Written by Guest Blogger Adrien Book
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Likewise, Stella McCartney and Christopher Bailey didn’t become big successes overnight. Similarly to many aspiring designers, they earned their stripes during Britain’s Graduate Fashion Week, which is celebrating its 21st birthday this year.
From the 10th to the 13th of June, some of the UK’s most promising graduates from a wide range of UK Fashion courses will be showcasing their work in order to win one of the many coveted awards. These include the Gold Award, a womanswear and menswear award and an international award. There are 15 awards to be won in total.
It was 21 years ago that Burberry’s Christopher Bailey won the debut student of the year award and took his first step on the road to becoming one of the most important people in British fashion. When asked about the Graduate fashion week, he saluted “the most exceptional design talent coming out of our colleges here in the UK” as well as “their energy, their talent, and their well-earned and deserved global reputation.”
He will be one of the judges for the prestigious £20,000 George Gold Award, along with some of the biggest and most esteemed names in the industry, including Daphne Guiness and Suzy Menkes.
More than 1000 students from 42 universities are showcasing their work this year, making GFW the biggest event of the sort in the world, with 20 catwalk shows and a pop-up shop where visitors can buy graduate designs off the peg. Commenting on the success of the event, Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz stated “that British students are flourishing because you have the best education system in England that gives Art & Design students the freedom to think, to dream and to do.”
The Graduate Fashion week was originally organized in 1991, as a way to unify the many British fashion colleges which at that point showed around the country with no synergy or focal point. It is now an unmissable event where potential employers, international media and industry figures meet to behold the creation of fashion’s future.