15/07/2013 12:35 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Glittering Future: Graduate Fashion Week Gala And Awards 2013

With a barely-contained shriek Lauren Smith dashed to the stage at Graduate Fashion Week's Gala Awards to accept the coveted, career-launching George Gold Award.

For it was truly the Edinburgh College of Art student's night, evident as she strode down the catwalk with models wearing her collection while being showered with gold glitter and applause.

gfw awards gala 2013

After four days of exhibiting, catwalking and networking, the designer returns to Scotland with £20,000 and the knowledge her graduate line will be developed by George and sold in Asdas across the UK and internationally online.

But Smith was not the only victor of the night - there were five other award winners from the 25 finalists selected for their innovative design, creativity and craftsmanship.

Model David Gandy strolled to the stage to present the Menswear Award to Shaun Douglas and Olivia Creber, also from Edinburgh College of Art, while Todd Lynn announced the Womenwear Award went to UCA Epsom's Hannah Williams.

Thea Sanders from Nottingham Trent picked up the Stuart Peters Knitwear Award from hosts Henry Holland and Zara Martin and Zandra Rhodes personally presented the Zandra Rhodes Textiles Award to Northampton University's Kirandeep Bassan.

But perhaps the biggest cheer erupted for the International Herald Tribune's Head of Fashion Suzy Menkes, who was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award by her friend and "sparring partner" Hilary Alexander, Fashion Director for the Daily Telegraph.

It has been incredible four days at Earls Court and many students return to their universities with job offers, prospects and careers to embark on. They have been discovered, making three or four years of intensely hard work more than worthwhile.

And as GFW proved - with huge names such as Roland Mouret stepping up to be on the judging panel for the week - the established names in the industry are behind them, rooting for them and wishing them well.

The general feeling of the evening couldn't be summed up by anyone better than Christopher Bailey who promised the new designers, via the most cheerful and encouraging video message: "You're all about to fly." We couldn't agree more.

See all the latest graduate fashion and degree shows here.