NOW IN OUR 28TH YEAR, GRADUATE FASHION FOUNDATION HAS THE MOST CREATIVE AND TALENTED ALUMNI. FROM DESIGNERS AND ART DIRECTORS TO PHOTOGRAPHERS AND STYLISTS, FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THOSE THAT HAVE SHOWN AT GFW AND BEEN SUPPORTED BY THE CHARITY.
Plymouth College of Art alumni, vibrant designer and mother Amy Bray, spent her time backstage at Graduate Fashion Week 2018, not only styling her pieces but being filmed by the BBC. Amy’s collection, “SIT DOWN SHUT UP!” and her journey to Graduate Fashion Week was filmed by the BBC, as one of the first ever fashions segments to be included on the ‘Inside Out’ local feature.
We caught up with Ericka as she considers her future in the industry, from specialising in print and textile design and prioritising self care during the creation of your graduate collection to individual designers responsibility to the betterment of the industry and monopolising your time to expand your skill set beyond university.
We caught up with Kirandeep Bassan, the Zandra Rhodes Textile Award winner from GFW 2013, to hear more about her journey into the industry for the last few years. From working collaboratively with other brands as a freelancer to pursuing her own line of graphic printed work, Kirandeep has forged her own path into the wider industry, putting her creativity and passion at the forefront.
Jennifer Healy, graduate of Manchester School of Art, was awarded the Tu Womenswear Scholarship at GFW 2018. With a penchant for the 1960's and charmed by the abstract movement in the art, Jennifer worked digitally to retain the essence of a brushstroke, and keep the individuality of handcrafted pieces in her final collection.
We caught up with graduate of LJMU, Helena Green, to find out what she's been up to since receiving the Superdry Outerwear Award in Truman Brewery this June. Helena’s work was originally inspired by the 1950’s teddy boy subculture with statement prints inspired by the iconography of astroid and space invader games prevalent in the 1980's.
Charlotte designed her menswear collections using inspiration from Baz Luhrmann’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and the retro beach setting for coach. Read how Charlotte used the pastel colour palette taken from Beate Gutschow’s work, to create a straightforward and relaxed Spring Summer collection with a delicate 70s touch.
Lucy Nolan, graduate of Northumbria University, won the Boux Avenue Swimwear Award at the 27th Graduate Fashion Week this summer! We caught up with the emerging swimwear designer to hear more about how the technicians at Northumbria expanded her skill set, aiding her creative development, and why marketing goes hand in hand with design.
The esteemed Gold Award Winner at GFW18, was Arts University Bournemouth graduate Rebecca Wilson, who received the prestigious prize this June. Inspired by the photographs of Victorian working class families, taken by August Sander and Horace Warner, Rebecca set out to create a collection that combined traditional and contemporary techniques.
In a world where freelancing is an ever increasing segment of work, and creatives may lend themselves to several different job titles, Smin Smith has embraced this multiplicity, through pursuing curation, styling, marketing and writing.
After graduating from Nottingham Trent University, Amy Carter felt ready to pursue a career in the knitwear industry. Armed with the technical skills, creativity and passion, Amy landed a position British Knitwear brand John Smedley. Responsible for heading up designer collaborations and showcasing these at international fashion weeks, Amy has exploded onto the knitwear scene.
We caught up with the young designer on why developing a signature style is crucial to the success of an emerging designer, how a learning curve at Kingston University taught her how to believe in her vision and work with integrity, and where she's going next.
We caught up with the University of Brighton graduate to hear more about how her university experience taught her to trust her creative judgement, why 1980's clubwear and beach silhouettes are the basis for her aesthetic and why wearable shelters are the way forward.
Judged by Rose Forde, Stylist, Phoebe Lettice, Creative Director at Illustrated People, and Amy Bannerman, Fashion Director at Cosmopolitan, GFW18's Styling and Creative Direction award was a demanding category. India Wright, graduate of Leeds Arts University, was awarded the accolade this June for challenging gender roles for her project 'It's a boy thing'.
