London’s Graduate Fashion Week Is All About Ethical Fashion

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Amid shows by numerous well-known names within the fashion industry, the city of London saw an impressive catalogue by many up and coming names during this year’s Graduate Fashion Week. Many of these creations seemed to have something to say about the future of fashion, as designers based many of their pieces around a conscientious message.

Graduate Fashion Week was founded in 1991 by Jeff Banks CBE, Vanessa Denza MBE, and John Walford. According to WWD, the organization has always aimed to “bring together British and international fashion universities and elevate the creative industries.” It is known as an opportunity for one of the highest accolades for those wishing to enter the industry. Chairman Mark Newton-Jones states: “We’re trying to bridge the gap between graduates and employers.”

Mr. Newton Jones expressed excitement at this year’s Fashion Week, saying “we’ve introduced a protégé program so everyone up for an award tonight will be mentored by a designer or leader in the industry.”

The event was held in London at the Old Truman Brewery. Thirty-seven UK universities, as well as fifty-one international participants, were among those represented. The show was composed of over 5,000 of work by 500 students, making this year as impressive as ever. The ceremony was opened by British Prime Minister Theresa May. May expressed a sense of national pride in the event, as she stated: “I am very proud of the U. K’s fashion industry, some of the most iconic brands and biggest names in the business hail from the U.K. Graduate Fashion Week [the event] plays such an important role in the process of nurturing the very best talents.”

WWD describes the collection of pieces shown as “a plethora of sources and the overarching theme was post-apocalyptic with oversized silhouettes, techno fabrics, and bold graphic prints taking center stage.”

Among the winners was Rebecca Wilson, who won the Christopher Bailey Gold Award for her collection. Wilson states that she was “inspired by Victorian working class clothing and Victorian family portraits.” Her clothes included tell-tale features such as patchwork and aprons. The young designer said “I’m looking at the beauty in the wear and tear of garments.”

Another example is Evelyne Babin, who was presented with the Swarovski sponsored Hillary Alexander Trailblazer Award, which sought to bring attention toward Tanzanian women and their craft. Her clothes were decorated in floral patterns. Three awards went to Aurelie Fontan, whose clothes made from recycled goods were meant to shed light on the potential of sustainable fashion. She commented: “My collection is very intricate, I grew my own textile for one of the pieces. I really tried to master the raw and recycled materials I was using.”

Jeff Banks, designer and co-founder of this year’s event, described the content of the many collections. “It seems depressing but actually, they are thinking in terms of, ‘What is society like beyond bling and the Kardashians and owning stuff? I can see that students are thinking beyond that and that’s a great thought. They’re not seduced by greed, and that’s a very pleasant goal for the fashion industry.”

It certainly seems that with the thoughtful exhibitions made by these students bodes well for the future of the fashion world.

Proud Latina Feminist. My likes include strong coffee, watching the previews that come on before the movie, and things that come in pretty packages. I've been a bibliophile and fashion lover since well before I could read or tie my own shoes.

    • alexa fornes

      I thought this was a fabulous idea! As stated in the article “‘trying to bridge the gap between graduates and employers'” I think this is a wonderful idea because graduates gain a chance on getting their talents seen, plus they get assistance.

    • Alicia Cline

      It’s awesome that they are helping students forward their careers and that the students are turning fashion into a more meaningful industry

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