The 26th Graduate Fashion Week showcased some fantastic talent throughout the whole exhibition and the Gala catwalk. In current times, we question the importance of fashion and there was notably respectful reference to the recent tragic events by the chairman Mark Newton-Jones and also reminders about considerate design by judges such as Vivienne Westwood over the VT.

Maybe the current socio-political backdrop is a real-life context fuelling greater creativity. The biggest trend seeming like a protest against the darkness, including literal slogans but also bold vibrant colours and big statement shapes which dominated the collections and the crossover cultural references. The diversity and mish mash of colours, prints, textures, silhouettes across menswear and womenswear felt dynamic and skillfully brave.

M&S Womenswear Award: Irene D’Antonio, Edinburgh College of Art I

Image: Bushra Burge

This colourful cacophony across the catwalk was interspersed with one or two more classic and commercial collections and indeed Laura Capello, Bath Spa University, with her tailored pieces won the George – Catwalk to Store Award.

Particularly exciting was the collection by Maddie Williams, Edinburgh College of Art which won the Catwalk Textiles Award. It was created from weaving plastic bags and was inspired by ‘Goddess-type figures who are here to serve as the antithesis of the Elitist White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy and strike fear into the hearts of harmful Corporations’.

This year there was a new Mothercare Childrenswear Award won by the heartwarmingly enthusiastic Catherine Watts, University of Salford.

Finally the most coveted awards : Christopher Bailey Gold Award and the brand new The Hilary Alexander Trailblazer Award in partnership with Swarovski Award celebrating innovation were both deservedly won by Halina North, Edinburgh College of Art. Her groundbreaking sustainable approach created a collection of dresses and jackets moulded from cardboard.

Image: Bushra Burge

Check the full list of winners below:

  • Asos Communication Award: Charnice Blaze – Nottingham City University
  • Asos Design Award: Hattie Crowther, Sheffield Hallam
  • Boux Avenue Lingerie Award: Charley Chiddle, De Montfort
  • Boux Avenue Swimwear Award: Lucy Watkins, De Montfort
  • Sust + Ethical Award: Catherine Watts, Salford University
  • David Band Award: Stefan Efobi, Manchester School of Art
  • New Fashion Media Award: Che-Ling Shek, UCLAN
  • Draper’s Publication Award: Elizabeth Bishop, Ravensbourne University
  • New Business Award: Miruna Ioana Manole, UCA Epson
  • Fashion Photography Award: Alannah Cooper, Heriott Watt University
  • YKK Accessories Award: Megan Evans, University of South Wales
  • Fashion Marketing Award: Caroline Booth, Nottingham Trent University
  • Styling and Creative Direction Award: Matthew Morriares, Arts University Bournemouth
  • Bonmarche Fashion For All Award: Caroline Bowden, University of Central Lancashire
  • Mothercare Childrenswear Award:Catherine Watts, University of Salford
  • Clark’s Footwear Award: Megan Davies, University of South Wales
  • TU Scholarship Womenswear: Laura Gillings, Bath Spa University
  • TU Scholarship Menswear: Amy Vanderwel, Nottingham Trent University
  • Boohoo Social Media Award: Nathalie Clarkson, Ravensbourne
  • Christopher Bailey Gold Award: Halina North, Edinburgh College of Art
  • Debenhams Menswear Award: Daniel Rynne, Arts University Bournemouth
  • M&S Womenswear Award: Irene D’Antonio, Edinburgh College of Art
  • Visionary Knitwear Award:Ruth Williams, Edinburgh College of Art
  • Catwalk Textiles Award: Maddie Williams, Edinburgh College of Art
  • Hilary Alexander Trailblazer Award in partnership with Swarovski: Halina North, Edinburgh College of Art
  • George – Catwalk to Store Award: Laura Capello, Bath Spa University
  • Swarovski International Award: Po-Chien Chin, Shin Chein University
  • Little Black Dress Award: Yang Ting Kwok, Norwich University of Arts

Well done to all of the students, some real stars appearing who will inevitably shape our wardrobe in the very near future.

Words by: Bushra Burge

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