Following the example of last year’s #encorecsm protest, hosted by the 110 students that were not selected to show at Central Saint Martin’s Graduate Press Show; this year’s class of 2016 organised a presentation of a similar vein.

Class of 2015 Designer | Photography by Roman Sheppard Dawson

It is common knowledge that Central Saint Martins is one of, if not the world’s leading Fashion Design School. With alumni such as Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, Simone Rocha, and Mary Kantrantzou (plus many more), applicants has sky rocketed in recent years. To accommodate fashion’s next crop of fresh faced hopefuls, the institution has broadened it’s quota and now receives 150 students to the Fashion Design BA Hons course.

Class of 2015 #encorecsm | Photography by Roman Sheppard Dawson

However, audiences do not have the attention span to withstand a 150 student line up graduate show. Therefore, through a strict screening by course leaders and industry professionals, 40 out of the 150 students are chosen to represent Central Saint Martin’s graduate class at the Press Show. Speaking to Dezeen last year, Course Director Willie Walters (now departing her post) said “they may well be disappointed not to be chosen but we find that this makes very little difference to their employability,” said Walters. “It also has no bearing on their degree marks and this is made plain to the students” (Dezeen, 2015).

Class of 2015 #encorecsm | Photography by Roman Sheppard Dawson

Last year, a host of students staged a guerrilla fashion protest whereby friends, models, or even they themselves wore their collections that were not selected for the Press Show. A flyer was handed out to industry and media as they left the Press Show stating:

“Congratulating our 40 friends on the Press Show, we have come together to organize a student-run showcase of our work to represent the other 100+ students who were unable to show their work to the press. Our aim is for equal representation in support of current and future students on the BA Fashion Pathway. This is a positive message for students not to be discouraged with the university selection process, and a way for the public to see the diversity, hard work and talent of the whole year group together.”

Class of 2015 Designer | Photography by Roman Sheppard Dawson

This event was congratulated by Willie Walters and media alike. They praised the students for taking initiative and their future into their own hands from the traditional confines of art institutions. However the same could not be said about this year.

Class of 2015 Designer | Photography by Aidan Zamiri

As posted on 1 Granary, Central Saint Martin’s student run magazine; it seems the institution’s leaders collaborated with the students this year and attempted to enforce restrictions. The #encorecsm students were given a designated space that they were discontented by and felt the need to “break free” (1 Granary, 2016). They were instructed on where to stand and how to act; a ironic predicament considering the original #encorecsm began as a protest. The Fashion industry is enthralled with the idea of anarchy, punk, and rebellion. But when it comes to students working against the institution outside of their work, there’s a change opinion.

Class of 2015 Designer | Photography by Aidan Zamiri

Culture, Criticism and Curation graduate student Nadia Cuvelier who took onboard this year’s #encorecsm spoke to Alexandre Saden of the1 Granary editorial team about this year’s organisation. She empathised with the tutors, who are also restricted by the reality of the industry: “they’re [CSM Staff] showing the press a snapshot of the graduating class. It is never going to be easy for them either; they have seen these students grow over multiple years now. But to make a successful show, sometimes there have to be sacrifices.”

Class of 2015 Designer | Photography by Aidan Zamiri

Despite a different win opinion between the staff and the students over the guerrilla show, both certainly feel #encorecsm exists within its own space, separate from the Press Show. Nadia says,

“Our show is a presentation, rather than a runway: I want the press and the public to go up close and witness it.”

Encore3-subtitled from 1granary on Vimeo.

Written by Sonia Wan

Edited by Christina Wright

1 Granary (2016) Central Saint Martins Encore [Online] Available at http://1granary.com/central-saint-martins-fashion/ba-final-collections/central-saint-martins-encore-2016/[Accessed 03/06/16]

Dazed Digital (2015) Is the graduate show dead? [Online] Available at http://www.dazeddigital.com/fashion/article/25047/1/is-the-graduate-show-dead[Accessed 03/06/16]

Bullet Media (2015) Encore CSM Calls for Change [Online] Available at http://bullettmedia.com/article/encore-csm-calls-for-a-change-in-fashion-education/[Accessed 03/06/16]

Dezeen(2015) CSM Willie Walters Backs Fashion Students Protest [Online] Available at http://www.dezeen.com/2015/06/10/central-saint-martins-willie-walters-backs-ba-fashion-2015-student-protest-csmencore/[Accessed 03/06/16]

1 Granary (2015) CSM BA Fashion 2015 the Real Game Changers [Online] Available at http://1granary.com/central-saint-martins-fashion/csm-ba-fashion-2015-graduates-the-real-game-changers/#!prettyPhoto [Accessed 03/06/16]