As Graduate Fashion Week 2019 comes to an end, the winners of this year’s Gala Catwalk Awards were announced, celebrating the ‘Talent of Tomorrow’ with graduate stars such as award winners Brian Mc Lysaght, Alexandra Fan and Hannah Stote. Over 150 judges joined the charity across the four-day event to decide 23 award winners, including: New Lifetime Patron and designer, Dame Zandra Rhodes joined the Hilary Alexander Trailblazer Award and GFW Ambassador, Christopher Raeburn who joined the Christopher Bailey Collection of The Year Award panel of industry experts.
This year, a Graduate Fashion Week shining star was Brian Mc Lysaght from Edinburgh College of Art, as he walks away with three awards. This year was a huge success for Edinburgh College of Art, as the students were awarded a total of five awards — the Conscious Design Award sponsored by Swarovski, the George Catwalk to Store Award, the Hilary Alexander Trailblazer Award, the Womenswear Award and the Christopher Bailey Collection of the Year Award.
The prestigious Christopher Bailey Collection of The Year Award, named after the first winner of the award in 1991, was awarded to Brian Mc Lysaght from Edinburgh College of Art, for his menswear collection, which was made from sustainable wooden textiles, paired with organic and recycled fabrics. Judges for the award included; Designer and Creative Director Christopher Raeburn, Times Fashion Director Anna Murphy, Editor for LOVE magazine Harriet Verney, Head of Global Creative Recruitment at LVMH Gena Smith, Tamara Ralph, Central Saint Martins MA Fashion Course Director, Fabio Piras, The Gentlewoman Editor-in-Chief Penny Martin, and Michael Russo, Founders & Creative Directors of Ralph & Russo.
Winner Brian Mc Lysaght said, “I’m so grateful and also grateful for everyone in my class. We’re always in dialogue with each other, asking what each other thinks.”
The Menswear Award was presented to Greg Brears from Birmingham City University for his utilitarian workwear collection. Judges on the prestigious award included; Kamran Rajput, Fashion Editor of Wonderland, Senior Creative Director of H&M, Petter Klusell, Creative Director of Wrangler, Sean Gormley and Barry Jordan, Vice President of Design for Menswear at Ralph Lauren.
Winner Greg Brears said, “It doesn’t seem real, I didn’t think I’d be here in first place, never mind win an award. I’d like to design workwear, like A Cold Wall, Off White, that kind of stuff, but I’m not too sure.”
The Womenswear Award was presented to Alexandra Fan from Edinburgh College of Art with her innovative collection. Judges included; Designer Henry Holland, Creative Director and Founder, House of Holland, YOU magazine’s Fashion Director, Shelly Vella, Premda Wunderle, Vice President of Design, Women’s Collection RTW, Ralph Lauren and Tu Head of Design, Anna Clarke.
Winner Alexandra Fan said, “This award means a lot to me, this was such a tough project and awards like this really encourage you to curate everything in the smallest detail. I started working on it in September and have been putting constant effort on it until the last day.”
The Catwalk Knitwear Award was presented to Hannah Stote from Bath Spa University for her sustainably-driven knitwear collection, inspired by traditional styles from British fishing villages. Judges included; Nike’s FlyKnit Design Director, Joanne Jorgensen, Fashioner Designer Julien Macdonald OBE, Deanna Ferretti, CEO, and Sonia Veroni, Co-Founder and Director of Modateca Deanna and Creative Director for Label/Mix at Next - Gemma Metheringham.
Winner Hannah Stote said, “It’s so fantastic to be recognised, and I think that sustainable fashion is so important! I have no words and I love to be able to share my work with everybody and show how interesting and exciting knitwear can be!”
The Hilary Alexander Trailblazer Award presented by Dame Zandra Rhodes and Hilary Alexander OBE was won by Brian Mc Lysaght from Edinburgh College of Art. Judges included; Hilary Alexander OBE, Fashion Designer Richard Quinn, Toni Blaze, Editor-in Chief of Wonderland and Fashion Designer and Living Artist Daniel Lismore.
The George Catwalk to Store Award went to Rosie Baird from Edinburgh College of Art. Judges included; Senior Buying Director at George - Mary-Kate Campbell, Alexandra Fullerton, Fashion Director at Glamour and Influencer – Megan Ellaby.
Winner Rosie Baird said, “I’m so overwhelmed, thank you to everyone who listened to what I have to say. My collection was inspired by story telling in Scotland.”
The Clarks Footwear Award was awarded to Keri Thornton from De Montfort University. Judges for the award included; Footwear Deisgner at Clarks - Keabetswe Masalila, Director of Footwear at WGSN - Claire Foster, and Hannah Rochelle, Creative Director and Founder of En Brouge.
Winner Keri Thornton said, “I just can’t believe it, I’m so excited to be the winner. I’m just looking for graduate opportunities, and really getting to grips with the whole industry from ideas, concepts, meeting new people.”
The Tu Sainsbury’s Scholarships went to Josephine Roberts and Michella Knight from Northumbria University and Nottingham Trent University. Judges included their new mentors throughout the scholarship, Design duo Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones and designer twins Tamara and Natasha from Tata Naka, plus Womenswear Designer at Tu - Toni Salters-Warner and Aimi Williams-Smith, Menswear & Childrenswear Design Manager at Tu.
Winners Josephine Roberts and Michella Knight said, “I can’t believe I’ve won the Tu Scholarship Award, this is absolutely amazing! It’s such an honour, really! I am so grateful and I’m so excited!” “I can’t believe it, I’m overwhelmed! Thank you so much.”
The International Fashion Award sponsored by GAP Inc. was awarded to Ivy Lam from Savannah College of Art and Design Hong Kong. Judges saw the best designs from over 40 international universities across the globe. The panel included; Deborah Joseph, Editor in Chief of Glamour, In the Frow’s Victoria Magrath, Queennie Yang, Editor of, Vogue International Asia and Vice President of Womens & Men Design for GAP, John Caruso.
Winner Ivy Lam said, “I have no words. I’m thinking of finding a job at a tailoring shop because I want to learn more technical practical skills and I can maybe start my own brand and studio.”
Conscious Design Award sponsored by Swarovski went to Brian Mc Lysaght from Edinburgh College of Art. Judged by Orsola De Castro, Founder of Fashion Revolution, Leslie Holden, Head of Postgraduate Studies at Amsterdam Fashion Institute, Telegraph’s Acting Senior Fashion Editor, Caroline Leaper and Brigitte Stepputtis, Global Head of Couture at Vivienne Westwood.