The Kids are Alright: Central Saint Martins Debuts FW23 Collection at London Fashion Week
Twenty students at the notorious London institution debuted their collections on the British Fashion Council Catwalk, proving that the future of fashion is bound to be exciting.
A succession of artfully blurry Instagram photos announced the date and time of the Central Saint Martins MA Fashion program’s Fall/Winter Ready to Wear show. The collection, comprised of one hundred and nineteen looks from twenty graduating students in the MA program, debuted at London Fashion Week on Monday. The school worked in collaboration with corporate sponsors Canada Goose and L’Oreal to put on the show and also highlight the student designers through awards. Masters programs have become the place to look for clues about the direction and future of high fashion, and CSM is no exception. Having produced industry powerhouses such as Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Kim Jones, and newly appointed creative director of Burberry, Daniel Lee. The kids are alright, and they’re ushering in an exciting era of change in the fashion world.
The university’s encouragement of risk-taking is apparent in the designs that hit the London runway this week. Inflated shoes in neon colors, a massive prop hammer made of fabric, and fringe bandana neck pieces were just some of the standouts from this show. Abstract forms and shapes combined with masterful tailoring and silhouetting attest to the true skill of the designers. Traditional men’s and womenswear tailoring, silhouettes, and styles were taken into account and toyed with in several of the collections.
As tired as everybody is of it, the pandemic and its impact on us are still enormously present, and these collections were no exception. Living through such intense and terrifying global events has given many designers a distorted, semi-dystopian view on the world and the future, which translates into their work.
Being members of the most socially aware generation in history, it makes sense that the designers took stock of the state of the world around them and channeled their anxieties, fears, and hopes into their designs. Designer Oscar Onyang cites climate anxiety as a major drive behind his collection. Additionally, many of the designers in the program tapped their lineages and cultures as inspiration and thematic elements of their collections. In a cohort made up of students from around the globe, this inspiration translated in the form of an incredibly diverse viewing experience.
The CSM designers are resourceful, utilizing every single thing the world has to offer them. Whether that be repurposing menswear pieces, reusing traditional Jamaican tribal fabrics, or inventing entire AI entities to incorporate into a collection. In a time when any information you want could be yours in a matter of minutes, these up-and-comers are taking full advantage, and shifting the fashion world on its axis in the process.