Graduate Fashion Week came to an impassioned end last night as this year’s vanquishers were singled out for prestigious awards that are aimed at propelling the careers of fashion talent into the mainstream cognizance. Now in its 26th year, Graduate Fashion Week bridges the gap between graduates and employment. With 22 catwalk shows over 4 days it provides the world’s largest platform from which young designers launch their careers. But clearly it’s not just a competition , it’s a celebration of all the UK’s incredibly talented design students from around the country as they graduate into the big wide fashion world. It’s always a joy to see the work of these ingenious students every year, a feeling of intoxicating freedom and sanguineness at the beginning of their stylish pilgrimage. The next generation of faculty this year was no disappointment, the standard was incredible. The Best of Graduate Fashion Week showed that by pushing extreme boundaries and ideas creates the drama that forces fashion to keep its hot wheels turning. Some personal highlights were Kate Clarke’s delighfully playful creations from Kingston University and Maddie Williams from Edinburgh College of Art showed us that you can make your entire collection out of recycled items.
Jamie Backshawl’s graphic florals from UCA Epsom showed effortless flair and Sarah Francis (of Stanford University) is definitely one to watch. Graduate Fashion Week represents the future of creative design and talent around the world, where each University has their own stand showcasing their students work and whilst flicking through the many beautifully presented portfolios between shows We wonder if these creative Millennials who are truly passionate about their future in fashion ever worry about being able to pay off their student loans or ever own a home? Given the world’s ecological, political and financial crises maybe what they actually want is a different future so they are subconsciously creating a different mood, tone and aesthetic to live by. These Graduates want to get it right, to avoid the chaos of recent events around the world. Fundamentally there is no one better than these young designers who have the energy and ideas required to create positive change. New talent is without a doubt the biggest influence on our industry. They need our support, encouragement and opportunity, in return they give us a desire and hope for the future.