The Swarovski International Catwalk Competition took place on the final day of GFW and the audience spent the afternoon eagerly anticipating the winner announcement. As is always the case, it was difficult to bestow the award upon just one young designer, as the 32 university strong show, was refreshing, energetic and eye opening.

After much deliberation, Po-Chieh Chiu from Shih Chien University Taiwan, was announced as the winner at the prestigious Gala Awards show! His tailored 5 piece menswear collection featuring sculptural jackets and matching fedoras stood out amongst the collections showcased. The alternative take on classic menswear shapes shone through as a collection with simultaneous real life applicability and original artistic merit. 

Photography by Nicholas Kristiansen

The Swarovski International Catwalk Competition was held at midday on the SmartFocus Catwalk. This year the competition expanded to include 32 of the best designers from respectable international schools across the globe, with each one showcasing 5 or 6 looks. There is no doubt that the competition was far-reaching, hosting students from Sri Lanka, Israel, USA, Japan, Germany and Australia just to name a few.

Backstage was a marvellous mixture of colliding cultures, all coming together to appreciate fashion and celebrate graduating from the world's most respected global fashion institutions. Graduate Fashion Week is proud of it's diversity and of creating an atmosphere that loudly proclaims fashion is borderless.

Photography by Rory James

It was inspiring to see so many international students come together to exhibit their work under one roof. Because of the diverse range of designers, each collection brought something different to GFW and it was interesting as an audience to see how the techniques and practices varied from collection to collection. From Lyudmila Sullivan’s (Pratt Institute) collection of patchwork dresses, with delicate Swarovski details, to Indu Rai’s (Raffles Design Institute Hong Kong) use of small tulle roses and petals complimenting pinstripe trousers and jackets.

The Swarovski International Catwalk Competition offered attendees an insight into the many ways in which fashion design is taught around the world. It was a pleasure to have Swarovski and SmartFocus help facilitate such an enjoyable show- we want to wish the warmest congratulations to Po-Chieh Chiu for winning the competition. We will be fervently awaiting his next moves into the wider industry!



Words by Jasmin Oakes & Annabel Waterhouse-Biggins