At Graduate Fashion Week 2018, there were 32 award winners, receiving prizes from recognition by large brands, trophies and large cash prizes. The awards are designed to support the varied fashion industry, from design and knitwear to publication and new media. One of the award winners this year, was Emma Dearling, who went home with the Drapers Fashion Publication Award! 

Graduate of Arts University Bournemouth, Emma's winning magazine focused on the lack of sexual education for generation Z, taking a humorous and pop art approach, using crass yet playful illustrations to bust taboos and invite conversation about an often sidelined educational limitation. 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. 


Firstly, a huge congratulations on winning at Graduate Fashion Week 2018! What award did you win?

I won the Drapers Fashion Publication Award at Graduate Fashion Week 2018.


How did it feel when your name was read out?

I felt overwhelmed and couldn't believe I had won when my name was read out.


Which university did you attend, and how do you think they prepared you for graduation?

I attended Arts University Bournemouth which taught me that independent learning and hard work is how you succeed.


Describe the inspiration and concept behind your work. 

The inspiration behind my work was the lack of sex education Generation Z receive. I wanted to create a publication where taboo topics such as this, could freely be explored and discussed in a personal and light-hearted way. This was done through the articles and podcasts with an open and inclusive dialogue, paired with funky illustrations and photography that depicted these topics in an upbeat manner.


What one thing would you recommend our readers do whilst at the event?

The one thing I would recommend readers to do whilst at Graduate Fashion Week, is to talk to the brands that sponsors GFW and the opportunities you can get involved in.


What do you plan to pursue now, and where do you hope to be in five years’ time?

In the future I want to start my own business and do what I love for a living: which is making things that make a difference and impact individuals. In 5 years’ time I hope to be able to make this happen. 


If you could give one piece of advice to yourself in first year, what would it be?

If I could give one piece of advice to myself in first year, it would be to believe in your ideas and follow concepts that have more depth to them than just making something look nice. 





Words and Interview by Annabel Waterhouse-Biggins

Photography by Will Barker