September 05 2011
Help for our fledgling fashion talent increasingly comes from the thriving designer-outlet industry. The latest to give future stars a showcase is McArthurGlen, which has seven outlet fashion centres around the country. It has run the Spirit of Fashion competition for recent alumni of the Royal College of Art with the promise of commercial-scale production for the winning designs. It also provided a year’s mentoring and promotion advice. Altruistically, it is not expecting potential customers to travel to its mainly out-of-town locations but is marketing the winners’ limited-edition collections in a series of city-centre pop-up shops, the first of which opens in London on September 7.
The brief was to rework fashion classics and Rachael Barrett, who graduated two years ago, takes a modern look at nostalgic school uniform, with a series of eight easy and classy pieces in silk or wool, from silk vests and T-shirts in nude or cinnamon (first picture, £110), through a classic yet topical pleated skirt (£195) to an elegant shift dress based on a gymslip (£225); 100 examples of each style will be sold. Carolyn Massey has established a reputation for her “reinvented gentleman” menswear since launching her own label in 2006 and revisits the granddad shirt with fine details such as side-seam gussets and a removable silver chain, in two colourways (£150) – 200 of each. Matthew Miller, who showed at London Fashion Week this year, is an innovative cutter who designed his “perfect white shirt” (second picture, £150) with intricate 3-D software to reduce waste and be cost-effective, as a challenge to industry methods – edition of 200.