From rousing cheers for fashion disruptor Harry Freegard scooting down the Central Saint Martins catwalk sporting a “Harry is dead!” headpiece, to London College of Fashion’s multisensory visual-sonic immersive experience that wove digital exhibition with physical catwalk, and visceral photography that shows humankind adapting to a shifting world – the 2018 #UALSummerShows are the platform to observe the ground-breaking talent and innovation of UAL students.
From now until 13 September, the Class of 2018 at UAL, the 6th best art and design university in the world reveal their graduate work at UAL Summer Shows, a summer-long series of free art, design, fashion, communication and performance exhibitions at locations across London.
#UALSummerShows project the key themes that will occupy the near-future creative scene and reflect on the dominant social issues of the day.
This year sees work which embodies the genderquake happening in gender politics and identity, as well as taking on religion and fanaticism, body image and mental health.
2018’s shows also pay homage to home and displacement, as well as the iconic football in sports-inspired designs born of teenage boredom in the suburbs. Virtual and mixed reality and socially responsive design have a strong presence, with the technology appearing in every guise from fine art to photography and beyond. The prototypes of a Future of Fashion Incubator herald a digitally-forward industry that fuses fashion with technology and business to bring cutting edge immersive experiences to consumers and retailers.
Radicalism and fanaticism
Inspired by ‘Le ciel attendra’, a French film about women who become attracted to radical Islam, Vincent Lapp’s work is not the latest in modest fashion however, with Dazed coining the collection ‘glamorous gimps’. Luxurious fabrics replace rubber in a no-skin take on burlesque and explicit femininity.
Placing common tools used by young people to self-harm alongside their handwritten notes, photography graduate Jude Wacks confronts the statement made by self-harm through a series of portrait photographs of 18 to 20 year-olds who have all self-harmed during their time in secondary school.
One of the joint runners up for the L’Oréal Professionel Designer of the Year Award, Central Saint Martin’s René Scheibenbauer speaks of linking his designs with wellbeing, and a desire to create garments that are therapeutic and absorb the wearer.
London College of Fashion’s Marine Beybudyan, Mia Anderson and Ziling Tang are a trio of BA Textile students’ whose ‘Entanglement’ collection gives physical form to sensations of anxiety and mental health issues. The collection of garments is made from 100 per cent hand-dyed cotton rope and shaped using the knotting technique macramé. They are meant to make you feel that you are either trapped or uncomfortable in yourself.
London College of Fashion graduate, Carolina Raquel’s show muses on memory, wrongness and displacement and the relationship we have with our garments. Read more about her work and her thoughts on studying at UAL.
London College of Communication’s, Peppo Long’s giant sized close-up of the torso and genitalia of an unclothed non-binary sex worker was shot in Amsterdam earlier this year. His work comes from his own identity as a “self-identified queer” and a drive to be inclusive in his work and push questions around gender, identity and desire.
London College of Fashion womenswear graduate, Amari Carter takes on the female being with pieces constructed entirely from bra straps, bringing the private into the public.
Amelia Skarpellis and Alexandra Anderson: The London College of Fashion duo combined their talents in embroidery and textiles respectively to create a genderless punk silhouette for 2018. They crossed traditional knitting with newer materials including nylon and elastic for an updated take on the form that holds on to the spirit of 1980s rebellion.
Chloe Swords of Chelsea College of Arts dons a fat suit to tackle body shaming and what is means to be large, queer and ‘different’. Chloe says: “What I really want people to take away from this, especially young people, fat and queer people, is that they do not have to be defined by ideas of success in a very Western, very white, very straight and narrow kind of society. ”
Winner of the L’Oréal Professionnel Young Talent Award, Central Saint Martins’ Paolina Russo’s illusion knit collection was a love letter to Russo’s Canadian hometown, woven together from elbow pads, shin guards and protective gear to create structured outfits. The collection culminated in a crocheted dress that resembled an artful wearable soccer ball.
Putting different spin on sport and what it means to be male, Adam Baker at Wimbledon College of Arts, unveiled cheeky paintings set in team locker rooms.
Displacement and social issues
Displacement and survival themes are conveyed through waterproofs and outdoor fabrics inspired by life jackets and inflatable safety wear designed by London College of Fashion menswear graduate, Lingfeng Zhu.
Sebastian Garraway’s work ‘Peckham’ is a comment on gentrification and development in Peckham, South London. He speaks of a sterilisation of the community and the characteristics that make the city unique. See his work and that of students graduating from the Photojournalism & Documentary Photography BA2018 degree course at London College of Communication UAL on BBC News ‘In Pictures’.
UAL’s Summer Shows are the launchpad for the creative stars of the future, from the institution whose roll call of alumni includes the greatest names in art, fashion, design, performance and communication, from Alexander McQueen and Anish Kapoor, to Stella McCartney, James Dyson, Rankin and Tom Hardy.
2017 Turner Prize winner, Lubaina Himid is a UAL grad. The shows are the place to discover the newest names to know.
The shows offer the first chance to see the latest innovations, discover new trends, and spot the stars of the future from exhibitors drawn from almost 100 countries.
UAL Summer Shows are set up to guide established collectors and first time buyers, with each College offering staff on site to assist with purchases, and offer an opportunity to spot future masters at the start of their careers.
The shows draw more than 60,000 visitors from around the world each summer. UAL will take arts lovers from around the world behind the scenes at the shows with exclusive live coverage on social media.
#UALSummerShows highlight – Colleen Sohiez @cocosohiez, BA Graphic Communication @chelseaual. 'Grand Jeté' invites us to cast away any remaining archaic notions of masculinity. It is about rejecting stoicism in favour of expression which is symbolised throughout the video by images of movement. The viewer is an observer witnessing the characters' gradual emancipation. Chelsea College of Arts #MadeAtChelsea Undergraduate Degree Show is now on until 23 June. . . . #masculinity #degreeshow #graphicdesign #communication #communicationdesign #shortfilm #filmmaking
Recent UAL summer shows graduates have gone on to win prizes include Laure Provost’s Turner Prize, Catlin Art Prize winner Russell Hill, and New Sensations Art Prize winner Jonny Briggs.
The Queen sat on the front row of a fashion show for the first time in February this year. The designer was Richard Quinn, graduate of Central Saint Martins Foundation, BA Fashion and MA Fashion. She presented him with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design in recognition of the print studio he has set-up and opened to young designers and students for use.
These rising stars follow in the footsteps of contemporary masters whose work was first seen at UAL, including:
Artists: Steve McQueen, Anish Kapoor, Gilbert and George, Chris Ofili, Sarah Lucas, Peter Doig, Howard Hodgkin, Lucian Freud, Mona Hatoum, Antony Gormley, Richard Long, Maggi Hambling, Phyllida Barlow
Designers: James Dyson, Terence Conran
Fashion designers: Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, JW Anderson, Emilia Wickstead, John Galliano, Matthew Williamson
Performers and performance designers: Emilia Clarke, Simon Callow, Tom Hardy, Ann Marie Duff, Gwendoline Christie, Pierce Brosnan, Sarah Greenwood
Communicators: Rankin, Jefferson Hack, Helen Boaden, Peter Kindersley, Mervyn Peake, Charlene White, Scott King
See the full dates and locations for the summer-long celebration of art, design, fashion, communication and performance – across Camberwell College of Arts, Central Saint Martins, Chelsea College of Arts, London College of Communication, London College of Fashion and Wimbledon College of Arts.