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Silvie Koang GRADUATES OF 2013 GO TO WHO'S NEXT PARIS Monday, June 24, 2013 Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large One of my favourite things is when Melane the FashEd tells me about what ... 5


Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large

One of my favourite things is when Melane the FashEd tells me about what it was like to see Christopher Kane's first show or an early McQueen extravaganza. You can get your own taste of this by listening to her talking about her favourite catwalk punk moment over on SHOWstudio which, quite naturally, features anecdotes on mid 90s McQueen. I suppose I've felt the 2010s version of this watching the likes of Meadham Kirchhoff, JW Anderson, Simone Rocha and Marques'Almeida. But I think you also have to recognise little nuggets of that feeling from an image or an idea. That's what the Who's Next Pret-a-Porter Paris x Arts Thread panel have to do. They've picked ten winners from hundreds of entries by undergraduates (soon to be graduates) all over Europe to get the chance to propel themselves to the next fashion level with an exhibition at the Who's Next show in Paris next week. Victoria and Lucy are the marvellous Brit winners. Here, they talk about their collections, how they work and what they're hoping for next. And Mark E Smith, if you're free next week you should totally be Victoria's model... 


How did you get involved in Who's Next and what was the judging process like? 

My tutor at Central Saint Martins suggested that I should submit my portfolio with ArtsThread, as it’s such a fantastic platform for recent graduates. You’re not really aware of the judging process, since the judges look at your portfolio online, so it was a massive surprise when I got the email to say I’d been selected. It definitely gives you a shot of confidence knowing that such creative people can see your potential!

Your hooligan culture reference is brilliant and the way you used football scarves in new ways, how did you come up with that?

I liked the idea of using something unexpected and making it fashion-y. I was interested in the expression of masculinity to the point where it goes completely over the top. The football film The Firm is a great documentation of how clothing, mainly branded sportwear, unified hooligans and made them feel part of a pack. Men who would rather die than be thought of as effeminate were wearing matching bright velour tracksuits, there’s definitely an element of farce in that! I wanted to run with that light-heartedness and make a collection of over-the-top sportswear that also referenced my childhood growing up in the 90s. The crop tops in Trainspotting but made in Lycra, similar to football base layer vests. 

Can you talk a bit about the process you go through to create your prints. How you design them? What do you use? 

I love to inject a bit of humour into my print designs! The Kevin Keegan print was one of those early morning, sleep-deprived musings where I though it would just be fun to make a psychedelic design using only Kevin Keegan’s head; well, his perm. It had to feature his iconic perm. I also created a print using an old photo from a Sunderland football match that I distorted until it almost looks like 90s camouflage. My football tees were all hand tie dyed and devoré-d. I liked the fact that devoré generally associated with older women’s clothes -making football tees with “Hit The North” (lyrics from a song by The Fall, who also influenced my collection) across the back seemed like an unconventional use of the technique! 


Is there anyone you'd love to dress? 

Mark E Smith, the lead singer of The Fall, is a bit of an eccentric style icon, he’s pretty into M&S elasticated trousers and battered brown leather jackets. He’d never wear anything from my collection though; he’d probably hate it! 

It would be nice to see Kev Keegan wearing a print of his own face and I’m always available to design the next Middleborough football kit! 

What are you hoping to do next and in the future? 

I’m really looking forward to meeting people and showing my collection at Paris, Who’s Next. I’m just really eager to begin my career in the fashion world, ideally a print design position to evolve my skills.


How did you get involved in Who's Next and what was the judging process like?

Who’s Next was something I came across when uploading my portfolio onto Arts Thread. After reading about it I instantly thought that it would be a great platform! For me, getting involved in something like this and having the opportunity to go to WHO'S NEXT Prêt-à-Porter Paris is what I felt I really needed, especially straight after graduating to give me some support with launching my own brand and to keep me in the loop! The Who’s Next competition was judged by some high-profile names, so when I received an email saying I was 1 of 10 winners going to Paris it took me a while to take it all in. 

Do you see men's and womenswear as intertwined or do you treat them quite differently?

Menswear is something that I feel comes naturally to me, whereas I find womenswear is something I have to work that little bit harder with. I absolutely love applying a strong feminine colour palette to a print, leaving the silhouette of the garment to do the talking and show off the masculine aspects. I find sometimes I do end up with a collection of prints that could transfer over to either women’s or menswear, however I usually begin with an image in my mind of what gender I see wearing my print, so I guess you could say I do treat them differently in that sense. 

How do you create your prints? What are some of your references and inspirations?

I am a real perfectionist, which means I will spend a lot of time researching and visiting various places, constantly drawing until I start feeling like my drawings are becoming ‘designs’. I take a lot of inspiration from street and urban style. Shaun Samson always inspires me with how he manages to create sophistication but with an urban, oversized and kind of ‘tough’ feel to his garments, that’s really cool. A lot of my inspiration comes from various people I have met and places I have been. I find spending a day or two in London and seeing the culture can instantly inspire me. My most recent collection, which I am currently getting ready for Paris, is based on looking at combining both formalwear and sportswear to create one-off menswear suits. My prints for this collection are quite eccentric and there is a lot of pink! I’m sure there would be a few men who would opt out of wearing one!

What are you hoping to do next and in the future?

Getting involved in the Fashion and Textile industry is something I have always known would be hard. There are so many creative graduates making the competition extremely tough. When I started my degree in Textiles I was always on the fence about what I wanted to do, either Fashion or Print Design. Understanding more about the making is something I really want to learn to give me more scope in what I can do. Agi & Sam are fantastic! My ideal job would be similar to what they do; using my print skills alongside a fashion designer to create a unique menswear clothing brand would be amazing. Of course, Arts Thread have already given me a great platform, which I’m so grateful for, and will hopefully give me more of an opportunity to launch my own brand.

Images courtesy of the designers.
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