13 March 2016

Oxford Fashion Week AW16

My two favourite designers from the 7pm show

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Oxford Fashion Studio, the city's most notable producer of fashion events, is a major player in scooping up fresh designer talent and putting it out on an international platform for press and buyers alike to see. This year I was lucky enough to attend one of their shows at Oxford Fashion Week, and in doing so discovered two particular labels whose current and future projects I am incredibly excited to see. They are as follows:

Rochelle Nicole

Rochelle Minors has gone from Miss Bermuda 2012 to design apprentice to brand owner in a mere four years, and in spite of her relative newcomer status to the industry the designs she has brought to the table are both highly polished and original. This first collection, titled 'Window,' features a combination of soft, bright colours, blocky shapes, airy fabric, and thin plastics inspired by the windows of Bermudan buildings. The clothes' resemblance to their architectural counterparts is even more visible when viewing the two side by side.

Yu Universe

This second collection from UEL Fashion Design graduate Keishin Hoshiko sees dark colours, loose yet defined shapes, heavier fabrics, and open seams in an ensemble which, when paired with chunky, white sneakers, give off something of a toned-down Rick Owens vibe. I managed to catch Keishin after the show for a few brief questions about the inspiration behind her designs:

Your personal style and your brand are quite similar - has the former influenced the latter?
Yes. I like the idea that you don't have to wear something uncomfortable to be dressed well. I'd often put on one of my dad's big coats to go out to the shops and find myself liking that feeling of something big, baggy, and snug. When I'm shopping I always think about whether it's comfortable, if it's itchy, if it's soft, stuff like that. How it looks is also very important: 'Is it a good fit? Does it make me look good?'

Who are some of your favourite designers?
I love Issey Miyake, he's a genius. I can't really compare myself to him but I think he captures the relationship between clothing and daily life really well, and I'm very inspired by that.

How long have you been making clothes?
I've been out of university for about a year and half and including this one I've done two collections since graduating, but I've been making stuff my whole life. Even as a child I used to make outfits for my toys to wear.

Why did you choose to use organic materials and make sustainable pieces?
Because it's just the way that things have to be. It seems so wrong and backwards that we aren't more environmentally friendly; I think the world has to move in that direction, and it is - people are more aware of environmental issues - but it's difficult to make sustainable choices when there aren't enough of them to begin with.

Thanks to Oxford Fashion Studio and all the featured designers for putting on a truly amazing show. To see more from Rochelle Nicole and and Yu Universe, check out their websites here and here.