This year sees new brands flock to support Graduate Fashion Week the largest showcase of BA talent in the world, and the emerging young talent it represents. Ralph Lauren, John Lewis, Johnstons of Elgin, Tessuti and Size? 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 George, SmartFocus, ASOS, Boohoo, L’Oréal Professionnel, Bonmarché, Mothercare, Gap Inc., YKK and Boux Avenue.

Running the Education Hub, George will be handing out goodie bags and activity packs to school students and hosting talks and workshops between 12-3pm daily within the hub. As part of the continued partnership, the brand is also returning to sponsor the Catwalk To Store Award with a cash prize of £1,000. Collections will be judged by Mary Kate Campbell the Senior Design & Buying Director at George, Tracey Lea Sawyer the Fashion Director at Fabulous Magazine and Modist Influencer Zahra Rose.

Graduate Fashion Week are also excited to invite back global leaders in digital marketing, SmartFocus, as the official Digital Marketing Partner. They return to name ‘SmartFocus Catwalk Hall’ which will be hosting 25 catwalk shows across the four day event. Telling the story of Graduate Fashion Week, through its marketing platform Message Cloud, SmartFocus will provide industry leading marketing across all channels and support audience growth and engagement of the best upcoming design talent from across the world. 

Returning for another year, Manchester’s fastest growing international e-tailer will be sponsoring ‘The Social Media Award’ once more, as well as currently running an exciting design competition during the lead up to Graduate Fashion Week. The final design of this year’s competition winner will be created and sold on with an additional £1,000 prize money going to their final collection. As part of the continued partnership, will also have a stand present during the event for graduates to visit with their portfolios to obtain advice and learn more about the business.


L’Oréal Professionnel return to Graduate Fashion Week with a talented team, creating the iconic catwalk hair for all 25 shows taking place over the event, while London Beauty Artists will provide the make-up artists for all make-up looks across the shows, using make-up by internationally renowned beauty brand Max Factor.

Womenswear retailer Bonmarché are partnering with Graduate Fashion Week for the second time, returning to sponsor the Bonmarché ‘Fashion For All Award’. Submissions can be an inclusive collection, a marketing campaign or an innovative product that will be judged by industry experts including Mark Heyes Style Consultant at Bonmarché and Paula Moore Fashion Director at Woman Magazine. Mark Heyes will also join Hilary Alexander in conversation for a talk taking place on Tuesday 5th June from 7-8pm.

Lingerie and swimwear retailer Boux Avenue returns to sponsor two awards for 2018; the ‘Lingerie Award’ and the ‘Swimwear Award’ that will be judged by the successful team behind the brand – Group Marketing Director Sue Dover, Head Buyer Debbie Duckett and Chief Operating Officer Alex Paphitis. The brand will also have a stand on site for graduates to visit to learn further information on the lingerie and swimwear industry. 

New for 2018, 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 the Swarovski International Fashion Award and The Christopher Bailey Gold Award, the event’s most prestigious award with a £10,000 prize.

Drapers will continue its partnership with Graduate Fashion Week sponsoring the Fashion Publication Award, which will search for the brightest new talent entering fashion journalism. The panel will consist of Drapers Editor Keely Stocker and Features Writer Emily Sutherland, joined by Evening Standard Head of Luxury Maurice Mullen and Boys By Girls Magazine Editor Cecilie Harris. Having 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 your career in fashion.

Returning for a third year, Gap Inc. will be present with three brands from the company’s portfolio, Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic. The globally iconic retailer is bringing recruiting teams from the U.S. to scout for talent and will be sponsoring a brand new award for the charity, ‘The Best Catwalk Award.’ Gap Inc. will choose the best university catwalk show of the week based on creative diversity in the collections, innovative vision, empathy of the choreography and music, appropriateness of models, use of colour and texture and overall impact of the show. During the event, Gap Inc. will also host a booth and an industry panel talk within the GFW Live Talk Space, “Inside Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy - A Guide to Designing for an American Heritage Brand” led by the brands’ design and recruiting leads.


