As fashionistas gather in New York, London, Milan and Paris for the start of the Fashion Week season, young designers of the future from Newcastle High School for Girls (NHSG) have presented their own annual Art and Design Fashion Show.
Showcasing their fashion collections inspired by themes such as race, medicine, the human body and Formula 1, alongside inspiration from the work of a variety of artists, the designs took centre stage in the school’s highly anticipated annual catwalk show.
Taking place on Wednesday 15 February, the fully choreographed show highlighted the creative talent of over 80 pupils representing years 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13.
Audiences, including staff, pupils, parents and the general public, were treated to five final year collections from NHSG’s Textile Design A Level cohort – a unique academic offering that enables students to design and create a fashion collection from initial concept through to garment-making and runway show
In addition, girls from years 9 to 12 showcased their work during the event – a culmination of their creative endeavours during the school year, with Year 9 pupils producing work inspired by acclaimed artists, and Year 12 pupils individually interpreting a shared theme of ‘past and future’.
While the design and fabrication of all garments has been done entirely by the girls, the Fashion Show also demonstrated their skills in event planning, staging, music and lighting.
NHSG, which has an outstanding reputation as a centre of creative excellence, sees many of its pupils following Art and Fashion related courses.
Among the final year students presenting their collections was 17 year old Macey Mennell whose beautiful designs have been inspired by Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
Macey, who is from Durham, said:
“My collection is based on Alice in Wonderland, a story that I have loved since childhood. I love all of Tim Burton’s films. I love the sci-fi element, the features, and particularly in Alice in Wonderland, the whimsical nature, dimensions and size swapping between large and small. I wanted to create a collection that would be fun and keep me entertained throughout the process. I was so excited for everyone to see my collection for the first time at the Fashion Show. I am hoping to go on to study Fashion Design, with the aim of designing colourful collections and styling for a big brand, or maybe even my own label one day, who knows.”
Joining Macey in the catwalk was 18 year old Evie Ford who is from Bedlington. Her arresting 70s style collection was more than impressive and she hopes to use the experience to work at one of the Big Four fashion shows in the future.
Evie said: “I’ve been obsessed with faces since Art and Design GCSE going on to study Graphics and Textiles at A Level. I love the eyes in particular, and the patterns and light of each individual pair of eyes. That’s why I have created my Fashion Show collection called ‘Optical’. It combines optical illusion with neon lights in a sort of 70s style. I am going on to do Fashion Marketing after my A Levels, hopefully at UAL. The dream would be to work on the world’s fashion weeks, like London, New York and Paris.”
Many NHSG alumnae have gone on to enjoy successful careers in fashion, a highly competitive industry that contributes over £29 billion to the UK economy. Among the school’s former pupils are Lauren Anderson, Charis Younger, Evie Turley, Jenni Moore, Chloe Cooper and Caroline Legg, who all currently work in fashion or are studying for a degree in fashion. Highly successful designer Fiona Sinha also attended NHSG before going on to study fashion at the prestigious Central Saint Martins, where she met design partner Aleksandar Stanic and, together, under their label SinhaStanic, they went on to work for Alexander McQueen’s McQ label.
Alison Goldie, Head of Art at NHSG, said: “The Fashion Show is always one of my favourite parts of the academic year. I am always so proud of and inspired by the students and enjoy seeing how all of their hard work throughout their course accumulates in their final pieces for the show. It really gives them the opportunity to showcase their ideas and how they have imagined and created their work not only as a highly creative outfit, but also as a performance piece.”