Thursday, 14 June 2007

Graduate Fashion Week

Now in its 16th year Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) just keeps getting bigger and better. With over 60 exhibiting stands, 19 shows and multiple industry sponsors, GFW has become a talent spotting fest. Not only that, but with the likes of Alber Elbaz from Lanvin Paris, Glenda Bailey, Editor in Chief of US Harper’s Bazaar and a Ms Victoria Beckham on the judging panel it has become a glamorous, must-attend event.

The obsession with Ms Beckham was clear for all to see, many an eye looked her way as she sat in the front row and chatted to Glenda Bailey and Zandra Rhodes. Whether she is qualified to judge our latest batch of grads is up for debate but whatever your views her attendance certainly upped the press coverage – good news for all concerned. However, let’s hope the column inches are filled with more than quips on her latest skirt length.

A dominant topic noted in the exhibition this year was sustainability and green fashion practices. Students from various colleges were invited by main line sponsor River Island to create a complete outfit from found sources. The recreated pieces were displayed alongside the main catwalk.

The London College of Fashion stand, meanwhile, was composed by recycling 120 copies of the 2006 Year Book. The neon pink and black stand certainly caught the attention of David Dalziel who presented The Dalziel + Pow Stand Award to the College, no easy feat as the standard was extremely high, in particular from Northumbria College and UWE Bristol.

Due to fantastic press and public demand organisers had to schedule 2 gala sittings. Presented by Caryn Franklyn, industry faces included the likes of Hilary Alexander, Suzy Menkes, Colin McDowell and Jimmy Choo – it’s London Fashion Week all over again. The shortlisted show included some stunning draped dresses layered with romantic ruffles in cream and black by Lilli Rose Wicks, Somerset College of Design. A show-stopping burlesque inspired collection featuring swirly metallic prints on second skin catsuits from Sara Nowell, Northumbria University. Plus a return to the 80s via ghetto blasters, lycra, hoods and block colour thanks to Julia Ison-Stierer, Westminster University.

Award Winners 2007

Strategic Marketing Award

Sarah Hawkins from Northumbria University

Creative Marketing Award

Ravi Khanna from Nottingham Trent University

Daiziel + Pow Stand Award

London College of Fashion

Jon Adam Fashion Portfolio Award

Luke Miller

Society of Dyers & Colourists Colour and Textile Award

Lindsey Pinder from University of Northampton

Mulberry Accessories Award

Rachel Dougherty from Northumbria University

Boris Trambusti Fashion Imagery Award

Lindsay May from Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication

The National Magazine Company “First Word” Journalism Award

Olivia Bergin from London College of Fashion

Media and Design Award

Zoe Jeske from College for the Creative Arts at Epsom

Visionary Knitwear Award

Lilli Rose Wicks from Somerset College of Arts & Technology

Zandra Rhodes Catwalk and Textiles Award

Jessica Clarke from Manchester Metropolitan University

River Island Runners-up Award (Receiving £2,000)

Kelly Shaw from University of East London

River Island Gold Award

(A surprising decision to split the award with each graduate receiving £10,000 each)

Nicolas Thomas from UWE, Bristol

& Jasper Chadprajong from Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication

The split top prize went to menswear designer, Nicolas Thomas for his colourful take on knitwear and in the womenswear camp - Jasper Chaprajong with his sporty luxe collection that featured oversized hoods and tablecloth prints.
Graduate Fashion Week was h

Caryn Franklin commented how “Richard Bradbury (MD River Island) and his team have provided huge enthusiasm and commitment to Graduate Fashion Week.” While Victoria Beckham went on to say she found the standard of designs on show “phenomenal.”

eld at Battersea Park Arena, London. Original garments from this year’s graduates will be available to buy at a pop-up shop in the Contemporary Department of Selfridges, Oxford Street. The GFW pop-up shop will open on October 1st for one week only – don’t forget to make a note in your diary.

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