuality and community spirit, and tells a strong collective story about discovery. I am fascinated by the ways in which drag artists can create endless variations of characters, in the most unique ways possible. They do this by playing with different fabrics, colours, patterns, textures, shapes and forms. With these photographs, I aim to make aware that despite that everyone is born in a specific shape and form, we have the freedom to discover new appearances and attitudes through re- invention. We are never fully formed."

#8- Ella d'Aguilar


The eighth selected piece in this curation is a zine containing a series of self-portraits from stylist: Ella.

BoF writes "In the present age of social media, we are constantly pressured to look back on ourselves, making this stunning photography and exploration of body dysmorphia extremely relevant and emotional."
Ella d'Aguilar, Fashion Styling and Production at London College of Fashion

Ella writes "'Hiding in Plain Sight' is a zine containing a series of self-portraits which stem from my personal experience and exploration of Body Dysmorphic Disorder. More specifically, the work aims to show the conflicting feelings of wanting to stand out from the crowd, versus the anxiety from being looked at by others causing the need to hide."

#9- Emily Hebe Mitchell


The ninth selected piece in this curation is a knitwear collection from Fashion Communication graduate Emily.

BoF writes "The stark contrast here between the beautiful handcrafted headwear that this designer has created, displaying a high level of skill and craftsmanship, layered on top of a piece sourced from a fast-fashion retailer, does a wonderful job in highlighting one of the largest issues the fashion industry is facing regarding the importance of sustainable eco fashion."
Emily Hebe Mitchell, Fashion Communication and Promotion at Norwich University of the Arts

Emily writes "'Crochet Craze' is an image which I have styled and photographed. It centres around the theme of sustainable eco conscious fashion in juxtaposition with E-commerce's fast disposable consumerism. This is shown with the handmade Crochet balaclava worn by its designer, but she is wearing a piece sourced from a mass online clothing retailer. It comments on the question: Where is fashion heading?'"

#10- Donatienne Borione

The final piece in this curation is an illustration from Donatienne.

BoF writes "A gorgeous piece of illustration where bold strokes and vibrant colours perfectly encapsulates the pride and sexuality of the artist and love in all forms."
Donatienne Borione, Illustration at Plymouth College of Art, BA

Donatienne writes, 'I made this personal piece to celebrate love in all its forms, in parallel with the IAmLabel exhibition in Plymouth, UK. The bold colours I used reflect the pride and joy I find in my sexuality.'
You can find more talent from all of our submissions at the Nationwide Degree Show or through the Fresh Meet profile.

You can also visit the artists of this curation in the project credits below.