We had an exciting selection of GFW Live! Talks on Monday 5th June with topics ranging from “The Art of Creative Catwalk Production”, to “Macro and Micro Trends that Influence the High Street”, as well as helping everyone to “Get Dream Job Ready”. Throughout these talks many of the audience members took part, engaging in conversations with industry workers and fashion designers, with the talks being sponsored by brands and GFW17 supporters, such as M&S, Tu by Sainsbury's, Boohoo and Debenhams. 

The first GFW Live! talk on Monday introduced a new take on catwalk shows and production, showing a side that often doesn't get too much attention, despite the enormity of it's influence upon the success of a collection. Designer Joshua Kane, Creative Director Hamish Jenkinson, and Graduate Fashion Week Operations Director, Gina Hewitt sat down to talk about what it's like for designers, and set producers working on their shows. For those interested in the production side of fashion, or designers looking to find inspirational ideas for a new take on traditional fashion shows, this talk gave lots of valuable tips and tricks, as well as recognising an often undervalued yet vital part of the fashion industry. 

TU at Sainsbury’s hosted a conversation with designer Henry Holland! Henry is known for his mischievous attitude and bold use of colour and print at his eponymous label House of Holland. His appearance ensured that the GFW Live Space was full to the brim with emerging designers eager to hear his offbeat and truly original perspective on the fashion industry. He discussed his history, creative processes as a designer and what he is working on right now, with Hilary Alexander OBE. This proved to be very insightful for the aspiring designers who attended, and the honesty that Henry spoke with shows that hard work pays off, as put frankly, Henry has “been working [his] ass off for 10 years!" 

Later in the day two members of the Marks & Spencer social team also took to the GFW Live! space to deliver an insightful talk about the importance of social media and research. It was certainly a useful discussion for anyone looking to promote themselves or their brands, and demonstrates an awareness of the changing nature of the fashion industry. As technology develops, so must the attitude of the fashion industry, and understanding your social media audience is a sure fire way to be at the frontier of advancement.

Kate Crossey, Design Director for Debenhams Womenswear, Accessories and Homeware, plus her “dream team” of three: style lab partners Angela Baidoo, Laura Yiamka and Nikki Gorrie altogether delivered “an insight into some key ingredients for how we create trends”. Trend forecasting is integral to marketing within fashion as well as in the creation of a successful brand. Alongside creative freedom and textile based artistry, an awareness of fashion's place in society and what might be coming next, certainly helps emerging and established brands gain a sure footing wihtin the industry!

GFW live for the day with Nicola Atkinson, a talented costume designer, who’s currently working on her fourth Little Black Dress collection in partnership with singer songwriter Alesha Dixon. Atkinson has previously designed show collections for the likes of Little Mix, Ellie Golding, Strictly Come Dancing and Britain's got Talent. She highlighted the importance of movement in design and considers it an essential when creating costumes for a lot of celebrities and shows.

Whilst for the graduates, it may be the end of their university career, entering the industry is an entirely new form of education. The GFW Live Talk Space is a place to hear from those with years of experience, and implement their advice into your own future ideas- education widens your prospects greatly, whatever form this may take!


Words by Jasmin Oakes and Annabel Waterhouse-Biggins