We are so excited to announce the launch of The Protégé Project for GFW. A scheme especially designed to support the award winners of the Graduate Fashion Week event that we host each June. The protégé project was created to aid our graduates as they enter the industry.

Graduate Fashion Week is the largest platform in the world for new BA fashion talent, highlighting the latest upcoming stars in design, creative direction, marketing, communication, photography, illustration and all aspects of the modern business of fashion.  A registered charity, which for the past 26 years has been a crucial platform for launching the careers of many UK and international graduates, dedicated to easing the transition between education and the industry. As an annual event, GFW has been supporting universities to showcase their graduate talent and promote their work to prestigious recruiters and industry professionals.

The Graduate Fashion Week mentoring panel for The Protégé Project, is made up of volunteer executive professionals from the fashion industry, within areas such as retail, design, manufacturing, business management, PR, media, marketing, legal and recruitment.

The graduates will have access to their mentor for two years starting from November 2017 and will meet in person for in depth mentoring sessions seasonally, approximately every four months allowing them all to have a unique insight and gain essential knowledge for their futures.


“I am really happy to support the graduate fashion week mentoring initiative, and through this help support talented graduates get a start in the industry.”

-Mentoring and Chair of The Protégé Project, Gemma Metheringham, Creative Director of LABLE/MIX at Next  


Following Graduate Fashion Week in June 2017, many of the graduates will embark on their future career straight after graduation, often being snapped up by top employers. Being a young graduate can be very exciting time but one that can also be challenging and daunting, requiring ability to adapt to new working environments and different demands.

This is an important period for our graduates who are going through a big transition from study to employment and having a mentor can mean huge opportunity for their growth and journey into the next part of their professional lives.  GFW strongly believes that with the mentoring programme, together with our dedicated mentors we can improve the experience of our talented graduates, helping them along the way towards achieving successful careers and boosting employability. 

Each award winner will be matched with a selected mentor, based on their application, pre-screening and what skills would best assist them with their impending careers.

The mentor will be helping graduates with their next career steps, supporting the graduate with the move towards employment helping to identify goals and targets to work towards and achieve aspirations. They will provide advice on best work practices and professional approach, sharpen the graduate’s CV and interview techniques,  offering support and motivation as well as advice on overcoming obstacles and being in professional environment. Mentors that are highly experienced means that by sharing their personal career journeys , they are able to signpost to other support resources, connect with networks and give the rounded support necessary for success in the industry.  


“Work of the Graduate Fashion Foundation doesn’t stop at GFW in June. The British Fashion industry wants to give back, and the Protégé Project enables people to give knowledge and industry experience to the next generation of talent. It’s so important for our graduates, in what can be a major change in their life that they are offered support so they can go on to achieve successful careers and by doing so help boost the fashion industry and economy. “

-Martyn Roberts, Creative Director of Graduate Fashion Week


Full List of Mentors:

  • Gemma Metheringham, Label/Mix, Next, Creative Director

  • Ainsley Walker, Karen Millen, Head of Design

  • Anna Clarke, Sainsburys Supermarket Ltd, Head of Design - TU Clothing

  • Caren Downie, The Fashion Squat Ltd, Director

  • Chimere Cisse, Former Burberry, Global PR & Strategic Communications Manager

  • Emma Davidson, Denza, Managing Director

  • Harriet Saywood- Bellisario, Label/Mix, Next, Designer

  • Helen Low, Former George, Asda, Former Senior Design Director

  • Henry Holland, Henry Holland, Director & Designer

  • Holly Fulton, Holly Fulton, Director & Designer

  • Jan Miller, Jan Miller, Director

  • Julian Fuller, Debenhams, Head of Design Menswear

  • Kathryn Radcliffe, Director Richards Radcliffe Consultancy

  • Katie Greenyer, Pentland Brands, Creative Talent and Networks Director

  • Keely Stocker, Drapers, Editor

  • Leandra O’Sullivan, Debenhams, Head of Design Womenswear, Director

  • Natalia Serantes-James, ASOS, Head of PR

  • Oliver Spencer, Oliver Spencer, Director & Designer

  • Peter Ruis, Jigsaw, CEO

  • Sarah Taylor, SmartFocus, Chief Marketing Officer

  • Tania Littlehales, Marks & Spencer, Head of Product PR

  • Tess Richards, Richards Radcliffe Ltd and Richards Radcliffe Consultancy, Co Founder and Director



GFW is the world’s largest event for BA Fashion talent and next year’s event will take place on the 3rd-6th June 2018 at The Old Truman Brewery, Shoreditch, London. To find out more about the Graduate Fashion Week Protégé Project, click here. 



Words by Amber Whitaker

Photography by Rory James, Danny Woodward, Lowri Cooper