Central Saint Martins holds a reputation for birthing fashion icons such as McQueen, Philo and Galliano to name but a few. It was no surprise then that high expectations filled the air in the Central Saint Martins campus as hundreds waited eagerly for the MA show to start. Every season, the graduates deliver. The class of 2019 did not let us down.
An array of youth-empowered protest aiming to put pressure on the British Fashion Council to recognise a state of ’climate emergency’ set the scene and reflected the mood of an angry generation making calls for change. London-educated L’Oréal Professionnel Creative Award Winner Sheryn Akiki explained. In an interview with British Vogue, her concept of ‘elegance in the face of crisis’. This theme harked back to her roots in Lebanon where for many, crisis is a daily reality. Sheryn captured a sense of glamour in her clothing, combining empowerment and a celebration of what it means to be a woman. This sense of empowerment seemed to be a theme which ran through all 25 collections showcased.
Sheryn Akiki and Goom Heo (co-winner) shone as a symbol of new energy in the ceaseless evolution of fashion. Sheryn tells her own story; sharing her experiences visually through her collection using motifs of Lebanese culture. As handbags threatened to spill and dresses were ready to split, the models strutted down the catwalk, owning every inch of the garments, bringing about a sense of liberation even in a time of chaos.
Graduate Goom Heo has established herself in the world of designers having already started her own label. Following her sci-fi infused sportswear, inflated silhouettes and asymmetrical tailoring resulting in her winning the CSM BA prize two years ago, Seo has once again shown us what she is capable of. Challenging today’s societal conventions, her garments floated down the runway almost effortlessly.
From Christopher Kane to Matty Bovan, Kim Jones to Craig Green, the extensive list of predecessors of the L’oOéal Professionnel Creative Award is far from uninspiring. The names Goom Heo and Sheryn Akiki do not only stand for necessary change in fashion; they stand for a generation of designers and the journey they will continue to embrace could not be more exciting.