Only 30% of Central St Martin’s fashion students are able to exhibit their collections in the press show. This is a highly sought-after event, held in the centre of the futuristic CSM building. High barriers are raised; hopeful people who are turned away find a viewing platform in the glass lift shaft or through the gaps in the erected screens.
But this year, outside in the fading sunlight and interspersed amongst the fountains of Granary Square, stood the collections of all the students who didn’t quite make the cut. These collections were mostly worn by friends, not models, and were presented in long, still lines. It wasn’t ticketed, and it was a relief to appreciate fashion away from the intimidation of the catwalk and selective seat numbering. Outside there was no loud music to be swept away by, but rather a feeling of calm curiosity as the spectators were able to stop and examine each immaculate, carefully crafted piece of artwork. The models smiled and chatted in this relaxed environment, adding to the feeling of openness. Ultimately, Encore CSM shows that we can enjoy fashion and talent without it being exclusive or selective.