Thursday, 13 June 2024

Graduate Fashion Week 2024 Celebrates Young Visionaries

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GFW - Shaojing Zhu

Arrived at its 33rd edition, Graduate Fashion Week is back to bridge the gap between graduation and employment by shining a light on the talent of tomorrow.

From fashion illustration to fashion innovation and more, Graduate Fashion Week 2024 is awarding talented graduates in an event long 4 days.

About Graduate Fashion Foundation

Awarding the best of fashion graduates and launching their careers, this is the mission of Graduate Fashion Foundation during Graduate Fashion Week. Over the 33 years of activities, this charitable organisation has supported more than 100,000 newly graduated and undergraduate students. The organisation is backed by several global brands and companies dedicated to supporting the emerging designers and creatives of the future, and it also benefits from the wisdom of high-profile ambassadors and Lifetime Patrons, including Dame Zandra Rhodes DBE RDI, Christopher Bailey MBE, Nick Knight OBE, Victoria Beckham OBE, Caryn Franklin MBE, Gok Wan MBE and Christopher Raeburn. 

Graduate Fashion Week 2024: Day-1 Winners

As part of the 4-day long event from the Graduate Fashion Foundation that works to bring innovative and emerging talent to the world’s attention, eight awards were presented to graduates on Day 1, Monday the 10th of June, by Isabella Silvers, Graduate Fashion Foundation Ambassador and Journalist. Graduate Fashion Week 2024 announced winners across eight categories including Accessories, Fashion Illustration, Fashion Innovation and more, following an exciting day of presentations.

On hosting Monday’s awards ceremony and the night’s winners, Isabella Silvers said: “It’s always such a joy to be involved with the week and see the immense talent on show – it always makes me wonder what I was doing while I was graduating University!" Isabella continued: “To name the winners is just such a pleasure, to know that we’re recognising their work and inspiring them to do huge, amazing things within the industry.”

The Fashion Illustrator Award was given to Holly Evans from Arts University Bournemouth. On winning, Holly said: “It means so much to win today, it really does. It’s been three years of really hard work, and amazing support from my university, my family and friends. Fashion illustration is so pivotal to the industry, and it isn’t as celebrated as it should be – so I’m so excited to be coming up into the industry and being recognised for my work today!”

On her design, Holly added: “For generations, my family has hosted dinner parties. When it was finally my turn to host, I quickly discovered that I can't cook! My attempts often resulted in food poisoning, leading to a running joke about whether I did it on purpose. This inspired my collection, which is centred around murder mysteries set at dinner parties. I based my fashion illustrations on the kinds of people who would attend these gatherings.”

The Accessories Award, supported by YKK, was given to Stephanie Daley from Nottingham Trent University.

The Dame Zandra Rhodes Fashion Textiles Award was given to Aiden Davey from Nottingham Trent University. Aiden said: “It is amazing to have been shortlisted and even more so to have been chosen by Zandra Rhodes and 3 other inspiring judges to have won this award, thank you to GFW for being a platform to share my hard work! I am excited to see what I can accomplish next and where my knit journey will take me, hopefully to a company that allows me to be creative and explore knit further within the industry.”

On her collection, Aiden added: "My concept follows themes of smoking, looking at the harm it causes, and advocates for young people to find a new avenue to express themselves and feel confident socially.”

The Fashion Innovation Award was given to Kira Uddin from De Montfort University: “I am over the moon to have won, it really makes all of the long days and hard work worth it. Presenting to the lovely judges was an incredible experience in itself, let alone them picking me, which is quite surreal. My next steps will be pursuing a career within menswear design and continuing innovation within my work.”

On her winning concept, Kira said: “My concept for my final collection titled ‘Fake It Till You Make It’ revolved around the multitude of versions of the “London Man” and the clashing cultures within the city."

“I’ve always been fascinated by the opposing perceptions when it comes to viewing the Canary Wharf businessman in a suit vs the Tottenham guy in a tracksuit which differ purely down to their attire and environment. This then led me to be inspired by the desperate desire to obtain ‘objects of status.’ Camden market radiates this through its bootlegging to imitate wealth and I found the satirical nature highly influencing. Thus came about my process of merging tailoring classics with street style phenomenon's through trompe lœil textiles to exude ‘fake’. All this whilst paying homage to the ambition of all London men, suit or tracksuit.”

The FACE Excellence Prize was given to Mahalia Ellis from Birmingham City University.

The Culture and Heritage Award (Design) was given to Nova Hammond-Hagan from the University of the West of England.

The Culture and Heritage Award (Non-Design) was given to Guessie O’Connor from Kingston University.

The New Business Award was given to Charlotte Butler from Birmingham City University.

University Catwalk Winners

Throughout the Graduation Fashion Week, university catwalk shows will also provide graduating designers with the opportunity to showcase their talent to industry judges, who select winners and highly commended designers from each show.

  • The winner of the Birmingham City University Presentation was Vanessa Amofa Baah.
  • The winner of the University of Derby Presentation was Shaojing Zhu.
  • The winner of the Liverpool John Moores University Presentation was Mai Le Lan Y.
  • The Highly Commended Student award went to Khuat Ngoc Ha from Liverpool John Moores University/London College of Design and Fashion Vietnam.
  • The winner of the Sheffield Hallam University Presentation was Charlotte Makinson, and Jasmyn Lopuszansky was named The Highly Commended Student.

The winner of the Nottingham Trent University Presentation was Bridget Calthrop, and Jessica Akers walked away as The Highly Commended Student.
 The selected looks will then be featured at the ‘Best of GFW24’ event on Thursday evening, giving these designers further exposure and recognition within the industry. At GFW24, an overall Gold, Silver and Bronze Catwalk Award winner will be chosen by esteemed industry judges.

As a final show, Kornit Digital Catwalk hosted their own catwalk featuring competition winners’ designs. The winners were Alfie Stevens from the University of the Creative Arts who has been chosen as Gold Winner, Natasha Owen from Nottingham Trent University who has been chosen as Silver Winner, and Rosie Brown from the University for the Creative Arts who was awarded the Bronze Award.

Visit the Graduate Fashion Foundation website to know more and follow this year's event with #WEAREGRADUATEFASHION and #GFW24.