Generations of Westminster Alumni show at London Fashion Week

Roberta Einer

An array of Westminster fashion design alumni including Ashley Williams, Christopher Bailey, Markus Lupfer, David Ferreira, Jack Byne, Amanda Svart, Emma Charles and Roberta Einer who all studied at the University of Westminster’s School of Media, Arts and Design, showcased their new collections at London Fashion Week. 

While Westminster alumnus Stuart Vevers, Creative Director of Coach, presented a showstopping collection at the close of New York Fashion Week, it was recent fashion graduate Ashley Williams who started the first day of London Fashion Week showing her new S/S 2017 collection.

Ashley Williams, who graduated from the BA Fashion Design course in 2012, took inspiration from the pin-up of her youth River Phoenix, with her S/S 2017 designs tapping into the unfathomable space between reality and fantasy which exist in the teenage imagination. Her creations featured 1980s puffball dresses, mini-skirts, graphic two-piece suits and dungarees.

Since her graduation, her designs have gained a host of followers including Rihanna, Daisy Lowe, Pixie Geldof, Georgia May Jagger and Alice Dellal.

Later in the day, Jack Byne, who graduate back in June 2016 showed his graduate collection as part of the ‘Tomorrows Talent’ section of the ON/OFF presentation at LFW. Alongside  Amanda Svart who graduated from Westminster in 2014.

Saturday saw Markus Lupfer show his S/S 2017 collection which was inspired by outdoor elements, tapping into both nature and streetwear. Floral patterns, sheer materials, pleated skirts and bomber jackets featured prominently in Lupfer’s designs giving off a light and refreshing feel. Speaking about the inspiration behind his designs Lupfer cited: “A desire for nature, a meadow full of surprises, a sense of individuality, ease and a youthful spirit.”

Saturday night saw Donatella Versace showing the Versus collection at the University of Westminster’s P3 gallery space at the Marylebone campus, with a Frow featuring Gigi Hadid Zayn Malik, Jourdan Dunn, and Winnie Harlow.

Cut to Sunday afternoon when it was 2015 graduate Robert Einer time to show her latest collection. After only 18 months she has already been named a NEWGEN one-to-watch as well as winning the Saks 5th Avenue Emerging Designer competition and now counts them as one of her stockists.

Based on Miami and its art scene in the Seventies and early Eighties the collection featured pastel hues influenced by the city’s archetypal architecture which became the starting point for the embroidered graphics in the collection. Seventies-inspired stripes are also an essential part of the new range, developed into optical illusions, inspired by artworks of the era.

Monday saw the launch of Emma Charles’ new collection which she showed as part of the LFW Designer Showrooms, in Brewer Street.

Emma, who graduated in 2014 showed a collection with an elegant aesthetic, inspired by vintage menswear tailoring, encompasses a soft femininity with clean lines. A youthful energy is expressed by the use of bright colours, luxurious fabrics, and innovative application techniques.

Late Monday night saw Westminster’s Christopher Bailey show Burberry's first see-now, buy-now collection, based on the book Orlando by Virginia Woolf.  The runway featured both men’s and womenswear and was immediately available to buy from stockists worldwide.

Finally, on the last day of London Fashion Week, David Ferreira who graduated in 2015 showed his SS17 catwalk show at Freemason's Hall. Featuring an array of sweet-wrapper metallic fabrics in every hue, the collection also showcased his signature use of corsetry and tailoring to create a collection that was both futuristic and modern.

Andrew Groves, Course Director for BA Fashion Design, said: it was thrilling to see such an array of Westminster design talent on show at LFW. Whether stewards of design such as Christopher Bailey at Burberry or relative newcomers like Jack Byne and Emma Charles, the sheer array and diversity of Westminster talent on show embodied the strength and attitude of fashion education at Westminster.

2016 National Student Survey - 100% Overall Student Satisfaction

christopher pak

The BA (Hons) Fashion Design course has achieved a 100% student satisfaction in the 2016 NSS results.

Course Director Andrew Grove said that "this is the second time in the last five years that the course has been given 100% student satisfaction in the NSS survey, which is indicative of the quality of the teaching and the student-focused learning that happens on the course. In the 2015 Business of Fashion Survey the teaching on the course was judged as being the best in the UK so it’s good that our students also feel the same way.

"Our focus on the course is to develop our students as individuals and prepare them for the realities of a fast-changing and very demanding industry. I’m sure the students would agree that this isn’t always the easiest process for students or staff, so it’s great that despite, or perhaps because of this, the students are appreciative of the whole of the fashion design team pushing them to be the very best that they can be. This is borne out by our external examiner who gave the course a 5-star rating this year and in the results from our graduates, with 93% achieving either a first or 2.1 awards", said Andrew.

