Final year students take part in Graduate Fashion Foundation showcase
Hosted at Coal Drops Yard in London, the six-day event included four activities; an exhibition at the Samsung KX, a showroom of graduate work, a catwalk show and an online digital fashion presentation.
From 17 to 21 September, an exhibition of portfolios and over 40 mannequins celebrated the culture, community and ground-breaking thinking that makes up the talent of tomorrow. Featuring the best work across 26 different fashion specialisms from each of the Foundation’s member universities, including the college’s BA (Hons) Fashion Communication graduates, it culminated in an industry private viewing on the final day of the exhibition, giving graduates the visibility to create valuable connections with potential recruiters, buyers, stylists and the media.
This was also supported by the GFF Showroom on Stable Street within Coal Drops Yard, featuring over 300 diverse looks, where over 150 graduates were able to show off their final project collections and portfolios. Following the unprecedented end to the academic year, this gave graduates the chance to show how they have adapted their creative practice to overcome adversity, not only completing their degrees, but also delivering innovative design solutions.
Finally, the event culminated with a live streamed catwalk show from Samsung KX on 22 September, showcasing the very best graduates in the Class of 2020, including the college’s own BA (Hons) Fashion Design graduate Megan.
Megan Roberts' collection shown on the catwalk
River and Cerys also took part in a residency in July, in collaboration with GFF, creating a three-piece capsule collection to represent TikTok, the video-sharing social network platform with over a billion worldwide downloads. Submitted along with a 500-word statement explaining the pieces, students were invited to explore the TikTok identity, culture and community to inspire the final submission.
Third-year Cerys, who took part in both the TikTok residency and the Graduate Fashion Foundation event said: “I wanted to represent the hugely diverse TikTok community within my designs, with my three-piece collection being an inclusive range that would have wide appeal and would fit comfortably on all body types. I designed a sporty bomber jacket, shorts and crop top set, which I thought was a good representation of the TikTok consumer - youthful, trendy and comfortable.”
“Both events were such great opportunities to gain experience in commercial clothing production and learn about the manufacturing process. The residency was a great chance to work on a project outside of my final collection, and to be judged by the likes of Henry Holland and Zandra Rhodes was such a positive experience. It’s all given me a great boost in my motivation and confidence, and allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone and try something a little different.”
The Class of 2020 catwalk show
Subject Leader and Senior Lecturer on BA (Hons) Fashion Design Heather Martin said, “Design competitions are an excellent way to engage students in activities that extend beyond the curriculum and into the real world of industry. The learning experience can be invaluable, it can bring external visibility and the student often gets to work with and receive feedback directly from the company.”
“To land your first gig within industry after graduation takes dedication, resilience and determination, competition work prepares students for this reality. Employers want to see how an applicant responds to a variety of projects, competition work allows the student to generate quick and varied projects that help to develop your portfolio presentation.”
River Smith (L) and Cerys Mullaly (R) show their TikTok inspired pieces
Hillary Alexander, President of the Graduate Fashion Foundation said: “Despite the premature end to their degrees, the cancellation of their degree shows and Graduate Fashion Week, the Class of 2020 have shown immense resilience and creativity and have created inspiring work across multiple disciplines that deserves to be seen and celebrated.”
Graduate Fashion Week is the largest showcase of BA fashion talent in the world and provides one of the biggest pools of fashion talent so it is of great importance to continue this bridge to industry. The Graduate Fashion Foundation strives to bring the gap between education and industry by helping to begin conversations and establish connections.