After the excitement of our Graduate Fashion Week Gala Awards show we join an exclusive guest list of VIP guests at the New Look after party to unwind and maybe have a well-deserved glass or two, kindly provided by BullDog Gin. The sumptuous space is illuminated by radiant lights, and a relaxed hum runs through the throng of people gathered by the heavily stocked bar. For most of our talented young graduates, this is probably the first time they’ve exhaled in 3 months, having worked tirelessly day in day out, with many a sleepless night, to make the spectacle we had the pleasure of witnessing all week happen. People are already starting to move on the dance floor, and the Cano Water photo booth is already overflowing with ‘one drink in’ group shots.

It’s the first time many of our graduates have had the pleasure of seeing all their idols in one place, and the space is filled with figures whispering excitedly, swapping details and experiences. We’ve already spotted Daniel Lismore and Hilary Alexander, drinks in hand, looking fabulous in the garden, congratulating the prestigious Gold Award 2016 winner Hazel Symons from De Montfort. As she’s pulled away by a crowd of fellow graduates, showering her in much deserved praise, we take a moment to talk to her about her plans for the future. When asked what she intends to do with the outstanding £10,000 prize money will be she says, “It will definitely go towards doing a Masters Degree, but I’m unsure of whether I’ll do it straight away. I want to learn a lot of different crafts before deciding what to specialize in”, after all it’s all a learning process. It’s no wonder Hazel’s groundbreaking designs ruled the awards today, with her multitude of influences, having come from her home town in Cornwall where she’s had the constant support of her family. “My family is what made all of this possible, so I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them”. I let her integrate back into the festivities to enjoy her evening, and probably a long sleep if she has her way.

The talent in the room is almost overwhelming, and in this time it’s important for us to remember the constant hard work that has got everyone to the position they’re in now (standing in an exclusive party, Bulldog Gin cocktail in hand). The immense effort from everyone, including our very own event organiser, Martyn Roberts, has made this Graduate Fashion week positively electrifying. “This has been by far the best year yet”, he says, “Everyone from the sponsors to the graduates, to our amazing judges, has got really involved, which is what the whole event is about, collaboration”. Although Martyn still has a long list on the agenda, he’s excited to relax and spend time with his son once the job is done. “Not for long though”, he quickly adds, “Now it’s time to start again!”

As the atmosphere in the room begins to change and excited congratulations turn into louder confessions of adoration it’s time to let our wonderful mix of people enjoy their night. Without the help and team work of everyone in this room the event simple wouldn’t have happened, which is the beauty of Graduate Fashion Week. Our talented graduates have a lot of life to get on with, but for now, it’s time to relax and enjoy the fabulous hospitality courtesy of New Look. 

Kind Thanks to special guest DJ's Pam Hogg and Josh Quentin and sponsors New Look and BullDog Gin.