Fashion and technology have always had a mutually beneficial relationship, from the Spinning Jenny of the Georgian era and the textile mills of the Victorian era to the 3D printing and dye colouring techniques of today. Supported by the Mayor of London, Concept to Catwalk was a challenge open to London students at Key Stage 3 and 4. Students explored that relationship and create new and exciting fashions fit for contemporary living while taking inspiration from London’s rich textile and fashion heritage.
The V&A is partnered with Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Material Futures at Central Saint Martins and MyKindaCrowd to challenge London schools to create a collection of clothing that reflects twenty-first century lifestyles and technology led innovation in fashion. Schools took advantage of specially produced online resources, visits to our archives, an inspiration day featuring some of London’s most exciting designers and exclusive teachers’ evenings at the V&A to support them in creating their spectacular pieces. Entries from schools were shortlisted by an expert panel and then had the opportunity to work with MA students and mentors from Central Saint Martins to produce their collections and display them at a final fashion event in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Students from across London displayed designs inspired by London and V&A at a glamorous event at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. With close to a thousand students entering the competition, seven finalist teams worked with mentors from Central Saint Martins’ MA Material Futures to create stunning pieces that brought together London influences, cutting edge fashion technology and stylish tailoring.
Judges including design entrepreneur Wayne Hemingway, V&A fashion curator Oriole Cullen and design commentator Caroline Till, were dazzled by the quality of designs from the next generation of fashion designers. At the event at the Park’s London Aquatics Centre, seven pieces were showcased with the winner announced as Ayeisha Khalifa from The Ellen Wilkinson School, in Ealing. Ayeisha was presented with a bespoke 3D printed Concept to Catwalk trophy produced by Wonderluk.
Almost 1,000 students entered the competition from which just 7 were picked to work with mentors from MA Material Futures. The mentors helped the students to realise their designs by introducing them to new materials and processes and leading them through the process of conceptualising their work. Students collaborated in different ways, visiting the new Central Saint Martins’ campus in Kings Cross, working after school and recording their process to share as part of their displays at the final event.
The final catwalk show showcased the final creations in a spectacular style. Inspiration came from far and wide: from the Olympic Park’s architecture and Brick Lane graffiti to Edwardian fashion in the V&A and wearable technology. Ayeisha Khalifa’s winning entry used collaged digital prints of street art collected in East London tailored to form a futuristic shillouette.
This was a partnership project between Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Victoria and Albert Museum, MA Material Futures, Central Saint Martins and MyKindaCrowd and forms part of the Mayor’s Challenge programme.