- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
The Graduate Fashion Foundation closed out London Fashion Week with a socially distance ceremony to celebrate the ‘Talent of Tomorrow’ with its 2020 awards.
The graduate awards, which were revised to a full digital criterion to reflect the Covid-19 situation, featured 19 awards, covering each fashion discipline, from design, communications, photography, creative direction, and textiles.
To highlight the change to all final year students delivery of their final degree projects, which were completed from home, there were no catwalk awards, instead the Graduate Fashion Foundation added five new awards, including the Adaptation Award, Fashion Illustration Award, Fashion Concept Award Range Plan Award and Technical Drawing Award to support the loss of manufacturing awards usually award to catwalk collections.
“We have been blown away by the innovation, resilience, creativity and determination displayed by the Class of 2020,” said Graduate Fashion Foundation president, Hilary Alexander in a statement. “Not only have they completed their university careers by adapting to the current climate, but the incredibly high quality of the work produced has exceeded our expectations. We’ve been very impressed by the Class of 2020 and we’re excited to continue supporting them as they enter the industry.”
Judging was completed in June via Zoom and socially distance judging sections, where industry experts including Henry Holland, Hilary Alexander, designers Christopher Raeburn, Priya Ahluwalia, Bianca Saunders, David Koma and Patrick McDowell, stylist Rebekkah Roy, as well as team members from Tu, Getty, Size?, and YKK decided on the finalists and eventual winners of each category.
Graduate Fashion Foundation celebrates ‘Talent of Tomorrow’ during London Fashion Week
There were two accolades for Sophie Parnaby from Manchester Metropolitan University. The graduate was awarded the Fashion Innovation Award support by Samsung UK, which was created in 2020 to embrace the innovative work found on members courses, as well as the Considered Fashion Award celebrating sustainable, ethically aware and socially responsible products, media and marketing projects with a strong narrative that lowers environmental impact, and embodies and communicates sustainable and ethical practices.
On accepting her two awards, Parnaby said: “It honestly feels amazing to have won the Innovation and Considered Design awards. I’ve been developing more sustainable manufacturing methods using 3D print throughout final year, so it’s been a great experience having the opportunity to present this whole development process to the industry judges.
“My interest in sustainable design has advanced during my time studying at Manchester. It means a lot to win the Considered Design Award for this reason, it’s great to be able to contribute research and this process is something I’d love to take forward to have a positive impact on the industry. It’s been a challenging year and I never expected to be finishing my degree at home, so it’s a really positive way to finish having my work recognised by graduate fashion foundation.”
The new Fashion Concept Award, created to celebrate the research and concept development that must take place in order to produce a cohesive and well thought through collection, was awarded to Vick Batey from Sheffield Hallam University.
Commenting on her win, Batey said: “I’m absolutely delighted to win the GFF Fashion Concept Award. I was up against so many other talented students. The graduates of 2020 have overcome many challenges and disappointments during this Covid-19 pandemic, so thank you to the Graduate Fashion Foundation for the additional awards this year, that have allowed more of us to showcase our work.”
The Fashion Range Plan Award, another new addition this year, created to celebrate and showcase the creative practice of a range plan illustration and recognise the value it holds, was awarded to Sarah Williams from the University of Northumbria, while the Fashion Technical Drawing Award was won by Emelia Johnson from De Montfort University, and the Fashion Illustration Award went to Jasmine De Baeza from UCA Epsom.
The David Band Textiles Award, presented to one graduate who creates a distinctive and thought-provoking exploration of the creative textile process, was presented to Hena Begum from the University of Portsmouth, while the Childrenswear Award, which tasked applicants with designing a childrenswear collection of twelve pieces or six outfits children up to the age of 8, was won by Georgia Lewandowski from University of Coventry.
The Fashion Digital Portfolio Award, celebrating a well-executed digital portfolio that demonstrates an individual and creative identity and communicates was won by Megan Andrews from the University of Northumbria, while the Fashion Communication Digital Portfolio award recognising a well-executed, stylish, and professionally presented digital communications portfolio was awarded to Olga Petrusewicz from Arts University Bournemouth.
Daisie Jacobs from Leeds Arts University was awarded the Fashion Styling and Creative Direction Award, while the Sportswear and Leisurewear Award, open to all categories, including performance and non-performance sportswear, athleisure and leisurewear was won by Katie Gedling from the University of Northumbria.
The Accessories Award sponsored by YKK, which challenged applicants to bring a modern and directional approach to accessories, was won by Ella Hall from the University of Brighton, and the Footwear Award was presented to Hyunjee Park from De Montfort University.
Other awards included the Fashion Marketing Award, which was presented to Annie Taylor from Nottingham Trent University, the New Fashion Media Award won by April Howie from the University of Central Lancashire, the Fashion Photography Award presented to Tabatha Lopez Palmby from the University of the West of England, and Fashion Publication Award won by Ella Kenneally from Manchester Metropolitan University.
While the newly introduced Adaptation Award, created to celebrate students resourcefulness and problem-solving skills during this unprecedented time of the Covid-19, was won by Stephanie Ransom from Arts University Bournemouth.
Commenting on her win, Ransom, added: “This year has been a roller-coaster to say the least, these past few months have been really unpredictable and tough for everyone. There were many times that I felt really uncertain about my future as a designer and how things would change with my degree and industry.
“However, through the amazing support of my university and its digital resources I was able to adapt to the new normal of Covid 19. I was able to fully realise my collection on a digital platform. Covid-19 has taken away so much but in a lot of ways it has opened up doors that have allowed me to explore new ways of working. Winning this amazing and meaningful award with GFF has allowed me to now showcase my work and finally see all the months of hard work come together. It shows that no matter what happens in life creativity will find a way to shine through. Thank you so much to GFF for this incredible opportunity.”
There were also a number of international award winners. Hikari Morigami from Osaka Institute of Fashion won the new International Digital Fashion Portfolio Award, while the International Range Plan Award was presented to Zhijie Yao from Donghau University and the International Artefact Innovation Award named three winners - Carla Bore from Lissa Mode Paris, Felicia Agatha from Lasalle College of the Arts Singapore and Alessia Di Secli from Accademia Costume Mode.
The awards were celebrated alongside a live-streamed catwalk show at Samsung KX that featured 90 unique looks by 53 ‘Class of 2020’ graduates from universities across the UK.
Images: courtesy of Graduate Fashion Foundation by Rory James