Encouraged by the discovery that the West's problematic relationship to clothing has a damaging environmental and social effect upon the rest of the world, Saskia Lenaerts began to design with a particular consciousness. Recognising the multi-cultural world in which we live, Saskia used her creative pursuits to explore the remnants of colonisation, otherness, the way in which we form our identity.
We caught up with the winner of the first ever Level 4 ASOS Future Talent Communications Award winner Lauren Roberts, to hear more about her photography and styling projects, and her university experience so far. From finding endless inspiration in modern female magazine The Gentlewoman to the relationship between art and fashion, find out what inspires the emerging stylist and why network network network is always on her mind...
We caught up with the emerging designer to find out how her time at Arts University Bournemouth taught her to have more self confidence, learning to use the Lectra software and why she chose to go out of her comfort zone with her designs...
Charles Mein, the winner of the Clarks Footwear Award, is a young designer with an unusual back story. From redoing first year to learning how to see the world through a creatives eyes, Mein's design philosophy is one of constant learning, growing and expanding underpinned by hard work and focus.
Each year, Graduate Fashion Week holds an international catwalk competition, this year titled the Swarovski International Fashion Award. Danqi Chen, hailing from Beijing, won the award at GFW18, with her thoughtful and structural pieces. We caught up with the emerging designer to hear more about her cultural inspirations, plans to work in Paris and her advice for future talent.
Georgia Lyne, a Nottingham Trent University graduate, has a penchant for creating award winning sportswear. Heading up on stage in a tracksuit, the emerging designer received accolades at GFW18, in the way she knows how.
At Graduate Fashion Week 2018, design graduates were given the opportunity to pitch their work to Henry Holland, in order to win a two week placement at Debenhams, in the graphic t-shirt department. Elizabeth Welland impressed the pop art designer with her prints, inspirations and concepts and was named the winner of the placement!
Jamie Windust is an incredibly important voice in the industry today. After finding a lack of media created by people of the LGBTQ+ community, Jamie used their final project to elevate these voices by creating a platform, titled Fruitcake Magazine. The magazine was consequently praised for it's pioneering and authentic attitude by the ASOS team and award judges, culminating in Jamie receiving the ASOS Future Talent Communications Award.
Fraser Miller, graduate of De Montfort University and joint winner of the Visionary Knitwear Award, took inspiration from the textures, patterns and styles of the wallpaper, curtain and tiles in the 70's, 80's and 90's. We caught up with Fraser to hear more about the surreal experience of winning, why networking is so crucial for success and the importance of developing independence in your design process. Find out why he's discouraging the 'good grade attitude' !
Daisy Ratcliff, Northumbria University graduate and GFW18 Fashion Marketing Award Winner, has a refreshingly honest perspective on design - a voice much needed in the industry. With an award winning project that takes the numbers away from sizing and looks to approach clothing experiences for young girls as a positive experience, Daisy hopes to alter the preconceived notions surrounding childrenswear, and the space between clothing for kids and that for teenagers.
Bonmarche Fashion for All Winner, Bethany Wainwright graduate of UCLAN, created a collection and campaign surrounding the concept of the colour 'nude'. Using slogans such as 'One Nude? How Rude' to question the established perceptions around skin colour and eradicating the 'standard' to recognise all women, Bethany caught the attention and became an aware winner at GFW18.
Alicia Brown, graduate of Leeds Arts University and winner of the Boohoo Social Media Award at GFW18, showcased her work to a fantastic response. Find out how what inspired the project, her hopes for the future, and advice for students, as we catch up with the award winning graduate who turned the slogan 'Boy Bye' into a full blown campaign...
Niamh Carr, graduate of Manchester Fashion Institute, recently won £1000 and a further £500 for her university, by creating a denim jacket and winning the Lenzing Sustainable Denim Competition! We wanted to find out more about the photography that inspired the collection, why sustainability and responsibility aren't trends and the meaning behind the name of Niamh's final collection "Just Do Your Bit”, so we caught up with the young designer to hear more about her work.
At Graduate Fashion Week 2018, there were 32 award winners, receiving prizes from recognition by large brands, trophies and large cash prizes. One of the award winners this year, was Emma Dearling, who went home with the Drapers Fashion Publication Award! We caught up with Emma to find out how she feels about winning, what she plans on doing next, and why dialogue is integral to progress.
