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Graduate Fashion Foundation partners with TikTok for design competition

By Huw Hughes


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Graduate Fashion Foundation has tapped TikTok as its official merchandise partner across Europe to offer a platform for final year fashion students in the UK whose education have been disrupted by Covid-19 to showcase their talent.

Covid-19 has caused huge disruption to students across the world, especially those working on inherently tactile courses like fashion who have lost access to studio space, high-specification equipment and technical services. It’s also caused the cancellation of year-end press shows and closures of graduate showrooms.

Class of 2020 students from 38 GFF member universities in the UK have been tasked with designing TikTok’s first-ever range of merchandise in Europe. Organisers are looking for “fashionable, ethical and distinctly TikTok” designs - all of which will be judged by an expert panel including Graduate Fashion Foundation Ambassador, Henry Holland, and director of Fashion Enter, Caroline Ash, and brand partnerships, fashion and retail at TikTok, Cassandra Russell.

Two students from each university - so a total of over 70 students - will be selected to take part in a “5-day creative TikTok residency” held within a professional factory environment in London. There, they will be mentored by “some of today’s leading designers”, GFF patrons and TikTok Creators. The residency will take place in July in line with government health and safety measurements pertaining to Covid-19. Accommodation will be provided by TikTok along with a competition prize of 500 pounds each.

During their stay, students will gain experience in areas such as designing for manufacturing, grading and realising designs into commercial patterns, production lines, and quality control. Graduates will use TikTok during the residency to document their design process in creative ways, with relevant content curated in on the TikTokxGFF hashtag and profile. At the end of the residency, each student will have produced four garments of their chosen winning design from their collection for TikTok to gift to their Creator and VIP community.

Separately, 20 top fashion marketing and communications students will participate in a competition to design the “ethical packaging” for the student collection. The winner will design printed tissue, boxing and swing tags.

A five-piece commercial capsule from winning designs will go into a professionally manufactured collection for gifting to staff, partners and consumers across Europe.

The submissions for designs and moodboards open from Friday 12 June; the deadline is Wednesday 24 June; winners will be announced on Friday 26 June.

“TikTok is making a hugely positive contribution not only to our graduating students but to our charity that supports the creative talent of tomorrow,” said Hilary Alexander, president of Graduate Fashion Foundation, in a statement. “As a brand that understands the importance of the creative journey, we are delighted that they will be allowing our students to experience manufacturing in this way and we know that they will walk away with an experience that will not only be fun, but also put them in a stronger position as they enter the competitive job market.”

Cassandra Russell, brand partnerships, fashion and retail at TikTok added: “TikTok is a platform with creativity at its heart, so working with the Graduate Fashion Foundation to provide financial and educational opportunities for final year fashion students was a no-brainer. The need to overhaul brand merchandise is long overdue and we are excited to see what the most talented fashion students in the country can bring to TikTok’s first collection. Supporting the UK creative industries has never been more important and we believe the scale of our community and platform can open up new audiences for fashion students and give them a head start where it’s most needed.”

Photo credit: Graduate Fashion Foundation

Graduate fashion
Graduate Fashion Foundation