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Yes, I’m aware that I bang on about Topshop A LOT and yes, it might start to grate people.  I promise they don’t pay me!  You can’t fake genuine excitement though and when I heard about their newest collaboration, I was GENUINLY excited  Simone Shailes, a fresh 2008 CSM MA grad who has won a few awards has collaborated with Topshop to reproduce her graduate collection… as opposed to designing a whole new collection and watering down her designs.


The loopy knits and shiny brass belts which I experienced firsthand at the Fashion156 shoot is now available to buy and yes, the price is steep for Topshop (£250 for the knits). The point is that that the price is justified for a) such glorious knits and b) original designs from graduates who, unlike established designers, don’t tend do infiltrate down to the high street in a copycat way and c) are often not possible for the public to buy from graduates directly.

It’s the concept itself that for me has opened up possibilities for me of how the designer x high street collaboration can develop.  Many people commented that H&M should now start looking to younger designers to collaborate with and its country of origin, Sweden, would provide MORE than enough to start with.

Here in the UK, Topshop has always led the way with their collaborations but I think this collection by Simone Shailes (congrats to her, as she has started working with Phoebe Philo at Celine!) marks something of a first.  Nobody else might be interested except for me but I’ll keep harping on about graduate collections and how much I’d love to wear them.  For grads out there, recognition by the public could be theirs in an instant and that ‘slow’ route in fashion might soon be a thing of the past.

Bagsy me the cream loopy cape…

(Photography by Neil Francis Dawson. Styling by Nelma Kalonji)

Now I’m in the process of sending imaginary graduate wishlists to high street retailers (Topshop being the first port of call…) asking them if they’d consider reproducing their graduate collections…from Antwerp, RCA, Brighton, CSM, La Cambre… the list might be a mile long once I’m done…


The collection is dropping tomorrow in-store and onlin, and there is now a waiting list for pieces…. please call Alana at the Oxford Circus branch to reserve: 0845 121 1144.