Tips to succeed at Graduate Fashion Week

With high street brands, fashion houses and press attending Graduate Fashion Week on the look out for fresh talent, FashionUnited has put together some top tips to help you get your portfolio noticed and to really make the most of what the exhibition has to offer.

Business Cards

Whether you are showcasing as a graduate, or just attending Graduate Fashion Week as a student, make sure you carry business cards with you, as this exhibition is a great place for you to meet industry professionals and promote your skills and work.

Make sure your business card showcases who you are as a designer, maybe use a picture of one of your designs to make it memorable. Add your email, your website and social media links so they can discover more of your work.

Have a Social Media Presence

Having a social media presence is so important as it is a way for you to showcase more of your portfolio as well as who you are as a designer. With more than a thousands students and graduates taking part in Graduate Fashion Week you need to do everything you can to stand out, and social media is a great way for you to present yourself to a larger audience.

Remember you are looking for employment or to build your own brand, keep it professional and make your personal account separate from your fashion design. Not sure what to feature? Start off by utilising your portfolio photography, maybe showcase a behind-the-scenes look at the construction of a piece or the original sketches, as well as the inspiration behind your collection. While at Graduate Fashion Week why not take your social media audience behind the scenes of your catwalk showcase and show them your university stand.

Also, don’t forget to include a link to your website, a contact and utilise relevant fashion and design hashtags to get your feed out to a larger audience.

Create a Website

As well as social media, prospective employers will want to find out information about your brand easily, so having an up-to-date website is hugely important. This is your online portfolio, it showcases your designs and who you are as a designer, as well as allowing people to contact you about your work.

Alongside your collection, include information on yourself, your CV, any awards you have won, as well as contact details.

Know Your Designs

You will get asked a lot about your graduate collection, what was the inspiration, what fabrics you used, right down to the choice of thread, so make sure you know every single part of your designs - as at the end of the day no one should know your work better than you.

Research Who is Showing

Lots of brands are taking part in the four-day event from Ralph Lauren to George at Asda and John Lewis, as well as Johnstons of Elgin, Tessuti, Size?, Boohoo, Asos, Bonmarche, Mothercare, Gap, Boux Avenue and YKK, so it is important to be prepared. Research which brands you are interested in seeing and finding out more about, and think about how your can tailor your portfolio to that brand.

For instance Ralph Lauren will have a stand onsite where you will be able to show your portfolio, as well as obtain advice and insight into what it takes to run a globally successful designer brand, while Boux Avenue will be sharing its experience of the lingerie and swimwear industry with interested graduates.

Check out GFW Live!

Alongside the catwalk shows and university stands is a full schedule of workshops, demonstrations, and informative talks as part of GFW Live!. This year offers everything from an inside look at designing for American heritage brands from Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy to how to land your dream job at Boohoo, how to be a creative accessories designer and a fashion roundtable on ‘Are you Represented’ on ethnic representation in the fashion industry.

There are also a number of interesting ‘In Conversation with’ talks with Hilary Alexander interviewing Superdry’s head of womenswear Siri MacDonald, Twiggy, Richard Underwood and

Orla Kiely, while designer Richard Quinn will be discussing his collaboration with Debenhams, and Mary Portas will be sharing her life in fashion from starting on the shop floor to rising through the ranks of John Lewis, Harrods and the Burton Group before being appointed Creative Director at Harvey Nichols.

Don’t forget you notebook and pen to jot down all the advice and knowledge that they share.

Network

This is probably one of the most important things to do during Graduate Fashion Week, network, network, network! Hand out your business card, collect other people’s business cards, get out there and chat about your designs and skills to potential employees, and don’t forget to ask advice from industry professionals as it is a great chance to take away their insight and knowledge of the fashion industry.

Graduate Fashion Week takes place in London at the Old Truman Brewery from June 3-6.

Images: courtesy of Graduate Fashion Week by Rory James