Graduate Fashion Week: Meet The New Catwalk Superstars

Photo: copyright © Simon Armstrong

Graduate Fashion Week has come around again, and to say we’re very excited would be a little bit of an understatement.

Launching May 30th GFW is an acclaimed highlight of the annual sartorial calendar, providing fashion students and graduates with the opportunity to promote their work before a board of recognised industry professionals, whilst at the same time giving them a taste of what it’s like to create, design and present a debut catwalk collection.

The charity organisation, founded in 1991 by Jeff Banks CBE, Vanessa Denza MBE and John Walford, has already helped launch the careers of some pretty noteworthy British designers including Christopher Bailey (who won the first ever Graduate Fashion Week Gold Award), Julien Macdonald and Stella McCartney. We know, impressive right? Victoria Beckham, Alber Elbaz, Claudia Schiffer, Roland Mouret and Julien Macdonald have all sat on previous GFW judging panels, and the prestigious Gold Award (currently sponsored by George at Asda) is the prize all students are gunning for.

Mary Benson's Graduate Fashion Show at University of Westminster, London Mary Benson’s 2014 Graduate Fashion Show at University of Westminster, London

Along with showcasing the work of over 1,000 students from the best UK and international universities across the globe, the programme also offers live talks, workshops and an exclusive Gala Award Show to round off the festivities. And don’t be fooled into thinking that GFW is purely about runway and couture; the body also recognises graduate work within the fields of journalism, styling and marketing.

See: Graduate Fashion Week’s 2014 Finale

And it appears that 2015 is already shaping up to be another stellar year for the organisation. Heralding the start of the graduate show season, the BA (Hons) Fashion Design students of the University of Westminster sent their inaugural collections down the runway last week before a discerning and distinguished collection of high profile guests and alumni, which included the likes of menswear designer Liam Hodges, and last year’s graduate Mary Benson- who debuted her own signature collection as part of Fashion East at LFW back in February.

Designs by Chloe McGeehan and Milena Konakchieva Designs by University of Westminster students Chloe McGeehan and Milena Konakchieva

Photo: copyright © Simon Armstrong

Highlights of the University of Westminster show included Chloe McGeehan’s fluid draped creations in a Mondrian-esque colour palette, and Milena Konakchieva’s dramatically layered pieces in opulent heavy fabrics, accesorized with decorative wooden handbag-frame sleeves.

Student Charlotte Scott made a playful nod to cubism with her structured menswear pieces in a variety of geometric patterned fabrics, whereas Niall Correll’s use of primary colour looked like streaked brush strokes of paint dribbling down a gorgeous cloth canvas.

Designs by Charlotte Scott and Niall Cottrell Designs by University of Westminster students Charlotte Scott and Niall Cottrell

Photo: copyright © Simon Armstrong

All of this amazing new talent already – and we haven’t even gotten fully underway!

Another GFW ‘one to watch’ is the work presented by Nottingham Trent University on June 1st. The final 21 collections were selected by a pretty enviable industry panel which included NTU alumnus Stuart Trevor, founder of All Saints and Bolongaro Trevor; fashion designer Brian Kirby of Boudicca and knitwear design expert Dawne Stubbs.

Designs by Jessica Barry and Naomi Moore Designs by Nottingham Trent University students Jessica Barry and Naomi Moore

For the second year running Graduate Fashion Week will be taking place at the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, and dont forget to check the GFW page for a full schedule of events.

See you there!