Menswear designer wins 2015 FAD competition

Wednesday, 25 February 2015
London College of Fashion student Juniper Lai was named the winner of the 14th annual Fashion Awareness Direct (FAD) competition at a catwalk showcase that ended London Fashion Week last night.
The competition, which aims at encouraging young designers to look to new  areas of research, integrating art and culture into fashion, while also communicating an ethos of respect for the person through innovative design, challenged fashion students from universities across the UK to create a mini collection of two outfits that explored the commonalities of physics and design, for this year’s theme ‘physics meets fashion’.

Judges felt that Lai’s winning collection “translated” the brief perfectly with her eye-catching range of oversized masculine garments centred around her fabric which was created using 3D sintering technology. Her designs utilised the latest progression in 3D printing using lasers directed at points of a 3D structure to bind the material in areas to create a solid shape.

Lai’s collection definitely made a statement, with her models sporting crisp white shirts, teamed with wide circular cut, cobalt blue dip dye shorts with ruched waist bands in a contrasting monochrome colour palette of monochrome, and styled with oversized Pharrell Williams-style hats.

Commenting on her win, Lai said: "I am so happy to have won this evening. My collection evolved around 3D sintering printed fabric which has only ever been used by fashion label Moma before, there is only one printer in the world that can do this and I worked alongside 7 engineers to develop the fabric. By boyfriend Jerome Slesinski created the hats for my range to finish off the look."

London of College of Fashion student wins FAD competition

The strong competition also named two womenswear finalists as runner-ups, Yeeuo Park from Nottingham Trent University and Francesca Phipps from De Montfort University. Park’s entry was one of the colourful designs to hit the catwalk, she explored the brief by creating a colourful range, mixing contrasting fabrics from wool to neoprene and bonded polyester. The pieces were embellished with looped cord to create a 3D element.

While Phipps used an intricate dying technic on linen to create interesting colour spectrums seen in Physics. She teamed this with creative pattern cutting skills, moving the garment structure around the body to produce a modern collection.

FAD judge Professor Clare Johnston, head of textiles at The Royal College of Art added: “The work of this year’s 17 FAD finalists was thoughtful and well researched. The student’s diverse response showed that they had found the brief challenging and inspiring.

“The exploration of fashion and physics stimulated dynamic ideas and brave experimentation across material and form. Fabric and structure were thoroughly explored to work together with narrative and concept of the collection. Some very original and exciting results.”

Lai won 1,000 pounds, while the two runner-ups were award 500 pounds each; all three will also receive a professional photo shoot of their entry and their graduate collection.

The final featured 17 students from UCA Rochester, Bath Spa, Manchester Metropolitan, Manchester School of Art, Glasgow School of Art, Kingston University, University of Brighton, University of Middlesex, De Montfort University, Nottingham Trent University, Arts University Bournemouth, Colchester School of Art, and London College of Fashion, where the winner is currently studying.

The aspiring fashion designers were chosen from a shortlist of over 100 entries from across 40 universities, and all represent the new talent set to graduate this summer. The finalists were chosen and judged by a panel of industry experts including Geraldine Cox, physics artist in residence at Imperial College, Tamsin Blanchard, fashion features director at the Telegraph Magazine, and Maria Alvarez CEO of FAD.

Previous FAD competition finalists include acclaimed womenswear designer David Koma, 2014 RCA graduate and ‘One to Watch’ Emma Hardstaff, and 2010 Graduate Fashion Week winner Rebecca Thomson.

The next FAD Competition will launch in June 2015 at Graduate Fashion Week.

Images: FAD by Tony Wellington

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