The class of ’23 at Manchester Met’s Manchester Fashion Institute is showcasing its creativity this week with 3D printed chrome, waste bin textiles and homegrown wearable cress among the stand-out designs on display at Manchester’s New Century Hall.
Manchester Met’s ‘COEXIST’ Graduate Showcase kicked off with a high impact catwalk show presenting the final year collections of Manchester Fashion Institute’s design and communication students to influential industry bosses.
Highlights included BA Fashion Design and Technology student Simone James’s biodegradable hoodies and harnesses made from cress she grew at home through linen offcut fabric – an experimental process resulting in showstopping one-off pieces.
Meanwhile, fellow student Ben Rudderham embarked on an ambitious 3D printing project at the University’s digital manufacturing centre PrintCity to create his elaborate alien-like chrome masks and body pieces.
All of the COEXIST collections incorporate themes including digital futures, sustainability and community, and for the first year ever are being showcased off campus, taking over the NOMA district of Manchester including New Century Hall, Sadlers Yard and the Dantzic Building with two large catwalk shows, and exhibitions that are open to the public.
Speaking of her cress garments, student Simone James said: “They were a happy accident after I brainstormed how to incorporate nature and biodesign into my collection. I set up a makeshift greenhouse at home and placed linen over cress seeds.
“To my surprise, they soon sprouted through the fabric to form a layer of greenery that gives textural interest, and visually communicates a connection to the outdoors in an increasingly digital world. It looks its best for 24 hours so is great for a one-off event – then the roots can be removed, and the material worn on its own.”
The process for fellow student Ben Rudderham’s spectacular metallic designs was more technical, but no less sustainable. He explained: “I designed and edited my chrome pieces using digital software, which was realised using 3D printing technology at PrintCity.
“It was a long and complex process, with my head piece taking 36 hours to print, and my chest piece split into four printing blocks, each taking 27 hours. I’m thrilled with the result, which was influenced by the idea that you can find strange, alien concepts in everyday life.”
Ben, Simone and their fellow students are hoping their designs catch the attention of a panel of industry judges, who cast their expert eyes over the collections at the catwalk shows on Tuesday 16 May.
They will shortlist a total of 30 standout collections, with the selected students going on to show their work at London’s Graduate Fashion Week in June, where there is the opportunity to win an array of prestigious prizes.
Professor Liz Barnes, Head of Manchester Fashion Institute, said: “It’s wonderful to be able to come together and celebrate the amazing work of our 2023 graduates. Being able to move our showcase off campus and into the creative and cultural heart of the city is a huge achievement, and testament to how highly our students are valued.
“We are enormously proud of what they have achieved, which was reflected in the outstanding catwalk shows. We can’t wait to see the result of their creativity and hard work in the upcoming exhibitions.”
For the first time ever, Manchester Met’s fashion graduate showcase is open to the general public, with an outdoor exhibition in Sadler’s Yard (17 – 21 May) following the catwalk shows at New Century Hall.