Shot! Brighton Fashion Week 2015

This was my third time covering Brighton Fashion Week. I missed Brighton’s most fashion-forward evening last year and was really pleased that 2015 saw it return to All Saints Church in Hove, a splendid venue which I don’t think BFW should ever have left. Its stunning gothic revival architecture and high vaulted ceilings add an air of drama to the show, and this year the lighting did a good job of enhancing the splendour of the surroundings.

As in the past, the evening itself was split into two catwalk shows: Sustain and Zeitgeist. In fact, it was split into four as each had an interval. Sustain is essentially the eco show, focused mainly on re-cycled and up-cycled designs, whilst Zeitgeist puts the spotlight on the avant garde.

I have to say it was a shame that Jess Eaton, Brighton’s most out there designer and the undoubted star of BFW12 and 13 wasn’t involved this year. In terms of theatricality and talking points, her Roadkill Couture collections were what made those two shows so memorable. Without her, there was always going to a big hole to fill.

The first designer to catch my attention was the wonderfully named KellyDawn Riot. As well as being the first menswear collection of the night, for me it was also the best of the entire show.

The 26-year-old’s designs — which she calls “wearable art” — are inspired by nature and featured prints of painted flowers and birds. With all the pieces sharing a yellow palette, it was the most cohesive collection I saw and arguably the one with the most commercial potential.

The next designer who did something that stood out was Tiffany Pattinson, although that was mainly because she had some of her models wearing a bizarre mouthpiece.

Milkwood had some interesting fabrics, as did Rhiannon Hunt, but neither designer demonstrated a huge amount of visual flair.

One who did was Angus Tsui from Hong Kong whose collection of highly graphic pieces, either on white or black, benefited from a cohesive look. However, for me the graphics were somewhat more interesting than the outfits upon which they were adorned.

Norwegian designer Fanny Holst showed her minimalistic design aesthetic with outfits in greys and blacks featuring a mix of drapes and tailoring. More colourful was GS, whose artistic designs used a lot of coral and yellow.

Next up were two designers who each in their own very different ways were the most outlandish of those I saw. Tracey Dockree’s collection was eye-catching despite consisting mainly of muted greys and browns. Her most memorable look can best be described as an oversized sleeping bag with an even bigger hood attached and pulled tight around the face. It certainly got peoples’ attention, although it felt more suited to those sleeping rough, than those off for a night out!

Being just seventeen and suffering from Aspergers, it was perhaps no surprise that the designer with the most buzz on the night was Isaac Raymond — indeed, the BBC were there to film his show and interview him. His collection was certainly striking and unusual, unless that is you like your medieval history. Indeed, most of his designs looked as if they’d stepped out of a castle.

We had chain mail, hugely exaggerated padded shoulders and big puffed sleeves. We also had a rather ordinary ballerina outfit, another that looked like the model’s head was peering out of an oversized bag and, in a nod to Jess Eaton, the evening’s only dead bird. Interesting? Yes. Original? Only if you haven’t seen something similar before.

So that was what I saw of BFW15. Watch out for KellyDawn Riot and don’t be surprised to hear a lot more from Isaac Raymond, too. And, if you do see someone on the streets of Brighton asleep in a giant sleeping bag, you’ll at least know where they got it from!

Image Notes: All these images were shot handheld with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and either the 12–40 2.8 Pro or the 75 1.8 lens using available light only. Shooting fashion shows is quite a challenge, despite being one of perhaps 20 or so accredited photographers, the first time you see the show is through your viewfinder and you cannot move from your spot. This time, rather than standing on the gantry, I chose to sit on the floor, which meant I was shooting up at the models. You also have to be quick. The models only pose at the end of the runway for a second or two at most and that’s when you need to get your shot, especially if like me you don’t want members of the audience or other models in the frame. Despite the challenges, I’m really pleased with the images I got this year and the way they ended up looking. I think it’s my best set of fashion pictures to date. Shot in Brighton on 16 October 2015.

Follow Brighton Fashion Week at @BrightonFashWk