MA Fashion Artefact and MA Footwear graduates in the spotlight for London Craft Week
As part of London Craft Week, a group of MA Fashion Artefact and MA Footwear graduates had their work featured as part of a specially curated showreel. The students included Yuzhao Huang and Raasmia Haque from MA Footwear, and Zhongyang Zhao, Chris Bronstein, Iga Kampa and Leyi Chen from MA Fashion Artefact.
Founded in 2015, the London Craft Week festival features over 250 cutting edge designers across disciplines ranging from Fine Art to Ceramics. Lectures, exhibitions, and workshops were hosted across the city in early October.
MA Fashion Artefact has been labelled as a “unique course dedicated to developing and making contemporary fashion products”. London Craft Week said, "this selection of graduate work demonstrates the broad spectrum of creative and craft practise nurtured on the MA Programs, exploring themes that address material and critical culture, the body, the role of objects within fashion and possibilities of transformation in our lives."
We spoke to four of the featured students for a snapshot into the inspirations behind their projects, while asking how it felt to be included as part of London Craft Week.
Yuzhao Huang - MA Footwear
This is a collection of 5 decorative homeware pieces, designed using high-heel language with mechanical elements that can transfer the pieces between forms and create unexpected movements.
In summer 2019, I travelled across Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Serbia to visit 14 ‘Spomeniks’ built in the former Yugoslav era. These abandoned World War II monuments made me feel reborn.
In this project, I want to create a collection of 'Objects of Wonder' that can deliver the feeling of rebirth. This project also explores a new direction of footwear design by seeing high heels as engineering homeware products in the fashion context. This collection can fit in the homeware market for a high-end fashion brand as part of the brand’s lifestyle identity.
It feels special to see my own work being shown in London Craft Week as I’m working on a project that is also part of the London Craft Week but under the company’s name. I feel recognised.
Coming from China with a very developed food culture, I am interested in exploring the connection between food, perception, time and space, and memory. I think that choosing important foods and cooking is a kind of "self-metaphor" to think about the relationship between oneself and others. Constructing one's identity is a symbolic practice and value shaping process that travels through time.
Rice serves both as a kind of tribute and a kind of gratitude and as my material of choice - it is a way to communicate my mind and body. That is, as a biomaterial, it can be degraded, which can inspire us to think about the artefact, the environment, nature, and human beings themselves.
Through London Craft Week, I came to know that how brilliant craftsmen and artists are enthusiastic around the world. It motivated me two years ago. Now, it is hard to believe that I could get this chance to share my work on this platform with craftsmen I admire! It really gives me great encouragement and support!
Iga Kampa - MA Fashion Artefact
My collection is titled Fałda (/fawda/). Fałda is a polish word that can describe the in-between state before folding that can refer to a material or a fold of skin. The project title, Falda is a reference to the theory of Fold by French postmodern philosopher Deleuze. This project looks to translate Deleuze's ideas into fashion practice. The aim is to explore through leather craft the relationship and mutual influence between the fashion artefact and the wearer - the perception of his/her body.
Having my work featured on London Craft Week is a great honour and it makes me really proud to be a part of such a prestigious event and having my name mentioned among all the amazing makers, designers and artists. I am closely following the events and talks this year and find them very inspiring as I am constantly looking to expand my making skills and develop my creative practice.
The project is called ‘The Orchard’, with the final two outputs bearing the same name. It consists of a physical and digital artefact which attempt to generate inter-subjective empathy and act as vessels for cathartic release, bringing awareness to the plight of living with mental health issues. Taking my own struggles, spurred by personal issues surrounding identity, sexuality and trauma, I researched their influence on my consumption of luxury fashion products. The artefacts serve as an idiosyncratic response to my relationship with the contemporary fashion landscape.
I am extremely grateful to have been featured in LCW 2021. Most of my work happens using digital mediums, with the decision of whether or not elements should be materialised physically being left to the final stages of my projects. This approach, I believe, is somewhat different from much of the work at LCW, where makers control their materials using their hands right from the start. Being featured in LCW this year is a testament to the growing recognition of the craftsmanship that goes into working with 3D CAD (computer-aided design) software and I feel very appreciative and humbled to be featured alongside such dedicated and passionate craftspeople.