To me, the students of today are the emerging talent of tomorrow and the life-blood of the fashion industry. I have always been a champion of graduates admiring their energy, talent and creative thinking and have been involved in various mentoring schemes over the last few years.
George has become a huge supporter of the fashion stars of tomorrow, we have been committed to nurturing the next generation of British design creativity since 2011 through our sponsorship of Graduate Fashion Week. As a brand we have helped launch numerous careers and enhanced the growth and development of a huge number of graduates.
We know how hard it is to get that first step onto the fashion ladder and so this year we are going one step further by bringing together the cream of the fashion crop and collaborating with them to launch a brand new and exclusive label to George, titled G21 Talent.
A fashion-first for the UK high street - G21 Talent will comprise of a series of limited edition, catwalk inspired collections designed by hand picked fashion designers from Graduate Fashion Week.
Each graduate will be fully mentored through the design process by myself and a 70-strong design team, with the opportunity to shadow leading designers, learning the skills required to create exciting, fashion forward yet affordable mainstream designs for high-street retail.
Often students set their sights straight for fame and luxury retailing and I'm keen to show them the opportunities available at high street retailers. Designing for the masses on the high street is just as hard, if not harder than designing luxury one-off collections.
20,000 students leave education each year with fashion related qualifications and there is a huge raft of opportunities out there that they may not have even considered or be aware of. During its early years G21 Talent will be focused on recruiting graduate fashion designers from Graduate Fashion Week for two-week paid for placements to help create ranges.
My ambition is to cast the net wider as the collection establishes itself, employing fashion graduates across the wider business with opportunities in marketing, buying, merchandising and beyond, helping develop the brand and creating jobs for fresh young talent.
I'm committed to offering experience, insight and support for students to tap into. Supporting new, emerging talent is one of the surest ways to future-proof, not just our business, but also the UK fashion industry as a whole.
G21 Talent is just the next step in a long line of plans that I am at the forefront of developing at George. It is my aim to get the George brand recognised for being a pioneering and exciting one, allowing us to grow and innovate as a business as well as make a difference to graduate careers for many years to come.