In addition, the BA (Hons) Fashion Design course has exceptional links with the fashion industry, which is built into the programme and contributed to its success. Andrew emphasises this and states that "it’s great that students feel that the course has met their needs, it’s also important that we address the needs of industry as well.

This has been demonstrated by the fantastic jobs that our graduates have been offered since they graduated in June. They are now working at some of the best design houses in the world, with design jobs at Mulberry, Alexander McQueen, and Burberry in London; Acne in Sweden; Loewe in Paris; and Max Mara in Italy.

Beth Hall won the LVMH graduate competition in June, judged by an illustrious panel of judges including Karl Lagerfeld (Fendi), Marc Jacobs (Marc Jacobs), Nicolas Ghesquière (Louis Vuitton), Phoebe Philo (Céline), Riccardo Tisci (Givenchy) and Delphine Arnault (Louis Vuitton)."

Westminster graduate wins LVMH award

Beth Hall, who has just finished studying Fashion Design BA Honours, has won the LVMH Graduate Prize.

Beth was one of three recipients of the prize, which gives three fashion design graduates €10,000, as well as a job for a year within one of the LVMH companies. She will be joining Spanish luxury brand Loewe.

The award also gives the Fashion Design course a grant of €10,000, to acknowledge the excellence of the staff and teaching.

The winners were decided by an illustrious panel of judges, including Karl Lagerfeld (Fendi), Marc Jacobs (Marc Jacobs), Nicolas Ghesquière (Louis Vuitton), Phoebe Philo (Céline), Riccardo Tisci (Givenchy) and Delphine Arnault (Louis Vuitton).

Speaking about Beth’s success, Andrew Groves – Course Director for Fashion Design BA Honours – said: “with hundreds of graduates across the world entering this competition, it is an incredible testament to Beth’s talent for her to be awarded this prize for her graduate collection. 

“While studying with us on the BA Fashion Design course she interned at Chloe in Paris, as well as Simone Rocha and Christopher Kane, so it is fantastic that she will now be working at Loewe and further developing her career in fashion. Winning this prize and chance to work with LVMH is an amazing opportunity for her, and we wish her every success in the future.”


Westminster kicks off graduate fashion season with impeccably eclectic runway show

The 2016 graduates have already received impressive international industry experience, having interned at Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Celine, Chloe, Stella McCartney, McQueen, Burberry, Proenza Schouler, Marc Jacobs, Viktor & Rolf, and Calvin Klein.

Course Director Andrew Groves said: "With the international fashion industry currently going through a period of change, instability and upheaval, our graduates have shown a variety of different responses to the challenges that this demands. Their collections have demonstrated an incredible mixture of creativity paired with excellent technical skills which offer hope and shows where fashion may be heading in the future."

Renowned for producing some of the industry's greatest talents, Westminster launched the careers of the likes of Ashley Williams, Claire Barrow, Liam Hodges and Roberta Einer. The university's alumni list also boasts Christopher Bailey (Burberry), Katie Hillier (Hillier Bartley), Michael Herz (Diane Von Furstenberg) and Stuart Vevers (Coach).

Fashion & Freedom: fashion inspired by women in the First World War


Four students from the BA (Hons) Fashion Design course at Westminster will see their designs included in a major new exhibition that opens at Manchester Art Gallery on 13 May.

Second-year students Morgan Davies, William Howell-Jackson, Wendy Leong and Charlotte Malyon each created an outfit inspired by the working on the theme of “Restriction & Release”. William Howell-Jackson’s outfit was chosen as the main image of the exhibition publicity and features an elongated tailored jacket over a net dress.

Fashion & Freedom at Manchester Art Gallery (13 May – 27 November 2016) sees some of today’s leading female fashion designers explore the impact the First World War had on the changing role of women and fashion. Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW and Manchester Art Gallery, with support from the British Fashion Council, the exhibition will include contemporary pieces by Vivienne Westwood, Roksanda, Holly Fulton, Emilia Wickstead, J JS Lee and Sadie Williams.

The next generation of fashion designers were inspired by the two physical extremes women faced within fashion, from the pre-war tight fitted corsets (Restriction) to the soft free-flowing silhouette post-war (Release). Restriction & Release will also explore the social and political barriers women endured at this time, including fighting for the right to vote. The pieces will be showcased as part of Fashion & Freedom at Manchester Art Gallery.

Course Director Andrew Groves said “So much that happened during the First World War, and its impact on the lives of women still resonates with us today, and this made the project an extremely inspiring project for the students to work on. It's fantastic that four of our students have been chosen to exhibit their responses to this project next to the work of such established British fashion designers in such a wonderful space. 

