Grace Weller, from Bath Spa university, who won both the Best Womenswear and the Gold Award at Graduate Fashion Week 2014.
On Saturday, May 30, a former Victorian brewery in London’s East End will become the focus of world attention. The reason? The opening day of Graduate Fashion Week 2015, the biggest single event on the planet for the country’s newest, youngest and most exciting fashion talents.
More than 1,100 final year BA fashion students, from around 40 colleges and universities up and down the country will present their collections to an audience of influential press, buyers, global head-hunters, an impressive cast of judges – and their eager families. Nineteen universities are staging their own catwalk shows, including Kingston, Central Lancashire, Birmingham, Ravensbourne, Edinburgh, Northumbria, Manchester, and Nottingham Trent. And it is from these final-year creations that the awards for Best Womenswear, Best Menswear, Textiles, Creative Catwalk and the top prize, the Gold Award for best overall collection, worth £10,000, will be selected.
Designs by Rebecca Kellet, UCA Rochester
The judging panel includes some of the British fashion industry’s best-known experts including Fabio Piras, head of the MA course at Central St Martins; Ike Rust, head of menswear at the Royal College of Art; designers Julien Macdonald and Holly Fulton; Claudia Croft from Sunday Times Style magazine; TV fashionista Gok Wan; Manuela Brini, the talent manager for LVMH’s Young Designer awards; fashion blogger Susie Bubble; and Fiona Lambert, the vice-president of product design at George, which sponsors Graduate Fashion Week. Graduate Fashion Week, which is a charity, is now in its 24th year – and it is not just a platform to showcase the UK’s emerging fashion talents.
In recent years, GFW has also played host to colleges from all over the world. This year, graduate collections from universities in Russia, America, Colombia, Australia, Sri Lanka, India, Italy, France, Singapore, Taiwan, and Mexico will compete for the International Award.
Designs by Frida Hoffman Birmingham City University
The catwalk shows run throughout the day on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, May 30-June 1, while Tuesday June 2 features the Central College of Design Mexico solo show, the International Show, the Best of GFW show, and the glitzy Gala Awards, which will be hosted by Laura Whitmore.
Apart from the catwalk shows, all colleges and universities have their own stands in the exhibition, where you can see the graduates’ portfolios and work at close-hand. Plus, there are numerous talks, demonstrations and presentations. Nick Knight’s acclaimed ShowStudio is setting up a computer hub to film 3-D videos which students and visitors can post online. And the Royal School of Needlework, which embroidered the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress and veil, will be showcasing its work. I’ll be doing a series of “In Conversations With…” with the supermodel Erin O’Connor, Claire Wilcox, the curator of Alexander McQueen’s “Savage Beauty” at the V&A, PR guru Daniel Marks, Claudia Croft and various young designers.
If you want to take a look at the future of fashion – this is the place to be.
For tickets: www.gfw.org.uk/tickets