WATCH | Jelly Tot tiaras and statement bracelets at Graduate Fashion Week

Whimsical accessories were the talk of the show
Whimsical accessories were the talk of the show Copyright AP
By Rachel Graham
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A new generation of designers has found a way to make statement pieces sustainable.


Gone are the days when sustainable fashion meant linen trousers, linen blouses and linen dresses.

At this week’s Graduate Fashion Week show at International Jewellery London, a new generation of designers has set out to prove luxury and sustainability shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.

There is a heavy emphasis on recycling whatever you can get your hands on, from plastic sheets, bin bags, fabrics from charity shops, offcuts from factory lines and even a parachute silk.

The vast array of materials has spawned whimsical, statement outfits with unusual accompanying accessories. One such accessory garnering attention was a bangle in the shape of a giant pencil sharpener.

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Compering the show is fashion expert Hilary Alexander, president of Graduate Fashion Week and the Graduate Fashion Foundation.

She says the designers’ interest in 'throwaway fashion' now means finding a to use for what society is throwing away.

"We've seen more and more emphasis on sustainability. I mean in the past maybe you would have had students wanting to go and buy expensive materials, or get sponsored for rich brocades and embroideries, but now they will scour second hand shops, go round to factories and get what is called dead fabric, remnants, or as you saw on the catwalk just now, even old sandwich bags and carrier bags," says Alexander.

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Meanwhile, social media influencer Katherine Omerod says styles of jewellery are aiming to be different, but coloured stones made popular by recent royal weddings in the UK are still going strong. It’s these bold, regal colours dominating catwalk accessories.

"There's definitely a feeling that people are interested in organic material, so fresh water pearls, roughly-hewn metals, that idea that something is not too perfect and not too polished I think is definitely a big trend,” she says. In one case, that translated into Jelly Tots being used as makeshift gems on a tiara.

“But there are lots of micro trends that we see across fashion and social media and that can range from really small little things like fruits, coloured fruits have become a little micro trend. Horizontal stones and rings as well are having a big moment even in the engagement kind of sector which is really interesting and coloured stones definitely."

Hit play on the video above for the very best of Graduate Fashion Week.

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