CSM BA 2024 Alina Ispas 6

Central Saint Martins BA Class of 2024

news | Jun 5, 2024

Four CSM graduates on their inspirations, favourite looks and London as an energiser of creativity

Text by Augustine Hammond

CSM BA 2024 UAL Students For Justice In Palestine (1)

Last week's Central Saint Martins graduate show was not without spectacle both on and off the runway. While the usual pyrotechnics lit up the catwalk, featuring spindly living sculptures, larger-than-life sweeping chiffon and acrobatic dancers, the UAL Students for Justice in Palestine seized the event to make a powerful statement. They demonstrated to the media and university leaders that their plea for an immediate ceasefire and a Free Palestine would not be silenced.

With protest as their poignant backdrop, we caught up with four of our favourite graduates from the class of 2024! 

Drew Kent, BA Fashion Knit

Biggest inspirations for the collection?

This collection draws inspiration from the vibrant colours and textures of my childhood, translating them into bold, gender-fluid designs that challenge conventional norms. Symbolic elements reflect the journey of embracing one’s true self, mirroring the resilience and creativity inherent in my queer identity. 

My personal queer journey serves as the heartbeat of my eco-conscious floral collection, intertwining childhood innocence and self-discovery with sustainable design principles to create a fashion narrative that resonates with authenticity and positive change. The sustainable approach involves upcycling, eco-friendly printed fabrics, and a zero-waste philosophy, fostering a connection between the wearer, their identity, and the environment.

I predominantly used Punchinella (sequin waste) to create large floral ruffle forms complete with my signature fluffy crochet trims to translate the feeling of freedom and queer joy. Together, these elements blossom in a harmonious fusion of self-expression, nostalgia, and responsible fashion. 

Favourite look and why? 

My favourite look is the baby doll it is everything that I would want to wear it brings me so much joy and is like a childhood dream brought to life.

How does London continue to energise your creativity?

I love how fast-paced everything is in London, it doesn’t stop! I am always constantly inspired by what I see around the city and I always feel so free to express myself through clothing and makeup

CSM BA 2024 Drew Kent 2
CSM BA 2024 Drew Kent 3
CSM BA 2024 Drew Kent 1
CSM BA 2024 Alina Ispas 4

Alina Ispas, BA Fashion Print 

Biggest inspirations for the collection?

The women in my life. The collection started by looking at three generations of women: my grandmas, my mom and myself as we navigate social and political stereotypes within the context of recent Romanian history. I looked at the environments in which we all found ourselves, and tried to observe various situations that even though we lived at different times, we all experienced.

I wanted to look at recent issues, such as mass immigration and how this impacted the way people look at Romanians. Through this, I aimed to highlight the resilient character of Romanian women, which often takes us back to the same place: we are all a reflection of each other.

Favourite look and why?
It’s hard to decide on a favourite look, they are all special in their own way; I wanted each of them to convey a certain emotion, and they all have quite different references. [...] The mirror cape look conveys the last affirmation of my proposal: we are all a reflection of each other. 

As a Romanian, I have heard countless times from Westerners how Eastern Europeans are stereotyped in Western Europe. You want to be here because of all the opportunities you have, but there is a sense of not belonging fully. It’s quite a big cultural displacement if you want to call it that. I tried to make sense of it by rejecting these stereotypes and trying to own them. 

CSM BA 2024 Alina Ispas 5

The “I’m here to steal your jobs” cape came from thinking that a lot of the bad things people say about others truly come from their own insecurities. I am also the last generation of students who started university before Brexit, so I was able to still have the same benefits as home students. I wanted to make a statement about this; so many of my extremely talented friends who were younger than me never got the chance to study here because of the massive increase in fees, immigration issues, visas etc.

To be completely honest, I wouldn’t have been able to be on this course if it wasn’t for the loan; Brexit really took away a lot from young people and it’s our responsibility to make these things seen. 

How does London continue to energise your creativity?

London is the first place that feels like home. I talked about this cultural displacement earlier, it’s always present. My work revolved around Romanian culture, but I don’t think I would’ve been able to delve so deep if it wasn’t for all the introspection I have had in London. 

It’s the place where I got to finally learn about myself, and truly understand my creative vision. It’s seeing all of the people around me and how they fight to have their voices heard that really inspires me. People in London have such a strong sense of self, which was really inspiring to me. 

CSM BA 2024 Thomas Spooner Collage Lookbook Min

Thomas Spooner, BA Fashion Knit

Biggest inspirations for the collection?

I regularly reference my late Grandfather John and his calligraphy and photographic work, which is often where my colour palettes come from. The motifs in the knitwear were mostly adaptations of prints from his vintage ties, the photographs he took of my grandmother, and the outfits she used to wear. 

In terms of silhouette, I spent a lot of time looking back at objects from my childhood, such as silverware and other ornaments that would be around the house. Garments and details were cut in the shape of decorative silverware. I referenced architectural forms in my childhood home, a Tudor farmhouse with wooden beams. It’s all about home.

Favourite look and why? 

Look 5 which consists of the stoll-knitted structured jacket, blue floral knitted skirt and fair isle cardigan wrapped around the neck stands out to me as a favourite. It is a combination of each technique I used throughout the collection, stoll knit, heavy interfacing and fully fashioning. It was the first look I completed, and when we tried it on I knew the whole idea and concept for the collection was going to work.

How does London continue to energise your creativity?

In London, it’s hard to feel in control and you can either panic or embrace it. For me, it’s the unknown that I’m always curious about. It is a hard place to live in, which can be equally energising because it encourages you to keep making and improving rather than going elsewhere for better opportunities. It’s a double-edged sword.

CSM BA 2024 Thomas Spooner Runway
CSM BA 2024 Marina Ocampo 7
CSM BA 2024 Marina Ocampo 5

Marina Victoria Ocampo, BA Fashion Print  

Biggest inspirations for the collection?

My collection is inspired by my upbringing in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the rich blend of cultures that make it such a special place. I wanted the clothes to embody the colours, warmth, texture and rich history of Buenos Aires, the city where I grew up.

When I think of Argentina, I am reminded of all the little things I’ve incorporated into my clothes: leather, tassels, heat, texture, glamour, and roughness. This collection captures the essence of Argentina, blurred between a fantasy and a reality.

Favourite look and why?
I can’t pinpoint a favourite look but I always wanted to incorporate a flowy printed silky dress into the collection. I worked really hard on the silhouette because I wanted it to be a mixture of a traditional tango dress but also I referenced a lot of drapes that felt like a poncho. The prints worked out really well as they were quite hard to match. I appreciate Look 1 a lot because of its evolution from conception to final outcome.

How does London continue to energise your creativity?

London has always been a hub of creativity and sort of the starting point of major fashion moments. It’s so diverse and energetic and never disappoints.

CSM BA 2024 Marina Ocampo 4