Exploring the Resilience of Design with David Ferreria, Harry Xu and Clio Peppiatt

Exploring the Resilience of Design with David Ferreria, Harry Xu and Clio Peppiatt

Fashion cannot be ignored. No matter how many boardrooms full of middle aged white men characterise the industry as being frivolous and light-minded, fashion will continue to be one of the fastest growing industries in the world and a central part of almost everyone’s lives. Clothing is and always has been one of the most organic methods of self-expression, and within our current political and social environment, self-expression has taken on a new dialogue and is needed now more than ever. Catwalk shows and presentations have consistently managed to powerfully capture and convey the mood of a certain economic and political climate, and it was no different at this season’s London Fashion Week.

Harry XU Harry XU

If there was a word for this season it would most definitely be ‘resilience’. The way different designers partook and refined this act of defiance was the most interesting aspect in my eyes. Central Saint Martin’s graduate Harry XU reflected the prevailing pessimistic atmosphere by producing subdued, crafted designs inspired by the psychological states of Russian prisoners of war who had been enclosed for their entire lives. In complete contrast to Xu’s work were designers such as David Ferreira and Clio Peppiatt who decided to cast aside the overarching feeling of doom and despair and create otherworldly collections that transported us away from the humdrum practicalities of everyday life and into a world of extreme creativity.

David Ferreria David Ferreria David Ferreria David Ferreria

With outlandish creations that catapulted you into a world of creation and splendour, David Ferreria’s AW/17 collection, “The Freakball” excelled within the fields of craftsmanship, design and innovation. Eccentric birds of a feather breezed along the catwalk, with neon faux furs and woven metallic fabric blurring the lines between the garments and the model. Even the mention of the word ‘freak show’ evokes images of dark and twisted circus performances, but Ferreria successfully manufactured a modern-day celebration of the uniqueness of the human form. With chartreuse yellows set off against neon pinks and turquoise, each model turned into a magical, mystical creature that was come part clothes, some part human.  

The vast opulence of Ferreira’s designs seems like a world away from Harry Xu’s utilitarian offerings of hand-woven textiles in a sea of navy blues and midnight blacks. As the sequel to his incredibly successful graduate collection; Xu’s “Jarylo Reborn” explores themes inspired by the documentary style photography of Michal Chelbin. Although the show starts out rather despondent and downbeat, sheer and floral outburst bring a new feeling of encouragement and enthusiasm as the models transgress from their sheltered upbringing and the show ends with a “fearless spirt and optimistic energy.” The transition Xu creates between repression and then braking out and finding your own self translates to the way the youth of today are feeling. A change must happen in order for them to blossom into their own light.

Clio Peppiatt Clio Peppiatt Clio Peppiatt

Creativity always blossoms in times of strife, and emerging talent Clio Peppiatt transported us into the daydream of “star-crossed millennial romance” for her AW/17 collection. Peppiatt’s “LOVE RAT” had models and guests shimmying together to 70’s club classics to a D-I-Y background of broken hearts and shattered disco balls. The collection screamed ‘youthful’. For the youth of today there are vast amounts of problems, from rising rents to the looming consequences of Brexit, but the free spirit of Peppiatt’s complex embroidery and lavish silks and furs produces an aura of certainty. A certainty that the youth can power together and still be mighty and creative within our world of oppression.

Although these three collections are completely different and successful within their own right, the overbearing message is one of readiness, a willingness to go out and address these problems we’re facing first hand. The power of fashion lies within escapism; shows and catwalks are a place far away from the mundane every day, that’s why they’re needed and are so important in our current times.


Written by Nina Burrell,

Fashion Contributor


Harry XU photography by Emily Hughes and Nicholas Kristiansen for Fashion Scout, David Ferreria by Forward PR and Clio Peppiatt by Imogen Cleverley for XXY Magazine

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