Graduate Fashion Foundation is a charitable organisation and an essential part of the fashion industry. It is the springboard for new talent, the life force the whole industry relies on.
Over the past 28 years, more than 100,000 newly graduated and undergraduate students have been supported and guided by the charity. GFF aim’s remains the same today; dedication to encouraging young people, helping them find employment and get the best start possible in the fashion industry.
An unrivalled platform for the promotion of new talent, Graduate Fashion Foundation bridges the gap between graduation and employment and is responsible for launching the careers of some of the most successful designers of our time including Christopher Bailey MBE, who was the winner of the first ever Gold Award and now a Lifetime Patron of the charity; Stella McCartney, Giles Deacon, Matthew Williamson and Julien MacDonald to name a few.
A charity organisation founded in 1991 by Jeff Banks CBE, Vanessa Denza MBE and John Walford to unify both UK and international universities and create a stronghold for the creative industries to find the best talent, marked it’s 25th anniversary in 2016 by announcing the first Lifetime Patrons. Christopher Bailey MBE, Victoria Beckham OBE, Nick Knight OBE, and Dame Vivienne Westwood DBE RDI, were announced. They were joined in 2018 by Internationally acclaimed designer Diane Von Furstenberg and business woman Nadja Swarovski. In 2019, Dame Zandra Rhodes DBE RDI also became a lifetime patron.
GFF is proud that our Lifetime Patrons remain committed to the charity year on year, working closely with them and the charity’s 16 Global Ambassadors to ensure that charity objectives are met in new and exciting ways. Graduate Fashion Foundation celebrates almost three decades of being one of the world’s most important sources of the new talent for the global designer industry. A crucial part of the dynamic fashion industry, fuelling innovation in all parts of fashion business.
Fashion supports 800,00* jobs domestically alone, contributing £26 billion* to the economy. Graduate Fashion Week is a crucial part of the dynamic – fuelling innovation in all parts of the fashion business. It is a showcase for the imagination and possibilities – shaping the way fashion works as well as looks.
“THE BRITISH FASHION SCHOOL SYSTEM HAS CREATED AN ENVIRONMENT THAT DRIVES YOUNG DESIGNERS TO TRY NEW IDEAS WITHOUT FEELING LIKE THEY HAVE TO FIT INTO A PREDETERMINED WAY OF DOING THINGS”
Christopher Bailey MBE, the first winner of the Graduate Fashion Week Gold Award
GFF annually presents Graduate Fashion Week, the largest showcase of BA fashion in the world with over 95 of the most influential and inspiring UK and international universities and colleges on show. It provides a fantastic opportunity to see the freshest talent from 26 different fashion disciplines.
The annual Graduate Fashion Week event, held every June attracts 30,000 guests, features 22 catwalk shows and 36 exhibition stands, alongside a packed schedule of talks, masterclasses and workshops from leading names in the fashion and retail industry. It represents the future of creative design talent and showcases the work of over 5000+ of the very best fashion graduates each year.
The event attracts a wide array of top industry professionals, press and recruiters from UK and abroad who use this opportunity to discover talent, as well as offer exciting graduate employment and placements opportunities. The Graduation Fashion Foundation is proud to be a platform that makes the connections leading graduates need to fulfilling their career goals. In recent years our alumni have found exciting careers in internationally renowned brands such as; Chanel, French Connection, Dior, Gap, ASOS and Marc Jacobs, as well as many of the national and international brands with support the charity with sponsorship each year.
GFW hosts an International Showcase on the final day of the event. Starting with four universities just five years ago, the 2018 edition featured 51 international universities from leading design schools around the world, including The New School Parsons in New York, Donghua University in China, Bunka Fashion College in Japan, Shenkar in Israel, Accademia Costume & Moda in Rome and numerous other international institutes. The Swarovski International Fashion Award invites these fashion institutes to enter their best and most innovative students for the opportunity to showcase their collection at Graduate Fashion Week.
“Graduate fashion week is an invaluable platform for all fashion graduates. We work in an incredibly competitive industry and the hardest part can be ensuring your work is seen by the right people. Graduate Fashion week is the platform that connects students with industry leaders and large companies, giving graduates the best possible start.”
Henry Holland, Designer and GFF Ambassador
GFF believes that supporting the next generation is vital, not just to the graduates themselves but also to the future of the fashion industry. But this is just the beginning, the charity’s work doesn’t stop with the end of the main event in June. GFF runs all year-round events, from its Houses of Parliament Reception to celebrate the years successes, to Regional Masterclasses, Panel Talks, International Showcases and running the Protégé Project, offering mentorship to select graduates for 2 years.
GFF organise and run events to provide employment opportunities and experiences relating to working in the fashion industries, as well as offering information on wellness, sustainability and diversity in fashion The GFW website has key areas recommending advice from GFF Alumni and industry experts to help support graduates as they leave university and move along their career ladder.
"I DO BELIEVE THAT BRITISH STUDENTS ARE FLOURISHING BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE BEST EDUCATION SYSTEM IN ENGLAND THAT GIVES ART & DESIGN STUDENTS THE FREEDOM TO THINK, TO DREAM AND TO DO."
Alber Elbaz, Fashion Design and Creative Director
*Statistics taken from British Fashion Council