Central Saint Martins’ White Show 2022: Five first year fashion students to have on your radar – Evening Standard

From walking chess pieces to devilish dragon-ladies, the college’s annual presentation took over Granary Square yesterday afternoon. We get to know this year’s crop of first year fashion students…
esterday evening Granary Square buzzed with a ruckus of CSM students, eagerly awaiting the annual White Show presentation. Inside the well-lit halls of the King’s Cross campus, the atmosphere was nothing short of electric. Students darted to and from design studios, phones in tow, ready to capture the all-white offerings. One by one, models ascended the runway in a flurry of alabaster looks and invited the audience to join them on a joyous play date—in keeping with this year’s concept, “The Playground”.
A tradition for the past 20 years, the White Show annually showcases the work of over 150 first year fashion students —cementing itself as one of the most anticipated events in the school’s calendar. What’s more, the show itself is organised by first year Fashion Communication students, who dream up a concept and are responsible for the execution of the show.
Tutors and industry experts alike see the annual presentation as an opportunity to spot upcoming talent. Many creatives have been headhunted off the back of the White Show— it was, after all, the birthplace of Harris Reed’s trademark wide-brimmed hat.
The school’s projects and programmes are renowned for being rigorous— with the White Show tipped as one of the most demanding (talk about baptism of fire). With limitations in time, materials and most significantly, colour, designers are challenged to create an all-white garment in under three weeks. This is a deliberate decision, made by tutors, to forge precision and perfectionism in students whilst undertaking their first year of university.
In celebration of the school’s emerging talent, ES magazine speaks to some of this year’s cohort to find out more about their creative process.
Womenswear student Polina Kadilnikova embodies the playful spirit of the show and more— and in the shape of keys, charging ports and earphone cables.
The Ukrainian-born designer wants to take the everyday— in all its mundanity— and transform it into the unusual. Everyday possessions are given new meaning. Overenlarged, stuffed and then suspended from a plated backpiece. Phones jut out from the shoulders and fall down toward the waist— literally and metaphorically dialling up the mood.
“We are so precious about our possessions,” says Kadilnikova, eager to defang the fear of lost objects with a garment that is visually amusing. “People treat random objects religiously, like phones and computers. This is an alternative to the idea that people are holy towards their own stuff.”
Dragons cannot be slain? Apparently not – judging from Grace Findlay’s White Show garment which stormed the streets of CSM taking no mercy.
On a recent trip to Norway, the young designer was inspired by Scandinavian mythology and the symbol of the Níðhöggr, a mediaeval dragon depicted on stave walled churches. Over the course of the project, 750 scales were cut by hand with pointed precision and fashioned onto a 22 inch figure-hugging corset — sure to delight even the most ferocious of warriors.
“I wanted to create this church of the dragoness that is a reclamation of taking up space. She’s this high priestess who embodies female sin, gluttony and devilishness,” says Findlay. “I couldn’t breathe backstage because it is so heavy to wear but it’s been the most fulfilling project I’ve ever done and I wanted to carry it and embody that priestess energy.”
It’s been the most fulfilling project I’ve ever done, I wanted to embody that priestess energy.
Inspired by his childhood love of chess games, Hume takes the pieces off the board and onto the runway in his first fashion foray. Unlike the traditional board game, his design doesn’t rely on chance nor jeopardy— rather, it is a practice in precision.
Crafted from suede, the garment is one carefully constructed, continuous net. First, the designer created and cut a pattern. Then came the hard part: fusing the pieces into a singular rigid base, before finally folding and stitching. The result is completely boundary-breaking. A life-sized, triangular shape that removes all semblance of the wearer’s form.
“I wanted to develop what I loved as a child and create a piece that was  completely my own,” says the young designer. “This shape just developed and developed and developed, and is a geometric counterpoint to the organic nature of the person wearing it.”
“I imagined a universe where there is no conception of good and evil,” says Shane Alias. When it came to conceptualising his project, the New York born designer looked towards spirituality for inspiration, fashioning a huge enclave of jersey and poly-cotton— a liminal and physical space. The true standout piece, though, was an oversized lipped hat worn atop a full facial covering.
The Fashion Design with Marketing student believes the concept of innocence and sin is particularly pertinent today: “I wanted to translate this idea into one cohesive, where both ideologies live in harmony,” he says, igniting a message of hope and clarity amongst the audience.
Lily Yeung’s knitted ancestral dress is one to keep on our radar.
In a return to tradition, the budding designer looks towards her mixed parentage and Navajo heritage. “This is a metaphor for a vessel that will hold something imperfectly and lose something over time,” says the designer in reference to her motherland of Native America.
Having spent two years interning at natural dyers, Yeung merged modern techniques with the traditional handicraft of weaving. With a commitment to craftsmanship, she created her own textile from a roster of inspiration including forgotten fabric scraps, basket-treating and ceramics.
Deadstock materials were intricately woven into an off-the shoulder slouchy dress with billowing sleeves and recycled knee-high stockings. “The making process was my favourite, doing something really tactile like knitting I found to be really relaxing,” says the first-year designer, who wants to continue reviving ancestral techniques during her studies. We’ll watch this space…
Head to @fccsm and @playground_22 to keep up to date
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