The first day of GFW 2017 kicked off with Where Are They Now? A talk where GFW Alumnus Hazel Symmons (winner of 2016 Christopher Bailey Gold Award) and Genevieve Devine (winner of 2016 Tu Womenswear Scholarship) sat down with us to talk about their ventures post Graduate Fashion Week. Both graduates have been busy with the challenging process of establishing their identities in fashion, however, both ladies reflected at their journeys with gratitude, especially Genevieve, who had great fun releasing her capsule collection for TU with British Designer Holly Fulton as mentor. 

Then, Debby Duckett, Buying Director at Boux Avenue shared with us her top tips in lingerie buying. However, it would be foolish to think her advice is limited to lingerie buying. Debby, who started as “baby buyer” and eventually became senior buying for Topshop and Primark emphasizes over and over again the importance of persistence in the fashion industry. Not just in buying, but in any sector of fashion, Debbie believes if one stick to what one believes in, anything is possible! 

At perhaps one of the most entertaining and comical talk of the week, Head of Menswear at Debenhams Julian Fuller spoke to us about the journey: From degree show to department store and how to establish your career in the fashion industry. Julian stressed the importance of attention to detail, “thinking about what the inside looks like as much as the outside”. As straight as he is, he admits he very much enjoy “staring at a guy’s bum” as his designs fit the body properly. The talk concluded with the thought that, to succeed in high street fashion, one must combine balanced visuals, design, and a sharp business acumen. 

At the next talk: From Concept to Collection, we had two very stylish and elegant ladies Nabina Legan (Head of Design for Womenswear at M&S), and Francessca Zedda (Head of Trends and Business at M&S) talk to us about materializing creative ideas into collections. In a world driven by social media, Nabina and Francessca say, originality and imagination are still the qualities that will set you apart. One note to take home from this talk is the importance of not letting the popular opinion and media world deviate you from your unique ideas and creations.  

Make-up and beauty lovers at GFW 2017 were lucky to hear directly from 3INA’s lead make up artist Anna-Sophie Costa on make-up’s changing values and identity in the creative market and how the beauty world has finally stepped out of fashion’s shadow.  Anna-Sophie notes that make-up now cater to a diverse range of customers and is “more individual and expressive”. 

Throughout the week, renowned fashion journalist Hilary Alexander hosts numerous conversation with special guests, and through their conversation revealing insights into the fashion industry.  Her first talk on Sunday was with three inspirational young designers sponsored by Swarovski: Sadie Williams, Art School, and A.V. Robertson. All three designers, despite their youth, gained success and reputable position among young designers by “not being afraid to try new things”. 

Electronic/Soul Singer turned Designer Connie Constance joined Hilary Alexander in the last GFW Live! Talk of the day sharing details of her recent campaign collaboration with Clarks as the footwear brand’s new brand ambassador. Behind Connie on the big screen, we see her dancing to a song she wrote exclusively for the brand, moving to mixed rhythms of ballet, contemporary, and hip-hop. It was so refreshing to see someone without a traditional fashion design background to come into creating footwear from sheer creativity and originality. Connie definitely proves fashion is a multi-faceted medium that accepts all kinds of creative ideas!