Britain is widely acknowledged to be one of the most influential countries in the world when it comes to fashion - the home of Burberry, Mulberry and the incredible Alexander McQueen to mention but a few.
So how does Britain produce such amazing fashion talent? I believe a key reason is due to the wide choice of fashion related educational courses on offer up and down the country. Whether it's fashion journalism or fashion design; Britain offers a truly diverse choice of courses to students from across the globe. You've no doubt heard of the highly respected Central St Martins but there are a number of other colleges and universities across the country offering a fantastic range of courses.
Each year the colleges and universities congregate to show their students' ideas, designs and creativity at Graduate Fashion Week in London. The show provides a great opportunity for students, the press, buyers and potential employers to meet.
Graduate Fashion Week is an exhibition and awards event rolled into one. The event provides students with the ability to show their latest designs and, those who stand out, are awarded with a Graduate Fashion Award - an accolade that is now widely respected within the fashion industry. Many influential people from within the fashion industry present these awards at the awards gala evening, which this year I was fortunate enough to be attending.
This year's event was sponsored by George (as in ASDA). At first I thought this was an odd choice for sponsorship as George isn't exactly renowned for cutting edge fashion design. I asked a few people from the event how they felt about the event being sponsored by George and the responses were quite surprising. Many said that George had been a wonderful sponsor for the event, offering great support and were flexible to ideas to improve the event. So, to the team at George, thank you for supporting our fashion graduates and making the event possible. ☺
Walking around the exhibition itself filled me with such excitement, not only because of the amazing designs on display or the imaginative stand layouts but also because I was certain that I was looking at designs from someone who in years to come would be designing for a leading design house, maybe even creating their own industry leading brand!
A number of stands caught my eye including Bradford College with their lampshade heads and vintage designs:
Nottingham Trent University showing a number of classic and more futuristic designs highlighting their innovative use of materials in the designs:
One of the most impressive stands at the exhibition for me was Bath Spa University. The materials they used were fantastic and although the designs were more daring, they were all very wearable. In my opinion some of the designs appeared to have a McQueen influence.
Another stand that was hugely impressive was the Istituto Marangoni. The designs showed true originality and included collections for both men and women. I was fortunate enough to meet Adrien Roberts, the director of education and in the short time we were talking, the dedication I witnessed in the designs was clearly shared by Adrien.
During our walk around the exhibition we were lucky enough to meet the team from the Young British Designer website. Those of you who follow me on a regular basis will know I'm a huge fan of the website and so I was pleased to finally meet Debra and the team. I was also lucky enough to meet two leading designers who are both represented by Young British Designers, Kirsty Ward who is a jewellery designer and David Longshaw who is known for his amazing scarves.
After chatting with the YBD team it was time to make our way to the main theatre for the awards. The awards themselves were presented by a number of leading figures from across the fashion industry including individuals from the media and retail. Designers presenting the awards included Jeff Banks, Julian MacDonald and Matthew Williamson.
The awards included a number of catwalk shows from the finalists and the eventual award winners. The quality of designs on display was extremely high with influences including origami, Eastern Europe and many more. The event had collections for men and women but for the first time this year it also showed a children's collection. Video from the awards and collections from the catwalk show are available on my youtube page.
I had an amazing night at Graduate Fashion Week and left the event feeling that yet again, Britain had shown the world that we really are the home for the best in fashion education.
I am safe in the knowledge that with the brilliance and creativity shown during Graduate Fashion Week, our students have a bright future ahead of them.
All photos contained within this article are Copyright 2012 LittleMissFashion.com. More photos from the event are available on my Facebook Page
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