Wednesday, June 8, 2016

London College Of Fashion Goes East

Gritty, grimy, and bustling with creativity, East London has long been home to some of the capital's best-loved designers. In September 2021, however, it will welcome a shiny new fashion cluster:London College of Fashion, UAL is relocating to the 2012 Olympic village.

The move east is part of LCF's relocation to Stratford's Olympicopolis arts hub. The new cultural and educational district, Stratford Waterfront at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will accommodate facilities for Sadler's Wells and the Victoria & Albert Museum, as well as a new UAL campus for the London College of Fashion and a new university campus for University College London.

LCF's building is being designed by architectural practice Allies & Morrison and will house upwards of 5,500 fashion students and 500 staff over 30,000 m², bringing six specialist disciplines under one roof for the first time. A glass-roofed design, the architect's model was inspired by fabric wefts, in a reference to the fabric mills of Huddersfield. Construction begins in 2018. 

Speaking at the opening of LCF's BA16 exhibition, Professor Frances Corner, head of college at LCF and pro-vice chancellor of UAL, said: "The architects have got really excited about contradictions. The space needs to be private but public. It needs to look inviting, but it needs to allow us to have our hiding spaces as well. It needs to unite the analogue with the digital. We want things to be messy but also incredibly sleek. We're making what they term a workshop for the 21st century."

Of the move east, Corner said: "There are lots of designers based around this area, so we have the chance to not only refashion East London but to make a really significant economic contribution. And as part of that we will also discuss not only how we connect to the rest of the UK, but how we connect to the rest of Europe and the world."

Corner, clearly, is part of the Remain camp. She told Vogue: "I am really worried [about the possibility of Brexit]. We've obviously got a campaign to make sure our students register to vote. We have so much European funding, we have key partnerships with schools in Spain, Sweden, Milan, we go back and forth all the time. Of course, you can still go between, but the barriers that will go up as a consequence will be really damaging. As a university we feel very strongly about remaining."

The LCF BA16 exhibition is open to the public from today (Tuesday 7 June) until Thursday 9 June, hosted at 3-10 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6PG.

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