ITS 2018, International Talent Support, is now in the 16th year! Ready to gather a new generation of creativity in Trieste on 27 June 2018, the initiative has just announced the shortlists for various categories, including Accessories, Jewellery, Fashion and Artwork.
Currently working on her SS19 collection for her eponymous brand, Ruth Peterson, is a distinguished GFW and Kingston University alumni. From showcasing her graduate collection in Paris post-GFW and turning her horror obsession into a clothing brand, Ruth has been busy since graduation.
Siri MacDonald, the Head of Womenswear Design at Superdry, has a wealth of knowledge working with many retail brands such as ASOS, Marks and Spencers' and Next. As a Graduate Fashion Week alumni, we were eager to find out how her experiences at GFW and university have shaped her creativity today. From New York to Northumbria, Siri has spent time working within design, styling and editorial, choosing to focus on design.
Carter Wagner, Creative Director at Cell Workout and graduate of Plymouth College of Art, has recently returned to London after exploring her career options. After having her garments featured in ELLE Slovenia and a short period working on a freelance basis in Germany, Carter is embarking on her next career step as the newly appointed role of Creative Director of Cell Workout.
As a designer that enjoys the process of creation from inception through to pattern cutting, and production to the final collection, there are many areas to consider when selecting a specific discipline. Whilst Yu ponders her future career, we sit down to discuss fashion as a platform to spread awareness of political issues, her experiences at university and living in the moment.
A Fashion Promotion & Imaging graduate, Alec Mather explored various paths into the industry from menswear styling to events, before finding his niche in model booking. From connecting models with stylists, understanding how images are created through collaboration and progressing to Senior Agent, Alec is in the midst of an exciting career.
Dan Hanvey, Menswear Design Manager at Superdry, has spent a career experiencing the industry, exploring fresh ways to incorporate history and sub cultures into design whilst remaining inspired and generating new ideas. Treading the line between lifestyle and fashion, Dan has worked for FatFace, RipCurl and White Stuff. Having been at Superdry for seven years, we look back at how it all began...with Graduate Fashion Week!
Amy Vanderwal, emerging designer inspired by rebellious youth culture and mentored by Oliver Spencer, won a scholarship at GFW17 last June. Since then, the menswear graduate has been busy creating a collection to be released for Tu in Sainsbury's, learning that mistakes are a natural part of progression and why menswear is the most exciting element of the industry right now.
From exploring new knitting techniques at university, to interning at the ethically conscious Missoni, Sophie Whatling has been taking steps into the industry since showcasing her Menswear collection at GFW17. The menswear collection created at Arts University Bournemouth captured attention at Graduate Fashion Week last summer, and it's not solely for the illustrative aesthetics.
Tom Bird-Jones, graduate of Manchester Metropolitan University, currently holds the position of a design assistant at a large online retailer. We caught up with the GFW17 alumni to hear why he feels completing internships is crucial, how his student collection explored the notion of fairytales through heavily embellished and theatrical pieces and how elated he felt as being chosen to showcase at GFW17.
We caught up with the emerging designer to learn more about her vision for the future of fashion, how integrating into an established design company works and how her award winning graduate collection has a mind of it's own.
Menswear Designer Susan Forrest, who recently travelled to Dubai with us to showcase as part of the Fashion Forward Dubai (FFWD), took her vibrant designs to the streets of London during London Fashion Week. Susan is an alumni of Graduate Fashion Week 2017 and was selected as the finalist for the best of GFW17 show.
Menswear designer, Poppy Russell who graduated from the Arts University in Bournemouth and participated in Graduate Fashion Week 2015 gave us the chance to catch up with her to find out where she is at now and how her design journey is going. Russell reflects on her time at University, her collection and the concept that inspired her.
Emily Clark, menswear designer and alumni of Kingston University, presented her capsule collection at Graduate Fashion Week as part of the Best of Show. Inspired by the colourful originality of Salvation Mountain in California, and with an aesthetic focused on graphic prints, Emily was coined as an particularly inventive emerging designer.
