Graduate Fashion Week: The Future of Fashion

On Sunday, Graduate Fashion Week was set in full swing, and there are plenty of new and inspiring talent that will be showing their designs during these few days. Over 1, 000 of the best students and graduates within fashion design are travelling from all over the UK and internationally to Truman Brewery London, to showcase what they have learned the last three years.

Manchester School of Art 2014 (Photo: Coggles)

Every year, the event features over 22 catwalk shows, a Gala award show, live talks and workshops featuring the frontrunners in the fashion industry, and exhibitions from 40 universities. Graduate Fashion Week is a charity organisation, and was founded in 1991 by Jeff Banks CBE, Vanessa Denza MBE and John Walford. The event brings forth new designers, giving them a helping hand in transitioning from graduation to future employment. Successful designers, such as Christopher Bailey MBE, Stella McCartney and Julien Macdonald are previous winners and participants of Graduate Fashion Week.

Graduate Fashion Week 2015 (Photo: WWD)

26 different awards will be given out, such as ASOS Future Fashion Awards, Christopher Bailey Gold Award, Boohoo Social Media Award, Visionary Knitwear Award, Drapers Fashion Publication Awards, and Fashion Marketing Award, touching on multiple fields within fashion, celebrating the whole industry and all its aspects.

Winner of the £5,000 M&S Womenswear 2016, UCA Epsom (Photo: Graduate Fashion Week)

Hazel Symons, De Montfort Graduate, won both the Creative Catwalk award and the £10,000 Christopher Bailey Gold Award 2016 (Photo: Graduate Fashion Week)

Winner of the Matalan Visionary Knitwear Award 2016, Kendall Baker from Nottingham Trent University (Photo: Graduate Fashion Week).

One of the most current and socially/environmentally important awards is The Dame Vivienne Westwood sustainable and ethical award. The award is sponsored by Lenzing Group and supported by The Ethical Fashion Forum and The Sustainable Angle. The Lenzing Group is an Austria based world marker leader, supplying botanic cellulose fibres to the global textile and nonwovens industry. The Ethical Fashion Forum is a not-for-profit organisation for sustainable fashion, with over 10,000 members globally. Their goal is to affect change within the fashion industry´s social and environmental standards, and hope to do so within 10 years. Finally, the Sustainable Angle is also a not- for-profit organisation that initiates and supports projects working to minimize the environmental impact of the industry by providing information. This award was established in 2010, giving opportunities to the next generations of sustainable and ethically conscious designers. The result of this award is more informed and researched decisions within design due to the fact that it is a non-profit organisation. The aim is to create better and wiser products. The criteria for winning this award focus on sustainable design, ethical sourcing and socially responsible production with a low environmental impact.

“Buy less, choose well, make it last. If people bought only beautiful clothes that would be a climate revolution. Let us cultivate talent. I am delighted to become a patron of Graduate Fashion Week and to create the Vivienne Westwood Ethical Award”.    

– Vivienne Westwood

Winner of the The Dame Vivienne Westwood sustainable and ethical award 2016, Fiona Cartmel, from Edinburgh College of Art (Photo: Fiona Cartmel).

Some of the talks being held this year include “Hilary Alexander in conversation with special guest”, “Get Dream Job Ready – Boohoo”, “Making The Stylish Sustainable – M&S”, and “GFW: Where are they now?” among numerous of other thrilling talks from industry professionals. You can watch the talks at GFW live, so make sure to stop HERE to learn and be inspired, or buy your ticket HERE.

These students are the future of fashion, and we can´t wait to see what it holds. Go HERE to learn more about the charity.

Text: Sigrid Solberg

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