Fresh out of fashion school, Katie Ann McGuigan is living every young designer’s dream. Her work being selected out of hundreds of applicants for Fashion Scout’s Merit Award, gave her the opportunity to showcase her new collection on the London Fashion Week schedule. Not only is this a big deal, but an amazing opportunity to kick off one’s career, getting a serious leg up on the competition. McGuigan’s graduate collection, citing inspiration from Michael Chelbin’s photography series Sailboats and Swans, impressed the panel leading her to win the coveted award. Known for her graphic prints, stately silhouettes and texture play, McGuigan is definitely one to watch.
As the lighting increases and the music fills the room, we are greeted with each look staying true to her aesthetic. The collection is heavily dominated with red, blue, yellow and orange prints formed from geometrical shapes, hints at traditional herringbone patterns and glitchy houndstooth. Fabric play combining the use of down, leather, vinyl, chiffon and wools, slashed and sewn through diagonal seams balanced print and fabric beautifully. Silhouettes were grand and classic, dresses cropped at the ankles and exuberant hinting at Dior’s new look of 1947, yet held traces of modern oversized sportswear. Each garment graphically showcased a variety of skills, laser cutting, digital screen printing and knitting to name a few.
McGuigan’s work is strong, recognisable and graphic. As an extension of her graduate collection, the body of work is balanced and clearly very technical. Each piece is so carefully detailed that it can only truly be appreciated up close to see the craftsmanship, time and effort put into each garment. This is what the fashion industry should aim to be about. In a climate that already pushes designers to their limits, creators need more time to produce something meaningful that lasts longer than a season. In an already oversaturated market, time is what will let young designers truly differentiate amongst themselves and hone down on their craft. Given more time and perhaps less of a choice, we may start to see things differently, appreciate things more and break out from this cycle of consumerism. We need to start questioning: why is it necessary to have so many collections a year? Why is there so much new product? Is this even relevant?
My challenge for you is this: step away from the fashion cycle, take time and appreciate the work. Treasure craftsmanship. Support young designers like Katie Ann McGuigan in perfecting their craft. Freeing them from the pressures of a ridiculous fashion schedule, giving them the space to truly create something meaningful, making this once great industry great again.
Review by Matthew Wong, photography by David PD Hyde.