This year sees new brands flock to support Graduate Fashion Foundation, the charity behind Graduate Fashion Week the largest showcase BA talent in the world, and the emerging young talent it represents. Specsavers, Matalan, Jack Wills and JD Sports Fashion are the latest leading retailers to get involved in the four-day event that aims to bridge the gap between graduation and employment, joining the likes of Ralph Lauren, L’Oréal Professionnel, Mothercare, YKK and size?. 

Graduate Fashion Week are excited to welcome back for the third year, global leaders in footwear Clarks, as the official Catwalk Hall partner, which will be hosting 23 catwalk shows across the four-day event. The renowned British footwear brand are partnering with the GFF charity sponsoring,‘The Footwear Award’ which builds on Clarks’ commitment to original creativity. The award asks for final year students to design an original footwear concept for Clarks, following a brief set by the brand. The winner will be announced at the Gala show receiving a prize of £5,000 and a work placement with Clarks to develop their winning design, which will be unveiled at the GFW Houses of Parliament Event in Autumn 2019.

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New for 2019, Specsavers will be present during Graduate Fashion Week showcasing the new Design Collective collection for 2019 on their stand within the sponsorship floor. The space will be set-up for graduates to visit to obtain advice, with the chance to speak to the Specsavers team in terms of possible future careers and the opportunity to enter this year's Design Collective Competition for their chance to be part of the Design Collective range in-stores 2021. A live interactive artist will be on stand creating fashion style sketches of guests for people to take away with them. Furthermore, Specsavers will hold a talk with the international design team within the ‘GFW Live’ talk space.

Matalan join Graduate Fashion Week for 2019. As part of the new partnership, Matalan will be present with a stand, hosting a series of Q&A sessions with experts from the brand across different departments, as well as some special surprise guests! In addition to the Q&A’s, there will be a series of interactive workshops for graduates to get involved in and show their creative flair. The Matalan team will be on hand to meet with graduates; answering any questions they may have, reviewing their portfolios with them, offering advice and teaching them about the business, as well as discussing career opportunities with the brand. Matalan will be showcasing their new SS19 collections, as well as exclusively debuting the new Bags of Talent Graduate Fashion Foundation bag, designed by the world famous, Julien Macdonald and sold exclusively through Matalan, with a percentage of sales being donated to the charity.

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Returning for a second year, Ralph Lauren will be partnering with Graduate Fashion Week on a talk during the event and a stand onsite for graduates to visit with their portfolios and obtain advice and insight into what it takes to run a globally successful designer brand. In addition, senior members of Ralph Lauren’s design team will join the judging panels for both the Womenswear and Menswear Awards that hold a top cash prize. Ralph Lauren will be continuing their work with the GFW charity in Autumn 2019 on a second regional tour, taking industry out to select UK member universities.  

Leading lifestyle clothing retailer FatFace return for a second year, running their successful GFF T-shirt competition that will see two winning students designs sold across FatFace stores nationwide. Industry judges Christopher Raeburn and Rob Teatum from Teatum Jones will judge the design entries alongside Fatface Design Director Emma Shaw. The winning designs will be on display at GFW in June and will retail this Autumn.

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L’Oréal Professionnel return to Graduate Fashion Week with a talented team, creating the iconic catwalk hair for all 23 shows taking place over the event, while charity member institute Solent Univeristy will provide the make-up artists for all make-up looks across the shows from their renowned BA Hons Make-Up & Hair Design degree course. 

Drapers will continue its partnership with Graduate Fashion Week, returning with an interactive stand on site. Drapers will have a jobs board that allows graduates to see available industry positions and speak with the team, gaining valuable insight and advice on a career in fashion. 

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Returning for 2019 are streetwear specialists size? who will be sponsoring the ‘Styling and Creative Direction Award’, which recognises the creative practice and the value it holds within the industry with a cash prize. Top industry judges joining the award include VIP stylist Kyle De Volle, Vogue Contributor Bay Garnett and Cosmopolitan Fashion Director Amy Bannerman. Hosting talks with sportswear industry experts as well as being available to chat all things footwear during GFW, size? are once again sponsoring the popular ‘size? Terrace Bar’. As part of the partnership the ‘size? Terrace Bar’ will also host live size? activities, recruitment and paid placement drives, raffles for trainers, custom refreshments and a very special bespoke product event from Reebok, exclusive for the duration of GFW.

