Ka Wai Lam (Basil), a BA (Hons) Fashion Design graduate, has had his final year fashion collection featured on Fashion Crossover, a website dedicated to showcasing the best upcoming designers.
Since graduating last year, Basil says a lot has changed – not least the changes that have occurred in the fashion industry due to the coronavirus pandemic.
'At Regent's, everyone knows you individually, and the tutors dig deep to understand your design aesthetic. They really push you to your limits.
'Before the pandemic, I got my inspiration from walking around the city. Now, I've been in lockdown at home, so I've been trying to consider different angles in my room, to try and see things I haven't seen before. But I miss going to galleries and having coffees in the street. I miss the idea of being out there and engaging with the world.
Basil commented on the importance of the tight-knit Regent's community on his success.
'Before lockdown, I returned to campus quite often to visit friends of mine who haven't graduated, and to catch up with my teachers. Steven Dell in particular has been a massive support in my career. He has inspired me a lot, and gave me a new perspective on my designs. He and all the other staff really value us as people and designers.
'I miss the community and the family – you do lots of practical work together, and because it's such a small class, you see the same classmates and tutors every day so you develop close friendships. It's rare to find something that's so close.
Regent's is also very international. This totally changes your design practice. I have friends from across the world, and they've taught me things about the design culture they were brought up in, which I wouldn't have known from growing up in Hong Kong and moving to Ipswich as a teenager. This diversity is very important. You bounce ideas off each other, and these stories aren't something you can buy with money.
Lam, originally from Hong Kong, said his collection takes inspiration from the dress code of mods and youth sub culture in 1960s Britain. Its focus is placed upon ‘a sombre, colourful story of mournful tones of blue, and subverted through oversized silhouettes and exaggerated detailing’.
Last year, Basil's collection won the Industry Design Award for his outstanding menswear collection, titled Melancholy for Lost Youth.
‘I've also tried to explore other ways to make money by designing during lockdown. I've started to collaborate with other artists, including another Regent's graduate – she's a fashion illustrator and we recently worked together on a collection,’ he says.
'Eventually I want to have my own label, but until then I'm developing my skills and my design philosophy. Above all, I'm trying to get my name out there.'