Central St. Martins is integral to fashion. Some of the world's biggest designers came from there and to this day, "graduated from CSM" is still a calling card. But we’re in two minds when it comes to covering graduate shows.
On one hand, seeing the designers of tomorrow is a great thing. On the other, damning the designers for something they did during a BA collection seems harsh. After all, the purpose of these shows isn’t to be stocked in a department store, but to showcase what the designer wants their brand to be at that point in time. There’s no saying how these designers will evolve over the next few years.
There’s always been predictions about which designers make it big based off graduate shows, but we feel it’s premature to judge so swiftly. Some designers may surprise you later on and some may disappoint. And, like a NBA draft, they’ll usually be someone who was ignored at first who ends up catching everyone’s eye later on. One of the downsides of London’s notoriety for emerging designers is that people can be too quick to try and find the next big thing, which can end up stifling a designer’s creativity (or business acumen, if they’re told they’re supposed to be"‘experimenting") before it’s truly begun.
Thus, we're not judging the end product here, more so the ideas that may make an end product you’ll be interested in buying in the future. So, with that said, let’s get into the show.
The designers who made menswear (or included some menswear looks) were: Soyeon Chang, Adonis Kozakidis, Oto Kazumi Tanimoto, Derek Cheng, Aya Takeshima, Sarah Kiani, Haya Shin, Alex Po, Su Sang Hwang and Ruihong Harry Xu. As far as brands we can see immediately making a seamless transition to your wardrobe, Adonis Kozakidis, Haya Shin and Ruihong Harry Xu stood out. The three showcased a knack for clothing you’d want to wear right now. Haya Shin was seemingly influenced by a larger-than-life version of ‘80s hip-hop styling, while Adonis Kozakidis blended cropped jackets with oversized coats and camp shirts. Ruihong Harry Xu had an eye for outerwear and boiler suits, matching these sellable items with sheer shirts.
Soyeon Cheng’s collection showed promise, even if it was a little too influenced by Margaret Howell at this point. Oto Kazumi Tanimoto’s collection had some grand ideas that we can see working if they were toned down a little. Su Sang Hwang’s collection had a similar issue as Tanimoto’s, but on this side maybe the ideas and quirks were slightly too subtle. Finally we also enjoyed Aya Takeshima’s take on mens knitwear, essentially using the traditional breton stripe pattern to create a ruffled jumper. The collection was mens and womenswear, so we’d be interested to see where the menswear goes in the future.
Like we said at the beginning, we’re not making any definitive statements about any designers ability here, because very few people reach their full potential at their BA show. So we’ll avoid anointing anyone a future success (or failure) from this showing. However, judging from what we’ve seen, they’ll be plenty of names from this group worth keeping an eye on in the future.
The views and opinions expressed in this piece are those solely of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of Highsnobiety as a whole.