Fresh off the industrial press, YStyle alum Philippine Fashion Designer Carl Jan Cruz steps through London College of Fashion’s (LCF) Shoreditch campus doors three times — nine garment bags and a suitcase full of shoes in tow.
Twenty-six of LCF’s best talents from their menswear, womenswear, textiles and accessories courses are all set backstage, about to present their graduate collections to a warehouse full of fashion press and industry insiders — from editors of Vogue UK, i-D, Dazed and Confused and A Mag Curated By, to global head of personal shopping at Net-A-Porter, Lupe Puerta, to Céline’s 3D studio head designer Rene De Vera, and Maisie Williams of House Stark (Arya, to all you Game of Thrones fans out there), the BA show conjured a guest list out of a fantasy draft. As the LCF seniors close the graduate exhibition season, optimisim and earnestness abound — students showcased, above all, collaboration and technique.
The runway was an assembly line of both experimental pieces that were accessorized with giant floppy hats, fur-cuffed slip dresses, and distressed denim slashed and knotted away, punctuated by more practical silhouettes (though no less conceptual) rendered in billowy fabrics, slouchy knitwear, and streamlined sheaths. Then there is, of course, Carl’s collection.
By marking the archival of his own pieces and photographs as the collection’s starting point, he in turn has made a personal project into a public confession — the echoes of which are traced all over his clothes. You will see it on the topstitches, the hand-sewn hems, the exaggerated cuffing, in the ease and exact rigidness of his denims. Or even, on a more fundamental level, the fact that the majority of the fabrics were sourced, sampled, and developed in the Philippines. Defiant yet accessible, 15/15 aimed to rework and redevelop the blue jeans, white shirt aesthetic; particularly grounded in the ‘90s, but exploring the potential for layering, and employing subtle touches and more extreme ones to challenge the existing silhouette. No fuss, no glamour — this is how Carl Jan Cruz gets it done.