Class dismissed: Carl Jan Cruz reppin’ Filipino fashion at the LCF graduate show
Karen Bolilia (The Philippine Star) - June 27, 2014 - 12:00am

LONDON — Fresh off the industrial press, YStyle alum Carl Jan Cruz steps through London College of Fashion’s (LCF) Shoreditch campus doors three times — nine garment bags and a suitcase full of shoes in tow. On the day before the graduate BA show, I end up carrying three of these bags, walking down Curtain Road under rare London sunshine (I’ve started to share their enthusiasm over vitamin D at this point), assigning the short trek to The Yard, the show’s location, as my #WOD.

It was enough time to secretly despise the girls who got picked up at the curb by Uber drivers, while shifting the weight of leather and denim from side to side (an exercise for the mind and the body). A roadside juggle, a slow race to the finish line. Carl walked a few feet ahead of me, routinely picking up his pieces as they tipped over the suitcase he was pulling — cackling over how seriously “glamorous” this all was. It’s a humbling, noble idea: anywhere in the world, this is how it’s still done.

7 p.m. the next day: everything accelerates.

Twenty-six of LCF’s best talents from their menswear, womenswear, textiles and accessories courses are all set backstage, about to present their graduate collections to a warehouse full of fashion press and industry insiders — from editors of Vogue UK, i-D, Dazed and Confused and A Mag Curated By (no big deal), to global head of personal shopping at Net-A-Porter, Lupe Puerta, to Céline’s 3D studio head designer Rene De Vera, and Maisie Williams of House Stark (Arya, to all you Game of Thrones fans out there), the BA show conjured a guest list out of a fantasy draft. As the LCF seniors close the graduate exhibition season, optimisim and earnestness abound — students showcased, above all, collaboration and technique.

The runway was an assembly line of both experimental pieces that were accessorized with giant floppy hats, fur-cuffed slip dresses, and distressed denim slashed and knotted away, punctuated by more practical silhouettes (though no less conceptual) rendered in billowy fabrics, slouchy knitwear, and streamlined sheaths. Then there is, of course, Carl’s collection.

15/15, hot on the heels (or rather: trainers) of a Vogue UK shout-out earlier this week, is a menswear collection comprised of 10 looks; an exercise in honesty, discretion and intimacy — three words that define his design ethos. By marking the archival of his own pieces and photographs as the collection’s starting point, he in turn has made a personal project into a public confession — the echoes of which are traced all over his clothes. You will see it on the topstitches, the hand-sewn hems, the exaggerated cuffing, in the ease and exact rigidness of his denims. Or even, on a more fundamental level, the fact that the majority of the fabrics were sourced, sampled, and developed in the Philippines. Defiant yet accessible, 15/15 aimed to rework and redevelop the blue jeans, white shirt aesthetic; particularly grounded in the ‘90s, but exploring the potential for layering, and employing subtle touches (fraying) and more extreme ones (putting a disposable plastic bag over a shirt) to challenge the existing silhouette. No fuss, no glamour — this is how Carl Jan Cruz gets it done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A MAG CURATED BY ARYA CARL JAN CRUZ CURTAIN ROAD DAZED AND CONFUSED GAME OF THRONES LONDON COLLEGE OF FASHION LUPE PUERTA MAISIE WILLIAMS OF HOUSE STARK RENE DE VERA
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