THE BLOG
07/02/2012 11:00 GMT | Updated 08/04/2012 06:12 BST

Top Five Names To Watch From the London College of Fashion's 2012 Degree Show

Want to know who the next Alexander McQueen or Stella McCartney is? The next big name in British fashion? Me too, which is why I went along to the London College of Fashion's MA exhibition private view last Tuesday night to see if I could hunt down some future fashion design stars amongst the many graduates on show.

Want to know who the next Alexander McQueen or Stella McCartney is? The next big name in British fashion? Me too, which is why I went along to the London College of Fashion's MA exhibition private view last Tuesday night to see if I could hunt down some future fashion design stars amongst the many graduates on show. Here are five names I think you should definitely keep an eye on.

1. Charlotte Simpson

The simple shapes of womenswear designer Charlotte Simpson's 'Biological Dimensions' collection belie the complex ideas from which they were formed. The thousands of tiny protruding glass beads embroidered on a floor-length white cape? Supposed to mirror the mammalian intestinal lining, apparently. And her pattern cutting methodology was inspired by studying the process of plant grafting. But who cares what lofty scientific concepts are at work when the clothes look - and feel - this good? Guests flocked to Simpson's exhibition space to touch the tactile bead-encrusted sleeveless tunics and stroke the silky fabric of metallic T-shirts and heavy gowns. In a delicious palette that included golden syrup and chocolate tones, this was a lusciously luxe and desirable collection.

2. Rahull Verma

Another womenswear graduate who had people clamouring to touch his work was Rahull Verma. His collection, which pairs contrasting fabrics, like fur and mesh, on the same garment, was inspired by architectural techniques and the French philosopher Jacques Derrida, founder of something called Deconstructivism. No wonder the focus on blueprints: Verma told me that pattern cutting is his forte. As such, many of the pieces on show at the exhibition took a typical garment pattern and doubled it up, leading to unexpected panels and folds, like on the sleeves of a pair of boxy, half fur, half mesh cocoon coats in white and dusty pink. Balancing out all the soft femininity were a pair of wide leg trousers and an unstructured jacket in navy. The real stand out pieces, however, were the dottiest - individual polka dots were cut from fur to adorn sheer fabrics. With an approach to spots this fresh, it wouldn't surprise me if Verma landed a job at Marc Jacobs.

3. Jen Wang

Jen Wang scored a first at the exhibition - she's the only LCF MA student ever to have focused on sunglasses for their final project. A graduate of the Fashion Artefact course (which basically equates to accessories design) Wang had a go at practically every other kind of accessories before she settled on sunnies. And I bet her tutors are glad she did, because her 'Twisted Identity' collection is superb. Wang told me she likes the notion of disguise and the idea that when you put on sunglasses you 'imagine you're a star, like Lady Gaga or Audrey Hepburn.' Which is probably why some of the huge red and gold acrylic wraparound shades resemble fancy dress masks rather than your average pair of aviators - they are very editorial friendly. But the less avant-garde pairs are seriously wearable. Eyeing up the black cats eye glasses (complete with cats ears too) I found myself hoping that these prototypes one day go into production.

4. Taeseok Kang

I picked up a lot of business cards at the exhibition, but by far the coolest was Taeseok Kang's. It was a small black square of card with what appeared to be a gold metal nipple attached to it. That's not so strange, though, in the context of Taeseok's collection. Another Fashion Artefact graduate, he focused on 'the the sexual instinct of a human being and the range of sexiness from subtle to extreme,' which, naturally, manifested itself in a range of black leather bags adorned with plenty more of those gold nipples. Aside from a suit bag that doubles as a dress, the collection wasn't as crazy as it had the potential to be. In fact, many of the handbags, even those decorated with hair, wouldn't look out of place on the shelves of Selfridges, such was the high standard of craftsmanship. South Korean-born Kang told me he'd love to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Raf Simons. With this strict but sexy design aesthetic he just might.

5. Kay Kwok

In terms of menswear at the exhibition, Kay Kwok's bright zingy prints made his collection stand out in more ways than one. Fuchsia, tangerine, purple and white were incorporated into horizontal digital prints - these futuristic stripes were apparently inspired by the erosion of ancient Egyptian mummies. Bringing the concept up to date, classic menswear tailoring shapes were rendered in neoprene. The resulting garments, suit jackets that are well-structured but light, pack quite a punch. This is a new kind of power dressing - if you're man enough to wear these kinds of colours, that is.