Above: Saskia Lenart
In June three members of the GUCFS team, past and present, attended the Graduate Fashion Week 2018 in London. As volunteers they were able to soak up the culture and atmosphere surrounding the show whilst experiencing vibrant London life. Below you will be able to read their thoughts on the designers, the shows and the talks they witnessed whilst there.
Creative Director 2017-18, graduated with Honours in Sociology & Politics, studying Public Relations at UAL
Graduate Fashion Week is a mix of catwalks from different universities, talks with industry professionals, stands/stalls from different universities and most importantly AWARDS. As part of my role as a Volunteer, I was in the Judges/VIP Lounge area. Every day I was assigned to a new award with a new set of judges. On my first day I attended the Boohoo Social Media Awards; on day two the Bonmarché Fashion For All Awards took place and on my final day I got to experience Debenhams Menswear Awards where Youtuber, Jim Chapman, was welcomed as a judge!
As Creative Director for FOCUS 2018, I strategically sought out young designers for the show and our shoots. I feel that their designs have not yet been limited by a brand image, and thus young designers are more inclined to try more things (often crazy things). I discovered at Graduate Fashion Week that the key objective for students was to present their collection, their project and their concept to the judges. One of my favourite designers, who actually ended up winning the Bonmarché Fashion For All Award, was Bethany Wainwright. She has produced a well considered concept of nude bras that match an individual’s skin tone. Coherence with this philosophy can also be seen through their social media strategy and even their packaging!
Being part of GUCFS’ Creative Department does not just mean you look at clothes and organise the show, you collaborate with all departments, including marketing, sponsorship and production to create a well-rounded and cohesive event. From my debriefing with the judges at the award ceremonies, it was clear that for the students who had thought through every detail of their brand image and project a massive difference would be made to their placement in the awards ranking.
One of the key aspects I enjoyed about being a Graduate Fashion Week volunteer was the opportunity to meet people from the industry, and to try and see new things. I got to see Aurélie Fontan’s collection (https://www.instagram.com/p/Bju2mydBlny/?taken-by=officialgfw) created from natural elements with the aim of promoting sustainable fashion. It is one example of amazing ways in which each collection had an original, and often sustainable, idea behind it. The originality of their designs shows that young designers influence the fashion industry greatly. The young designers of today could become the icons of tomorrow.
Favourite catwalks of the week plus my tips if you interested in taking part in the future;
Jennifer’s collection was definitely the coolest thing on earth. I love details and structure so her collection was EVERYTHING to me. She created a dress with safety pins, which was very hard to put on.
TIP: Don’t forget your safety pins!
Brand Ambassador 2017-18, 2018-19, Second year, English Literature & Politics
I had the amazing opportunity to volunteer at Graduate Fashion Week in London for their final day. The final day included some of the most exciting events of the week such as the Swarovski Show, the ‘Best Of’ Show and the Gala Show.
My first job of the day was in the catwalk area and was rather simple... I stood stand with a large purple ‘lollipop’ to help direct the judges and trustees to the correct seating area - no training was needed for that! As the day went on I was involved in other things such as turning over the catwalk area quickly for the next show, helping to direct all the guests to their seats, and then welcoming people on the door to check them in for the Gala Drinks and Show.
Checking in the guests in was my favourite part of the day because I had the opportunity to meet a lot of the people who were attending the final show from all around the world. This included the finalists themselves, their university professors, people from the media and from the industry such as Hilary Alexander, from the Daily Telegraph, and Julien MacDonald, fashion designer and judge on Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model.
I got to see so many different collections on the catwalk and students winning awards throughout the day, and I’m probably lucky to have been there on the last day due there being a selection of the best. However, I did of course have a few favourites...
Wako Takato’s selection of suits from Nottingham Trent University could fit right into Harry Style’s current wardrobe. The choice of colour and the slim fit tailoring complimented each other to create a fun yet sophisticated looking suit. The stand out for me was the pink striped pattern that had a sense of bold androgyny and created a daring attitude.
Another favourite of mine was the winner of the ASOS future talent award for Communications for the creation of original LGBT+ publication ‘Fruitcake’ that strives to ‘giv[e] people the ability to tell their own stories to inspire and empower through creativity’.
Head of Womenswear 2018-19, Second year, Film & Sociology
I also had the amazing opportunity of volunteering at Graduate Fashion Week 2018 held at the Truman Brewery in London. I was based in the cat walk seating area; my job involved arriving at 9:30am and working for the full day. Like Alice, I created seating plans and organised seating for judges, trustees and sponsors.
Working in this department meant seeing a lot of the shows which was such a fantastic position to be in. Throughout the day I had the opportunity to explore the stalls and visit some live talks; one of which was held by Francisco Costa, the previous creative director of Calvin Klein. It was such an inspiring talk to be able to attend and gave me a huge insight into the high end fashion industry.
One designer that particularly stood out for me was Nadia Atique, Graduate Womenswear designer from Liverpool John Moores University. Her designs caught my eye due to her beautiful concepts of elegance and modesty combined with a fun and vibrant look in order to create the perfect football fan collection for modest women.
This experience was invaluable in giving me the chance to explore different areas in the fashion industry, and gave me the chance to gain experience working under time constraints. It was fantastic to be able to be a part of an amazing team to help put together the shows.
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