Premium fashion retailer Tessuti are partnering with Graduate Fashion Week for the second time, continuing to sponsor the “Sports and Leisurewear Award”, where the winner will receive a cash prize. This award will be judged by a panel of industry experts, including Tessuti Menswear Buyer Ghulam Khadki, Adidas 3D Apparel Designer Alex Mattsson, Sportswear Editor Cobbie Yates and HighSnobiety Editor-at-Large Christopher Morency. Tessuti will also be offering opportunities for paid placements during the event, hosting a series of inspiring interactive events and sessions as part of their VIP bar.  

JD Sports Fashion, the umbrella group of Size? and Tessuti, join GFW as a new sponsor for 2019, with a stand within the sponsorship floor. The space will be set-up for graduates to visit and discuss career opportunities and placements within the wider JD Sports Fashion team and to learn more about the opportunities available in the sports and leisurewear market. Alongside opportunities, the brand will be running interactive competitions and raffles with high end prizes.  

Parenting retailer, Mothercare, will be sponsoring the ‘Childrenswear Award’ once more. The winner will be judged on their creation of a 12-piece collection, and their submitted moodboards, illustrations and technical drawings that will be judged by industry experts and the Mothercare team live on the stand. Mothercare will also be present with a stand on site, allowing graduates to talk directly to the team and seek advice and job opportunities.

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Sponsoring the ‘Accessories Award’ for the third-year running is YKK; global providers of fastening solutions for creative industry. The Accessories Award looks for a modern directional approach to the accessories arena, covering millinery, shoes, bags, belts and jewellery. YKK London Showroom will be hosting an exhibition of winning graduates work from the 2018 GFW winners, throughout the month of June at their Shoreditch Showroom located just four minutes from GFW venue.

This year sees the brand return with an innovative stand, designed and curated by YKK Europe Ltd Ambassador, Kei Kagami. The space will host interactive activities with the opportunity to learn more on the brand. YKK has also been supporting the charities UK member universities with access to free zips and fastenings for final year students to complete their collection with alongside running the #TagYourYKK social media competition for one lucky student to win a YKK goody bag and a day in the life with designer, Kei Kagami.

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Leading British retailer Jack Wills, joins GFW for the first time, bringing its effortless style to the sponsorship floor with a fun interactive stand. They will be running live t-shirt customisation workshops as well as showcasing their new campaign shot by photographer Paul Weatherall. Guests and graduates will be able to meet with the Jack Wills team to seek guidance and advice on work opportunities.

Taking a stand showcasing ethical and sustainable fabrics, Lenzing are sponsoring Graduate Fashion Week for a third year alongside TENCEL™. They will be returning with their new unique TENCEL™ wings feature, challenging event goers to enter an interactive social competition to win a top prize. The brand who specialises in deriving fabrics from certified and controlled sources will also be hosting a daily live talk in the new Considered Design Hub. 

Talent Tin is new for 2019 GFW, connecting fashion brands to the world’s most creative talent. An industry-first platform which is totally reimagining the fashion process. From textile designers, through to stylists & photographers, freelancers have to apply to gain access to career-defining jobs. Talent Tin will be present with a stand enrolling talented graduates onto its listings and showcasing available jobs.

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Premium Italian accessories brand Crisden partners with GFF, supporting the new ‘International Artefacts Award’ with three $500 winners in areas of; Fashion Product Design, Concept and Materials & Embellishment. The judging panel will be selecting the winners from this year’s International Exhibition which will be highlighting this important area and promote to the institutes and graduates that contribute to the research and development of not only shoes and bags, but the wider perspective of this exciting area of international fashion.

Luxury cruise line Cunard will also be partnering with the Graduate Fashion Foundation for its 2019 Transatlantic Fashion Week taking place 28 July – 4 August on board the iconic luxury ocean liner Queen Mary 2. Six graduates, selected by the Graduate Fashion Foundation and Colin McDowell MBE will have the opportunity to showcase pieces from their graduate collections via a stunning runway show during the week at sea. 

Special thanks also goes to Sainsburys for supplying beverages for the Chairman’s Gala Drink Reception, Can O Water for supplying Graduate Fashion Week with resealable recyclable water and Twinnings for providing tea and refreshments in the VIP lounge, backstage and Media Hub.