New for 2018 is streetwear specialist size? who will be sponsoring the Photography Award, which recognises the creative practice and the value it holds within the industry with a £750 prize. Hosting a talk with sportswear industry experts as well as being available to chat all things footwear during GFW, size? are also sponsoring the ‘size? Terrace Bar’. As part of the partnership the ‘size? Terrace Bar’ will also host live size? DJ sessions, daily raffles for trainers, bespoke brand events from the likes of Reebok, as well as custom refreshments being created by Manchester’s Black Milk. 

The two ‘Future Fashion Awards’ return for a second year. Developed and created collaboratively between GFW and global fashion destination ASOS, the Future Talent Awards, offer one for design and one for communications in all forms from photography, social media, styling, marketing and PR. This year sees the award also turned into a competition for first and second year student's from GFW university members.  ASOS will also have a stand on site during the event where graduates can gain valuable insight into how the business works and apply for current opportunities.

Sponsoring the ‘Accessories Award’ for the second year 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 will also be hosting a private industry drinks reception at their showroom in Shoreditch and an exhibition of winning graduates work from the 2017 GFW winners, throughout the month of June. This year sees the brand also take a stand for the first time, 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. They will also be running a YKK social media competition around the event, as guests search for YKK zips used across the student collections. On Tuesday 5th June, the brand will host a panel talk with Kei Kagami Creative Director of YKK, Jas Sehmbi Founder of Jas M.B and Tomasz Donocik Founder of Tomasz Donocik within the GFW Talk Live Space. 

Taking a stand showcasing ethical and sustainable fabrics, Lenzing are sponsoring Graduate Fashion Week for a second year alongside TENCEL™. In the lead up to Graduate Fashion Week, the textile company has been running a competition where 10 finalists have been trained in the importance and complexities of working with sustainable denim. The winner’s final pieces will be showcased in June during Graduate Fashion Week on the Considered Design Catwalk.

Graduate Fashion Week is excited to announce John Lewis as a new sponsor for 2018. Partnering on the event for the first time, the brand will host a talk within the GFW Talk Live Space and have a stand available for students to visit with portfolios, with John Lewis design and recruitment partners on hand to share advice and insight. John Lewis are also working with Graduate Fashion Week on a bigger project set to launch in autumn. 

Premium fashion retailer Tessuti are partnering with Graduate Fashion Week for the first time, sponsoring a new award “The Sports and Leisurewear Award”, where the winner will receive a prize of £1000, with an additional £750 going to the winning university. This award will be presented as part of the prestigious Gala Awards Show and will be judged by a panel of industry experts, including Tessuti menswear buyer Ghulam Khadki. Tessuti will also be offering opportunities for paid placements during the event, hosting a series of inspiring interactive events and sessions within the sponsorship floor. The space will be set-up for graduates to visit and discuss career opportunities within the wider JD Sports Fashion PLC team.

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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. Mothercare will also be present with a stand on site allowing graduates to talk directly to the team and seek advice and job opportunities.

New for 2018, luxury Scottish cashmere brand Johnstons of Elgin joins Graduate Fashion Week sponsoring the newly introduced Considered Design Showcase on Wednesday 6th June. The winner of the new Considered Design Award will receive £750 prize with an additional £250 going to the winning university.

Graduate Fashion Week Lifetime patron Vivienne Westwood has teamed up with new sponsor Lectra, on a competition pre-event which has seen six students trained in the software which supports sustainability through reducing waste in pattern cutting. The finalists have with make outfits that will be judged and on show during Graduate Fashion Week 2018.

The new ‘Get A Job Lounge’ will be sponsored and dressed by the Official Hotel Partner, Green Rooms – a pioneering and creative arts hotel based in London.  The private area is a space in which industry can meet with graduates and host interviews and private one-on-ones throughout the event.

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


Graduate Fashion Week is the world’s largest event for BA fashion talent and will be taking place on the 3rd- 6th June 2018 at The Old Truman Brewery, Shoreditch, London.