Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cardiff designer’s big break at Graduate Fashion Week

IT launched the fashion careers of Stella McCartney and Burberry’s Christopher Bailey.

Now a young Welsh designer is hoping Graduate Fashion Week will make her the next hot young thing.

Jessica Nicol’s work has already caught the eye of industry insiders and will hit the catwalk in Europe’s fashion capital next month.

The 21-year-old womenswear designer from Cardiff will send six of her creations down the runway at London’s Earls Court on June 8.

Miss Nicol said: “Some of the world’s best-known fashion designers launched their careers there and it’s an amazing opportunity to have my collection seen by some of the most important people in the industry. I’ve always wanted to do this ever since I can remember.”

The prestigious event in the annual fashion calendar has also launched the careers of John Galliano and Hussein Chalayan.

Miss Nicol, a final-year fashion student at Manchester Metropolitan University, has based her collection on the notion “that ghosts from history haunt the modern world”.

She said: “I examined quotes from Walter Benjamin and phantasmagoria – looking at ghost shows from the early 19th century.

“My final collection is inspired by the notion that ghosts from history haunt the modern world and uses layers, volume and historic elements. I’ve also been experimenting with vacuum forming to create hands that erupt from smooth surfaces.”

Miss Nicol is one of 18 MMU students attending Graduate Fashion Week this year.

Alison Welsh, the university’s fashion programme leader, said: “Graduate Fashion Week provides students with a unique opportunity to showcase their work and meet industry leaders. Only the best fashion students are selected so Jessica should be very proud of herself.”

Outfits from last year’s graduate catwalk show have since been worn by fashion icons like Lady GaGa and Marina and the Diamonds.

Miss Nicol said: “It would be amazing if someone like Florence and the Machine wore my designs, or Daphne Guinness.

“I could definitely see Lady GaGa in them actually.”

Miss Nicol’s interest in fashion was clear from an early age and like any keen fashionista was a regular in second hand and vintage shops while still in school.

Miss Nicol’s mother, Maggie, said: “Even as a little girl she was interested in fashion, and would make shoes, for example, out of strange materials. The interest in clothing came later really. She’s very ambitious.”

Miss Nicol lists Comme des Garcons and Viktor and Rolf, as well as the more “elegant and understated style” of fashion house Celine, as her main influences.

She said: “It’s every fashion student’s dream to show at Graduate Fashion Week and what I’ve been working towards for the past three years. Journalists and fashion scouts from across the globe attend the event and previous students have been snapped up by fashion houses including Donna Karan, Gucci and Calvin Klein. I can’t wait, so that my mum and friends can come along and see my work.”

Miss Nicol’s former textile teacher at St Telio’s Church in Wales High School, Rachel Hennessy, said: “Jessica had very good illustration skills, and she always kept up to date with fashion trends.

“I remember her work well. Even though I teach so many students, hers definitely stood out.”

Source: Media Wales Ltd. WalesOnline

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