Graduate Fashion Week never fails to present some amazing new talent. With universities across the country (and some from overseas) presenting collections from BA students, there’s always an abundance of creativity and innovation, and this year was no exception. Held in London over four days, the annual event finished with a grand awards ceremony, hosted by Laura Whitmore. Dressed in a skirt designed by a student from the University of Central Lancashire, Laura introduced the likes of Susie Bubble and George’s Vice President of Product Development and Design, Fiona Lambert, to present awards to the winning students.
There was a trio of champions for 2015, scooping an impressive two awards each. Ella Nisbett of Nottingham Trent University won the Menswear and Visionary Knitwear awards for her colourful collection (major J.W Anderson vibes) while Melissa Villevielle won in the womenswear and textile categories for her intricate, striped creations. But the big winner of the night was Manchester School of Art’s Hannah Wallace, who not only receieved the Creative Catwalk Award but also the George Gold Award, which includes a whopping £10,000 cash prize.
Hannah’s winning menswear collection featured futuristic designs inspired by astronauts and the planet of Pluto. With an anarchic feel, there were padded coats in foil silver and black, showcasing Hannah’s incredible craftsmanship. We caught up with the winner once the gold confetti had settled, who told us just how overwhelmed she was to receive the honour. “It’s a dream come true and I am just so pleased that all of the hard work has paid off,” Hannah said. “You dream about seeing your collection on the catwalk and being able to show at Graduate Fashion Week, with this result, is an incredible experience.”
Hannah also told us that she was drawn to menswear because of the ‘technicality’ involved, citing Brit designer Nazir Mazhar as one of her favourites. So what’s next for Hannah? “I’d love to eventually design my own sportswear and have my own brand. I don’t know really, I’m just excited to see where it takes me!”
The future certainly looks bright for Hannah and her fellow graduates. As Fiona Lambert told us: “Every year, Graduate Fashion Week astounds us. I have been incredibly impressed by the creativity, level of detail and the workmanship. We chose Hannah Wallace as the George Gold Award winner because her designs showcased such dexterity of craftsmanship, which gave incredible silhouettes. Her collection is unique and shows pattern cutting skills at their best.”
We were certainly humbled by the ashtonishing variety of skills and talent on show at GFW, which celebrates its 25th birthday next year. It remains the largest platform for graduates and has previously celebrated the likes of a young Christopher Bailey. Now the C.E.O and Creative Director of fashion behemoth Burberry, it seems that Graduate Fashion Week provided a great start to Christopher’s career, and we have a sneaking suspicion that it will do just the same for Hannah.
Watch our interview with the 24 year-old to find out more about her design inspiration, and see her collection on the catwalk. It might be over for another year, but for the graduates who presented their work this year, it’s only just beginning.