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BA (Hons) Menswear students make Selfridges Class of 2020

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Fashion illustration with fabrics
Fashion illustration with fabrics
Fashion illustration with fabrics
Written by
J Tilley
Published date
23 June 2020

"Having more free time has allowed me to focus on the aspects of my work that needed improvement and focus on my identity as a designer. One thing I will take away from this experience is the importance of the ability to adapt." - Mapalo Ndhlovu BA (Hons) Menswear.

The graduating Class of 2020 will be remembered not only for their incredible work, but for their ability to show resilience and adaptability during such unprecedented times. Before we kick off with our LCF Class of 2020 campaign, Selfridges have selected 2 BA (Hons) Fashion Design Technology: Menswear students to be a part of their chosen Class of 2020. We caught up with both Linnea Nordquist and Mapalo Ndhlovu about their final projects and how they found the experience.

Mapalo Ndhlovu
Can you tell us about your project? 

I would describe my collection as a fusion between traditional work wear and African street style. The project was inspired by the Herero tribe of Namibia, a tribe that incorporates uniforms of their German colonisers into their traditional robe, this is something that is visually captivating as there is a great contrast between culture, history and the need for functionality. I wanted my collection to extend the narrative of these contrasting factors.

How has life been the past few months in lockdown? What will you take away from this time? 

Life in lock down has been a challenging time, On the one hand the quarantine has limited all of us from practising our fundamental crafts which has been really disheartening as it has meant having to reconsider or postpone making collections we have envisioned for some time. However on the other hand, having more free time has allowed me to focus on the aspects of my work that needed improvement and focus on my identity as a designer. One thing I will take away from this experience is the importance of the ability to adapt.

How has LCF equipped you with the skills ready for the industry? 

Studying at LCF the work load has always been a lot, at first when I came here it felt as though it was overwhelming and I struggled to keep up, however being in an environment with supportive classmates and facilities that you can push yourself to improve on, I've come to realise that the intensity in the pace of work was the perfect conditioning that I needed to be able to adjust the the fluctuating pace of the fashion industry.

What are your hopes for the fashion industry in the next 10 years? 

In the next 10 years I hope that fashion becomes a lot more diverse and inclusive, Since moving to London I've had a great opportunity to meet so many talented creatives of different race and class, I hope to see these same people working in the industry and representing their culture and heritage to the extent that it is normalised. As well as this I hope that the industry takes a major step back from fast fashion, in this current climate we over consume fashion in a very short period of time and ignoring the repercussions that it has environmentally as well as ethically, with worker exploitation. The fashion model needs to become sustainable and transparent, moving towards design for longevity.

What would your advice be to anyone looking to join LCF and follow in your steps?

The biggest piece of advice I would give to someone looking to join LCF is to never give up and accept that you will fail before you will succeed. Living in London can be hectic and confusing on top of the work load within fashion, but the most important thing is to just to stay true to yourself and focus on your self progression rather than success.

Linnea Nordquist
How did the feature with Selfridges come about? 

Selfridges selected 2 students from the top 3 fashion schools in London. They wanted to showcase sustainable and thoughtful concepts and my collection work touches a few areas within upcycling and repurposing.

Could you tell us about your project?

I made my graduate collection out of old wedding dresses. The wedding day is such a special moment, and the dress is an important choice. It is all about that one day, and after that, the dress loses its value and becomes just a piece of memory. To reuse all the beautiful fabric, lace and embroidery of old wedding dresses became an important idea for me as repurposing is important and interesting for me. I have also used old nylon tights in my collection, it is also a garment that has a short time of purpose before it gets lost, but in a very different way than a wedding dress. To use two important items from a traditional women wardrobe and put it in a menswear context felt like a really interesting mission for me. My graduate collection is built upon my first fashion memory in life. Watching Eurovision Song Contest on the TV and listening to ABBA on the stereo. Show and performance were my first meetings with dressing up and it had a big impact on me.

How has life been the past few months in lockdown? What will you take away from this time? 

From spending 12 hours a day in uni studios surrounded by people - to be forced to work at home in a small room without all the equipment needed - It was a drastic change! The positive change has been my stress levels, which drastically dropped throughout the lockdown compared to the normal life. Making a collection from home is a big trial but It worked out in a way in the end. But I have been missing my friends and the ENERGY that Curtain Road has. Just to see cool and inspiring people every day is a loss during lockdown that I loved with being in uni all days.

How has LCF equipped you with the skills ready for the industry? 

During my 3 years at the London College of Fashion, I have met so many talented people, and I am grateful to now have a big community of friends, that helps and supports each other. To have access to the studios has been the most important thing, and the long rewarding hours there has given me so many skills to develop in my future career. The menswear course is like a family and it has always been a strong feeling of community.

What are your hopes for the fashion industry in the next 10 years? 

Fashion stands for a big change. It needs to go back to step 1 and thoughtfully refine everything. Climate crisis, a global pandemic, and a humanity movement. Fashion needs to consider every part of its making, resources, and influences as well as the community behind it. I think its gonna be a time now when everything is trying to find their place in this new environment, but it will come up with new and amazing ideas in time. Fashion can never be fully sustainable, but there is so much more we can do. Diversity and ethics should be the core of every fashion brand.

What would your advice be to anyone looking to join LCF and follow in your steps? 

Make use of your years! Be in the studios all the time, talk to everyone in the machine rooms, be best friends with the technicians, ask hundreds of questions to the tutors. Run after the tutors in the corridor to ask even more questions and listen to their wise words. Don’t look at it as just a course, it is your life, your work, and your amazing opportunity to learn! Don’t be afraid to fail! Find your way of working, and be the best one of working in that way. Question everything(but be kind)!

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