Meet the DUCFS 2021 Fashion Team

October 8, 2020

In our first fashion column, the fashion team weigh in on their favourite ways to shop sustainably and their best charity shop finds, as well as their favourite runway show from the past season and the direction they plan to take their respective roles in this year.

A Yves Saint Laurent Blazer for £8? Only our fashion team could do it. They are without a doubt some of the best-dressed people we know, and this new column is dedicated to their impeccable taste and discerning eye, commitment to sustainability and cultural insight. 

Coming straight from the DUCFS 2021 fashion team, expect sartorial inspiration, tips on shopping ethically and sustainably, insight into our chosen 2021 designers and so much more.

Georgia Taylor, Head of Fashion

What activities have helped you stay creative or inspired over the past summer?

I have found being involved in the DUCFS summer shoots incredibly inspiring, being around so much creative energy being able to be a part of it was such a great experience. On top of this spending time in the big city (I am from Devon so London seems very exciting comparatively) and being able to visit the galleries and do some sketching has really kept me sane. 

DUCFS Summer Shoot, 23/8/20

I particularly enjoyed the Saatchi Gallery’s London Grads Now exhibition, consisting predominantly of artwork created during the national lockdown. The work was incredibly personal - this gave the entire exhibition a uniquely accessible quality. I know I personally did a lot of sewing during lockdown, too, and it is certainly something I hope to continue to do as a mode of relaxation. 

What direction do you plan on taking your role in this year?

I would like the opportunity to really engage with the designers we represent on a more personal level. Especially with Covid-19 hugely impacting many young designers we are hoping to showcase it is more important than ever to be understanding and supportive of their creative journeys.

How are you going to take the Power of Technology to inspire the show’s fashion?

The Power of Technology theme could not be more fitting for the 2021 show - all of us now basically live on Zoom! So much of our post-Covid-19 world relies on technology for face to face communication. When looking for designers to feature on the runway I am looking for futuristic design and silhouettes. This year we are really hoping to experiment with some otherworldly eye-wear so stay posted for our brand releases!

How does the Power of Technology inspire your own wardrobe? 

My commitment to sustainable fashion consumption is almost entirely down to online initiatives such as #lovedclotheslast launched by our previous charity partner Fashion Revolution. I found that my changed consumption habits have been hugely influenced by ideas I have read about online and on sustainable fashion instagram pages. I particularly recommend @storiesbehindthings who regularly share ‘snews’- sustainability news! 

How do you shop sustainably? 

I have been shopping almost entirely second-hand for a number of years now and honestly it gets easier with time. I shop predominantly from the charity shop and then sometimes from Depop and Ebay if there is something specific I am looking for! Shopping sustainably really does not need to be super expensive or even difficult; it just takes an open mind and a willingness to look through swathes of second-hand garments the majority of which should be left in 2007! Stay tuned for my ‘Top-tips for Thrifting in Durham’ article coming soon! 

What’s your favourite item in your wardrobe? 

I think it would have to be my vintage Yves Saint Laurent blazer that I bought from the charity shop on North Road for £8. Shortly followed by my vintage (80s label) Karl Largerfeld shirt bought for £2 in the same charity shop on North Road!

Izzy Taylor, Menswear Director 

What was your favourite runway show from this past season?

I was obsessed with Christopher Kane’s SS21 presentation as it shows Fashion in it’s authentic state; Art. 

During lockdown he went out into his garden and painted obsessively, for enjoyment, not caring about whether what he was doing was rubbish or not. This ultimately inspired a small collection using the work he’d made as prints on the fabric. Stay tuned for my article on how luxury brands responded to the pandemic!

Number one recommended item of clothing for a Durham student? 

A versatile coat! It’s so cold and to have a coat you can throw on with any outfit is ideal. I have a long wool pea coat which elevates trackies and a hoodie for going to lectures but I can also dress up with a nice outfit if I have a more formal event.

How do you shop sustainably? 

I love Vestiaire and The RealReal for more statement items and use the Good on You app to check the environmental rating of a brand if I’m buying new.

What activities have helped you stay creative or inspired over the past summer?

I have been to some really exciting events this summer which reinforced my belief in the resilience of creatives! A group of CSM students put on an exhibition style show called ‘Twenty-four Days Later: The charms of horror only suit the strong,’ and I was blown away by the quality and ability to create such incredible garments in such a tough time. 

Graduate Fashion Foundation showroom in partnership with Graduate Fashion Week

What new direction do you want to take the role in?

I’m keen to include more androgynous and gender fluid silhouettes to challenge what is traditionally viewed as Menswear. I think especially somewhere like Durham, to champion this could give a lot of people a welcome boost to use fashion to express themselves in a different way.

What up and coming designer are you excited about? 

He’s already doing so well but I love Kenneth Ize. I discovered him on Far Fetch and am obsessed with how he takes his Nigerian heritage and a traditional weaving process to inspire these incredible garments. He’s already been supported by Anna Wintour and Naomi Campbell and I can’t wait to see him grow the brand to a household name. I’ve got my eye on the Jojo fringed checked trousers.

Working-from-home tip?

I swear by my diary. It is my bible and I can’t live without it. It’s a BLOX Stationery Academic Planner and you can get one using the code DUCFS15 for 15% off!

Ellie Smyth, Womenswear Director

What is your favourite item in your wardrobe? 

My new Alexa Chung knitted vest. I am currently trying to channel those Scandi vibes.

What was your favourite runway show from this past season? 

That’s easy. I am obsessed with Jeremy Scott’s creation of a puppet show for Moschino’s Spring 2021 collection. Jeremy Scott used the collection to show the high level of construction that goes into making haute couture by exposing bones and hems that are usually hidden, basically turning the clothes inside out. This creative vision beautifully mirrors how the world we live in has been turned completely upside down. Overall, Jeremy Scott demonstrated that fashion shows can still take place but we just have to be a little bit more creative. I think we as a team can take massive amounts of inspiration from this.

How do you shop sustainably? 

I focus on buying high-quality, ethically sourced and timeless items that can be worn throughout the year and in multiple combinations with the clothes I already own. If this is something you are interested in then keep an eye out for my ‘5 Staples to Have in your Wardrobe’ article. 

What is the last book you read? 

I recently read ‘This Is How It Always Is’ by Laurie Frankel. It was truly inspiring, heartwarming and thought provoking. Definitely worth a read!

What up and coming designer are you excited to follow the progression of? 

Supriya Lele. She is a finalist in the 2020 LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers. I have completely fallen in love with the way she combines her Indian heritage with 90s minimalism. Go check her stuff out @supriya_lele.

Proudest 2020 moment?

On 19th September, I ran a half marathon in memory of my mum. We managed to raise over £32,000 for the St Peter’s Hospital Haematology department, which helped my mum over the years manage her ITP blood condition. This was such a huge achievement for myself and everyone else that took part.

Edited by Caragh Taylor