I am still buzzing from last Sunday where Siam Colvine, Hope Miller and I spent the day at Graduate Fashion Week at the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, London. GFW is a showcase of the work of hundreds of fashion graduates from all over the UK, from womenswear and menswear to communication and marketing, with a vast exhibition space fille with portfolios, sketchbooks, samples and CVs on display for the industry to browse through, and a packed schedule of runway shows, career support, presentations, performances, awards, workshops and live talks.
Fashion courses from universities far and wide, including my own Heriot Watt School of Textiles and Design, and my regular collaborator Edinburgh College of Art, gathered in the space to showcase the very best of their 3-4 years of hard work. I could have spent hours flicking through the portfolios, filled with moodboards, illustrations, fabric samples, photography and more; and taking pictures of the incredible creations by the students and graduates.
Amongst my favourite exhibition stands included Sheffield Hallam University, Glasgow School of Art, University of Central Lancashire and University of Salford, Manchester. There was a hugely varied amount of creativity, intricate detail, and reimagined styles, but in particular I loved these students’ unique take on the season’s trends and unusual sources of inspiration.
It was really cool to be at Graduate Fashion Week as a member of the press because I got behind the scenes access and more of an insight into the event, plus front row seats for the catwalk shows. The runway slots I managed to catch on the Sunday were UCLAN, Salford, and of course Edinburgh. Read on for my run-through reviews.
At UCLAN (University of Central Lancashire), my favorite designers were Samera Akhtat, Alice Potter and Bing Hong. These talented graduates should definitely be on your ones-to-watch list! The colours, the shapes, the textures, everything was innovative, fresh and truly unique, with a big splash of fun and a hefty sense of humour, as well as heightened awareness of political, social and cultural issues too.
At the University of Salford, Manchester, my favorite designers were Sarah Francis, Jessica Lewis Tatton, and Abigail Collinge. Timothea Prodromou also deserves a big shout out for her amazing accessories designs, like Louis Vuitton at its best but with a crafty, handmade approach. Buyers and brands – take note, because you should be hiring these guys, seriously.
Finally, last but not least (in fact by far my all-time favourite) was ECA – Edinburgh College of Art. My top three here had to be Ruth Williams for her utilitarian designs with a grungy twist, Polly Thomas, for her cruelty-free faux exotic skins, and Max Wells Gray for his vibrant menswear creations. Also big congratulations to Halina North who won the Christopher Bailey Gold Award for her striking womenswear collection.
I hope you have enjoyed my coverage of Graduate Fashion Week 2017, and I hope to see you there next time. To find out more, search the hashtags #GFW17, #graduatefashionweek and #wearegraduatefashion, and go to http://www.graduatefashionweek.com for further information and updates.
Here are the links to some of the websites/social media of my top selection of designers for you to explore – support, shop from and collaborate with independent creatives, from graduation and beyond!
Max Wells Gray
Ruth @ Urbanity xxx