London's new designers focus on art, not recession

Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:20am EST
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By Catherine Bosley and Kylie MacLellan

LONDON (Reuters) - Graduates of Britain's top fashion design school are so focused on their art that they don't worry about finding jobs and may even regard the global recession as a blessing in disguise.

The 2009 graduates of London's Central Saint Martins showed their debut collections at the first day of London Fashion Week on Friday. Considered a cradle of talent for the fashion world, it has produced such superstars as Stella McCartney and John Galliano of Dior.

But while many British graduates are facing a bleak future as employers cut down on hiring, Saint Martins students were not concerned.

"I do what I love. At the moment I don't think about anything bad or the economic crisis," said student David Koma, a young designer from St. Petersburg who was awarded a prize by Harrods for his collection. He will show his clothes in the luxury retailer's store window.

"For now, I see myself hopefully in London fashion week in September. That's the main thing." added Koma, who said 1960s designer Pierre Cardin had been a major inspiration for his designs, black minidresses with plunging necklines and shiny silver embellishments.

None of the students interviewed by Reuters cited the economic downturn as a creative influence, and most said they were content to continue doing what they loved.

"I'm playing it by ear," said graduate Kate Davies. Along with Lauren McCalmont she designed a collection of womenswear that included black shimmery tunics.

McCalmont said she was equally open-minded. "I think you just need to take the times as they are," she said. "Designers are always struggling."   Continued...

<p>A model presents a creation by students from the Central Saint Martins college 2009 Autumn/Winter collection during London Fashion Week February 20, 2009. REUTERS/Stephen Hird</p>