Welcome to the world of the Fashion Fair!
In days gone by (ok, ok only a few years ago…), London’s Oxford Street was full of exciting and creative windows exclusively created for London Fashion Week and in competition with each other! Here at Oasis, we missed those days and decided to recreate the buzz and excitement that London Fashion Week brings in our very own store windows.
Given that we love collaborating and get super excited by new talent, we wanted to give a chance to some up-and-coming creative minds to design a scheme for the Argyll Street flagship store windows rather than going it alone!
So… Several months ago, we joined forces with the MA Narrative Environments course at Central Saint Martins, University of The Arts, London and set them a challenge; ‘to create stand-out London Fashion Week windows for February 2014’. After several months of working together, feeding back and getting excited by the project, we finally picked our winners, students Anna Horvath and Bai Yihe.
Anna and Bai dreamed up a magical merry-go-round concept which incorporated ‘all the fun of the fashion fair’ then worked with our creative and visual team (no mean feat!) to make the idea a reality. In this fast paced world of Fashion there were many changes and amends but the final piece was worth it.
So how did they come up with this idea? Well we spoke to them to find out a little bit more about their inspiration and how they found collaborating with Oasis on the project.
Oasis: We’re so excited to be collaborating with yourselves and Central Saint Martins, one of the most prestigious Fashion College’s in London, on this window scheme for London Fashion Week. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourselves before we start?
Anna: I graduated from Moholy-Nagy Design University with a BA in Architectural Art and since my graduation I’ve been working for a year for an architecture office. I intended to work on projects with a stronger narrative and experimental aspects that have a close connection with fashion design so I’m currently undertaking a master course in Creative Practice for Narrative Environments at Central Saint Martins and my aim now is to be involved in set, stage, event and store design to focus on exhibition, interaction design and installations. I’ve also got a strong interest in furniture design and have had a concrete seat design made as part of the Budapest public space.
Bai: I’m originally from China and I’ve been studying and working in Beijing for almost 8 years. I graduated in 2010 as a Public Art student at the Central Academy of Fine Art and I’ve always been interested in the interaction between space and human experience. As well as my major, I’m also a graphic designer and I’m aiming to focus on brands and how to bring out brand values.
Oasis: Amazing. So tell us a little bit about your inspirations for the window collaboration between Central Saint Martins and Oasis…
Anna/Bai: Well our main inspiration was the brand itself and the spring season with things like spring fairs and fun fairs really spiking our interest. These small festivals were always set up for special occasions and we felt like London Fashion Week plays a significant role in the fashion world as well.
Oasis: Did you expect your designs to be chosen for the collaboration?
Anna/Bai: Well we did have some really nice feedback during the process but we were struggling with some decisions up until the final hour so it was a nice surprise to be chosen. We definitely didn’t expect it but we were very lucky to have been chosen as the winners.
Oasis: And how have you enjoyed working on the collaboration with Oasis?
Anna/Bai: We’ve loved it! There were definitely some stressful moments (after all it was a competition) but it’s been a real learning curve for us and it was great fun. It’s also been great to see how the process works with making the designs a reality and although there were some changes to our original designs, it’s been a great process collaborating with Oasis.
Oasis: Well we’ve enjoyed working with you too! So what do you both hope to do in your future careers when you leave the college?
Anna: My background is in Architectural Art and Furniture Design so I came to this course to work with different mediums and on experimental projects. I have always had a strong interest in fashion though and I hope to be involved in stage/catwalk events as well as store designs in the future.
Bai: My background is in public art but I also work as a graphic designer. I’ve always been interested in the branding of companies from the logos to building up the customer experience so I imagine I could use my vision to bring out the values of a brand.
Oasis: What’s your favourite thing about London Fashion Week?
Anna/Bai: Well above everything else it’s such a great opportunity for young designers to showcase their work.
Oasis: And do you have a favourite designer?
Anna/Bai: It’s so hard to choose but some of our favourites are Christopher Kane, Azzedine Alaia, Philip Treacy, Chalayan and Giambattista Valli.
Oasis: Good choices! So which celebrities do you look to for style inspiration?
Anna/Bai: We both have quite a similar style so we really like Michele Harper and Jenny Shimizu.
Oasis: Where are your favourite places to hang out in London?
Anna: Secret warehouse parties….I like those a lot! I’ll mostly hang out around Upper Street and Dalston too as they’re really cool and arty so they inspire creativity.
Bai: I just like walking around London! Each place seems to have a different personality so finding secret places and small parks in London is one of my favourite things to do.
Oasis: Where do you call home?
Anna: Hmm…well I have homes everywhere, in London, Malta and Budapest and at Bai’s too but I suppose my real home is where my parents live in Csabrendek which is a tiny little village in the Hungarian countryside.
Bai: I see my family and friends places as home so no matter where I am, if I have them around me I feel at home.
Oasis: What do you think were your greatest learning’s during the Oasis and CSM collaboration process?
Anna/Bai: Well window instillation was a brand new medium for us both to work with as we’d come to the project having an architectural and public art background so we had a lot to learn about the whole project. Although our greatest learn was probably around the visual merchandising of the windows and the Oasis brand itself.
Oasis: What inspired you most whilst working on the collaboration with Oasis and Central Saint Martins?
Anna/Bai: Well it was nice that we found our main inspiration from the brand’s character itself. The brand has such a fun, playful and colourful image that it was a really nice thing to inspire us. On top of that the whole concept of spring was our other driving force as the window scheme will be going in stores in February which will hopefully be the end of winter and the beginning of a new season. Spring has a lot more ideas for us to work with such as the vibrant colours, the new activities and the events that happen.
Oasis: What did you learn about the Oasis brand and how was this reflected in your final collaboration with Oasis?
Anna/Bai: When we looked into the brand we found out that it was really playful and fun so we wanted to reflect this in our final design.
Thanks Anna and Bai for speaking to us about your collaboration. The London Fashion Week windows will launch in the Argyll Street store off Oxford Street on 6th February so join us for the Oasis-go-round and you’ll have all the Fun of the Fair!