The onset of war in 1914 changed British society. As men left to fight in Europe, over a million women went to work for the first time. New responsibility gave women new freedom and led to new ways of dressing, as silhouettes and social codes changed.

Fashion & Freedom presents original designs by Holly Fulton, Roksanda, J JS Lee, Vivienne Westwood, Emilia Wickstead and Sadie Williams; new film from SHOWstudio and Luke Snellin, and works by the next generation of fashion talent – all influenced by the new fashions and freedoms worn and won by women in 1914-18.

Get to know Roberta Einer, your new favourite designer

roebrta einer westminster

The following feature appears in the April 2016 issue of NYLON.

Named “one to watch” by the British Fashion Council’s NewGen committee, 23-year-old designer Roberta Einer has an envy-inducing résumé, including internships at Balmain, Mary Katrantzou, Alexander McQueen, and Roksanda. The University of Westminster grad’s in-your-face use of color (comprising a palette packed with sweet bursts of pink and turquoise) and expert combinations of unlikely textiles (think everything from tweed to silk to sequins, with ample appliqués) has put her at the forefront of the global fashion scene. Here, the  Estonian-born up-and-comer dishes on what lights her fire.
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Westminster Alumni announced as Woolmark Prize nomminees

Two of Westminster's BA Fashion design alumni have been announced this week as nominees by Woolmark for the British heat of the International Woolmark Prize - all competing for the title this July. Ashley Williams has been announced as one of the four womenswear contenders while Liam Hodges has been announced as one of the four nominees for Menswear. 

Upon her graduation from Westminster in June 2012, Ashley was hotly tipped as a standout designer. She showed her first collection in February 2013 with the pioneering scheme for emerging talent, Fashion East, where she continued to show for a further two seasons.

Liam takes inspirational direction from a wide range of sources, applying his own twist to the subject matter and makes it his own. Liam uses strong graphic shapes, alongside contrasting colours and playful tailoring to create an effortlessly young look and a trademark signature style, with the stark contrasts adding an almost dystopian quality to his work.

The winners of the British regional awards will be announced in July at an award ceremony at the Australian High Commission in London, joining the winners from 12 territories across the world to compete for the international prize. The winner will be revealed at the same venue in January 2017.

Claire Barrow debuts her first exhibition: Bed, Bath and Beyond

claire barrow painting


In February, the 25-year-old British fashion designer Claire Barrow staged a London Fashion Week presentation called ”The Retro-Spective,” which placed her knitwear and sculptural garments inside a mock museum — complete, even, with captioned plaques and a fake gift shop. It demonstrated that Barrow — who has garnered positive attention since she debuted her line two years ago — has a strong interest in art.

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Pip Paz-Howlett wins BFC scholarship award

Pip Paz-Howlett

The British Fashion Council (BFC) is pleased to announce a new scholarship to support undergraduate students in their final year. 
The BFC is delighted to congratulate Cavan McPherson and Pip Paz-Howlett as the recipients of the BFC Education Foundation BA Scholarship 2016. Both scholarships have been awarded to contribute towards living expenses and to support the costs of creating their final collections. 
Pip specialises in Menswear at the University of Westminster and focuses on print and textiles including silk screen printing and fabric printing. The panel was impressed with his dedication, having started his BTEC at sixteen and teaching himself knitwear.

The funding, from the BFC Education Foundation, is available for students enrolled in their final year of study for a full-time BA (Hons) degree in Fashion. The aim of the scholarship is to promote excellence in design by financially supporting students who have the ability and potential to make an exceptional contribution to the fashion industry.
The BFC Education Foundation is dependent upon the generosity of the companies and individuals funding scholarships; Coach, Marks & Spencer, Mulberry, Dame Natalie Massenet and Eiesha Bharti Pasricha. The project has also been partly supported by HM Government with Employer Ownership funding through Creative Skillset.
Sarah Mower MBE, who is co-president of the BFC Education Pillar with Meribeth Parker, said: ‘Being able to support student talent financially is one of the most important and exciting missions of the British Fashion Council. In the interview process, it is incredibly rewarding to start relationships with creative people with fresh ideas which will form the future. So far, the students selected by the BFC Education Foundation committee have all graduated with First Class degrees, an incredible success rate which has only been made possible by the immense generosity of our donors, to whom we are continually grateful. The great thing for us is that winning this prize isn't just crucial to students being able to afford their studies and to produce top-notch final collections, but it also opens up access for students to be invited to industry seminars and the many programmes about business we run.’

The BFC will continue to develop scholarships for undergraduate design students based on the success of the Pilot in 2015. The five students that were awarded scholarships all graduated with a First Class Honours and have gone onto postgraduate study or employment.