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The Next Generation: Vivien Canadas & Horace Page

Meet the ones to watch from Central Saint Martins Class of 2021.

For this year’s graduating Central Saint Martins students, debuting during a global pandemic would have been impossible to predict. Faced with a year of limited contact hours, Zoom classes, being cut off from equipment and technical support, and robbed of their much deserved runway finales, the programme’s 33 strong cohort have shown a powerful resilience and spirit to bring their creative visions to life.

“Working through lockdowns and life behind screens may have limited our ways” says Fabio Piras, CSM MA Fashion course director, “but it certainly didn’t affect the attitude and the belief that we can only embrace the moment and make it greater. That is what the Class of 2021 just did – uncompromisingly within the compromise – enabling us all to move forward together fearlessly.”

Missing out on perhaps the highlight of all CSM student’s degree; showing their final collections in the college’s eagerly observed annual London Fashion Week show, this year’s showcase is a little different. Whilst many collections have been shown as films over the past few fashion seasons, the 2021 MA presentations came as an immersive and interactive exhibition which rendered Granary Square in 3D digital format. Featuring a greeting from cult fashion enigma, Michèle Lamy, who utters the words, “The future is now”, guests move into a final foyer with multiple doorways from which each designer’s collections are unveiled.

Joining the ranks of Alexander McQueen, Phoebe Philo and Kim Jones, there’s a few names from this year’s alumni that we recommend keeping an eye on.

Solly Warner spoke with two designers from the CSM MA Fashion Class of 2021 who have particularly proven that creativity can still flourish even in the most difficult of times.

 Vivien Canads Horace Page

 

 

How would you describe your graduate collection and what are its central themes?

My collection is called ‘“A sip of fresh air” —From the heart of the city, an escape to a fantasy countryside. It is a playful and personal invitation for a City Getaway.  In less than a century, humanity has completely transformed its natural habitat by escaping the countryside in favour of the city. A radical mutation that built some form of nostalgia. My collection explores how the ideal of a life at the countryside redefines and transforms the concept of modernity. A celebration of the bridge between traditions and Mankind’s (odd?)  progress. 

The wind is blowing and taking everything on its way. Full skirts are flying, coats are pushed on the front of the body. “A sip of fresh air” is also about re-iterating our temperamental relationships to the elements. 

 

Vivien Canada

What is your favourite piece from the collection, and can you tell us why?

I think my favourite piece of the collection might be the orange voluminous skirt. When worn on the body, this garment takes another dimension. The movement of the body accentuates the generosity of the volumes and creates the illusion that the wind is blowing in the skirt. 

 

How did you find developing and creating your collection during the pandemic?

Developing the collection has been challenging. Sourcing fabrics was not the easiest and working in a limited space with limited facilities not ideal. However, I am lucky to be able to do what I do. Creating something is no matter what not an easy road. Being flexible and learning how to enjoy every step of the way are key. 

 

vivien canadas 

You are graduating amongst a generation that is more open to discussions around race, gender, sexuality, and identity in fashion than ever before. How has the past year changed your perspective on the role of fashion and how do you hope to explore such conversations in your work?

As fashion designers we are not only developing garments, we are creating a world. As a matter of fact, it is essential to take part to the ongoing conversations and reflect on what message I am spreading through my work. It appeared essential in my process to understand who I am and what I represent in order to support a progressive message that acknowledge and elevate others no matter which gender, race, sexuality etc. 

This year's MA collections were presented in an immersive, scroll-through, online space.

 

How do you see the future fashion landscape and the further digitalisation of collections and shows?

The pandemic has accelerated the process of change in the fashion industry. More than a digitalization, I think we have opened a very exciting door where designers are trying to find new ways of presenting, producing and selling their work to the world. These changes are the opportunity to rethink the fashion landscape where new and small actors will be more valued.

Horace Page

 

 How would you describe your graduate collection and what are its central themes?

It's a fusion of the British countryside and the British city. Looking at materials and garments associated with history and the symbols of the upper class (18th Century military dress wear, hunting attire) and repurposing them to apply to the street. It's meant to examine how alienated these 2 worlds are from one another. As someone who's lived in London all my life it was interesting for me at the time to look outside.

The idea of treating the formal in an informal way and taking the control and structure out of things. I wanted to see materials and garments associated with British tradition be appropriated by casual clothing. Classic films like Barry Lyndon and Trainspotting, made me look at the idea of a characters free will or lack of it, and how that plays out in their life depending on the circumstance they were born into.  Wool suiting is boiled to remove the structure and leave garments that don't need looking after- they can be scrunched up and worn right after. Donegal tweed is sliced open across windbreaker nylon garments leaving the raw edges to fray together. Second-hand knitwear is embroidered under nylons and cut through to reveal their colours and then boiled to distort and shrink the shapes.

 

What is your favourite piece from the collection, and can you tell us why

Probably this boiled bomber jacket. The appliqued design on it is taken from 18th Century tailored regalia clothing, and the jacket has been draped from a bomber jacket to fit like it is upside down. I like these 2 things working in unison as a way of looking at time passed and the distance we have come.

How did you find developing and creating your collection during the pandemic?

It was difficult at first, with most equipment and materials suddenly becoming completely out of reach again. Because of this I really went with the flow of what was possible with what I had, and in a way, this put a lot less pressure on the whole thing.

 

You are graduating amongst a generation that is more open to discussions around race, gender, sexuality, and identity in fashion than ever before. How has the past year changed your perspective on the role of fashion and how do you hope to explore such conversations in your work?

This collection is meant to make the inaccessible accessible. I was evaluating where masculine power lies in the elite and then looking at ways to break it down and soften it - something I think is slowly starting to happen all aspects of culture at this moment in time.

 

This year's MA collections were presented in an immersive, scroll-through, online space. How do you see the future fashion landscape and the further digitalisation of collections and shows?

I think it's inevitable that there will be more and more digital shows even alongside physical ones. Realistically fashion currently has the most outreach through Instagram, so that will lead what everybody does, good or bad. Hopefully people don't just design from an algorithms perspective of what will get the quickest attention.

 

INTERVIEW & WORDS BY SOLLY WARNER

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