FAD is an award-winning charity that offers young people the opportunity to get ahead in their creative careers, regardless of their ethnic background, financial, and personal circumstances.
Their aim is to eventually create a more inclusive fashion industry where talented, young individuals are given the opportunity to break through this elite industry’s tough exterior and thrive. Since 2008, this collaboration has worked increasingly hard to create a unique platform for the modern generation’s work.
Each candidate was given the opportunity to work with a group of professionals to acquire new skills, knowledge and gain resilience that will aid them in their future job roles.
With support from sponsors at Natwest and George at Asda, seventy 16-18 year-olds were given the opportunity to take their designs and bring them to life.
Inspired by the UK’s and Europe’s departure from the EU, this year’s brief for these twenty finalists was ‘Tastemakers: Europe’- an insight into European influencers both from the past and present.
Considering the traditional aspects within the brief, each garment designed by these young, extraordinary talents, reflected historical elements of particular cultures but with a modern twist, that gave this contemporary showcase an edge on the previous shows of the day.
The show opened with a short introduction from the eccentric, bubbly Annalise, who wore a multi-coloured pastel two-piece suit with flared bottoms and Nike trainers. Her infectious personality, sincere attitude and insight into the FAD program, completed the show, providing a welcome respite from the more elitist, highbrow fashion shows.
From the moment the catwalk began with J Balvin and Willy Williams’s chart topper, ‘Mi Gente’, it was clear that this show was not only a visual insight into the minds of the next generation, but a complete vision of their lifestyle. Through music, clothes and even the models themselves on the catwalk, ethnic background and cultural heritage paired with the devastating impact of Brexit on these young people, was a message that rang loud and clear.
One of the first looks we were introduced to on the catwalk, was the work of the tremendously talented Tyana Hemmings from Lewisham Southwark College, who won the textiles award at the show. Gaining inspiration from a research trip to the V&A gallery, Hemmings admired the floral patterns that were on show and decided to try and re-create them with denim. Her aim was to keep the feminine touch but give it a modern twist.
Her dress had a body-con shape that used her own floral-patterned material in a multitude of blues and purples, with white mesh netting over the arms and chest areas. These contrasting fabrics are what made Hemmings stand out to the panel, as the dress remained structured yet feminine.
One of the two main winners, was 17-year-old Keir Booton from Prendergast Hillyfields College, who created one of the few men’s looks at this year’s FAD showcase. Booton’s main inspiration for his piece was from pantras leaves which he was first introduced to at the V&A museum. He took this pattern and decided to embroider it in gold across his jacket to give his garment a unique edge that understandably caught the panel’s eye.
Winner of the Silhouette Award, Sezuthi Islam from Valentines High School proudly revealed her design of an off the shoulder, puff sleeved dress. Inspired by the European fashion section of the V&A, she wanted to combine the corseted waists with the beautiful exaggerated puff sleeves. The off the shoulder neckline gave a more modern edge to the ensemble, reflecting the current high street trend. Paring these shapely aspects into her own design, it’s no wonder that she received the Silhouette award.
The other Fashion Future 2017 winner was Victoria Olejniczak from Graveney School, with what was her first attempt at designing and making a coat. The black fabric of the coat was structured like a military jacket, with flared sleeves and colourful pleating in the shapes of flowers up the sleeves. Victoria said she was thrilled when they were given the brief for the show – European Influencers. With herself and her family coming from Poland, she was inspired by their traditional designs. Wanting a modern twist she experimented with pleating, leading to the beautiful design, truly deserving of its first place award.
The runway was filled with talent as each young designer showed their work. Some other favourites of ours were designs from Tamia Pitt, showcasing an icy blue silk jumpsuit; Ruqiya Ahmed, with her red, lacy floor length mermaid dress; and Audrey Galleon, with a powerful gold and blue mesh jumpsuit.
Each model sported red lip art foil, gold hoops and various complex patterns of plaits. The designs were shown in sets of three and four, linking with those of similar colour pallets, and each set wore matching accessories or footwear.
It was wonderful to be a part of such an incredible evening for these young designers. Looking around the room you could see how much the emotional atmosphere affected the audience and how much pride radiated from the volunteers and sponsors of FAD. It is very clear that each finalist has a bright future in fashion awaiting them.
Text: Millie Bull, Laura Tozer
Images: Rob Case