After spending time at Pylot ('I learnt to break the rules') and beginning many passion projects, That's What She Said stood out as particularly poignant, and is set to rapidly expand with the help of agency Revolt. Read on to hear more about Izzy's experiences at Salford University, advice for succeeding at GFW18 and why she adamantly follows the mantra, “It is easier to build strong children than repair broken men” by Fredrick Douglass.
Harriet Eccleston, recent graduate of Northumbria University, showcased her designs at Graduate Fashion Week 2017. After being shortlisted for the Tu Scholarship award, the talented young designer has been awarded the Young Designer of the Year 2017 Award at the Midlands Fashion Awards! We caught up with Harriet to hear about her future plans, creative outlets and experiences in the industry so far.
Megan Davies, graduate of University of South Wales and winner of the Clarks Footwear Award at GFW17, garnered interest whilst showcasing her historically inspired designs to the 30,000 guests that head through Graduate Fashion Week each year.
Claire Tagg, the runner up for the GFW17 M&S Womenswear Award, has had an exciting few months. Since showing an artistic occasionwear collection comprised of classic silhouettes and sequins, the young designer has had the world at her feet
We caught up with Alannah Cooper, a star student from Graduate Fashion Week and the outstanding winner of our Fashion Photography award. Alannah fell in love with photography at the young age of 14 and has pursued her creative passion ever since.
Looking through the versatile collection’s textured, raw-edged, heavy duty pieces, it is easy to see a process of development and a story from the designer’s side. We spoke with Po-Chieh to learn more about his inspirations, and find out what went into his collection, the competition, and what it was like to win such a prestigious award.
It’s only been two months since Catherine Watts left Graduate Fashion Week, with two impressive awards in her hands, after captivating the judges with her childrenswear collection on our SmartFocus Catwalk. Catherine was announced the winner of the Mothercare Childrenswear Award as well as the Dame Vivienne Westwood Sustainable and Ethical Award, and is now working with the likes of Mothercare and Lenzing Materials. We caught up to discover what life has been like since Graduate Fashion Week, her thoughts on the experience and what the future holds for this exceptionally talented graduate.
Kate Clarke isn’t your average graduate. Having shown her collection on the SmartFocus Catwalk around a month ago, the Kingston alumni is about to pack her bags as she moves to Paris. Having previously interned with the likes of Sophie Hulme and French Connection - she has now been snapped up by one of the biggest fashion houses in the industry, Chanel. We sat down with Kate to discuss her excitement for the future and her time at Graduate Fashion Week:
For me London and GFW / International is at the heart of creativity and novelty but above all the fusion of the many cultures. It was an enormous honour to be able to show on that catwalk with so many graduates from different institutions.
Exactly the next day after coming back from London, I received a phone call from the human resources of Dolce and Gabbana, that Friday I had an interview with Mr Domenico Dolce himself and the following Wednesday I was already working in the menswear office.
Life after Graduate Fashion Week can get pretty excited- think your dream job, and then think bigger. We've been catching up with our alumni, to bring these inspirational career stories to light, to encourage you to keep putting in those late nights at the studio and to get you excited about #GFW17! We can't wait to kick off the workshops, catwalk shows and live talks in June.
Our most recent interview is with the Scottish born Morwenna Darwell, currently a junior designer at Gucci living in Rome, to find out about how opposites are sometimes the most complimentary, creativity and why you should update your linkedin. Like now.
After Graduate Fashion Week, our alumni go on to some amazing companies, and so we've been chatting with them to find out how to make the most out of GFW17, how to enter a seemingly intimidating industry and why you should never stop learning.
We spoke with Rachael Eustace, now a menswear designer at H&M in Stockholm, who showed her graduate collection in 2015.
We caught up with graduate of Nottingham Trent University and award winner at GFW25, Rosella May, to see what she's been up to since the long days of sewing and toiling to put together a collection to send down the catwalk in Truman Brewery. It's been a busy yet exciting year for the young designer- read on to find out more about her time working alongside SEO Jarkata in Indonesia, experiences designing within a different culture and what it's like to now be a junior denim designer at Calvin Klein!