Zhixue Xie - University of Central Lancashiregraduate fashion week 2019by Elly StemerdinkCaryn Franklin, commentator of the showThe Truman Brewery, London, UK 2-5 June 2019Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) is the world’s largest event showcasing BA graduate fashion talent. This year’s edition featured 22 catwalk shows and exhibitions from over 60 universities worldwide. Included also were live talks, masterclasses and workshops from leading figures in the fashion and retail industry. At the trade show, fashion students were able to showcase their work and portfolios to fashion companies such as LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, Swarovski, Gap and Matalan.The event is organised by the Graduate Fashion Foundation, which bridges the gap between graduation and employment and is responsible for launching the careers of some of the most successful designers of our time, including Christopher Bailey MBE, winner of the first ever Gold Award and now a Lifetime Patron of the charity. Over the past 28 years, more than 100,000 newly graduated and undergraduate students have been supported and guided by the charity. The dedicated aims of the GFW remain the same today: encouraging young people and helping them find employment and get the best possible start in the fashion industry.AwardsOver 150 judges joined the Foundation during the four-day event to nominate the 32 award winners. They included the new Lifetime Patron and designer, Dame Zandra Rhodes, who headed up the Hilary Alexander Trailblazer Award, and GFW Ambassador Christopher Raeburn, who chaired the Christopher Bailey Gold Award panel of industry experts. Graduate student Brian McLysaght from the Edinburgh College of Art impressed the judges the most. He won not only the overall Christopher Bailey Collection of the Year Award but also the Hilary Alexander Trailblazer Award and the Conscious Design Award with his intricate menswear collection made predominantly from interlocking wooden tiles. His idea to work with wood was inspired by his desire to tackle the negative environmental impact of the fashion industry. Brian chose to use organic and biodegradable materials that do not ultimately lead to pollution, thus returning as bio-nutrients to the earth. Other young designers also highlighted the environmental impact of the fashion industry when designing their collection. Universities urge their students to consider sustainability at an early stage, and encourage ‘emotionally considerate’ design, diversity and sustainable approaches. This year’s fashion graduates clearly took up the challenge and endeavoured to incorporate waste and biodegradable materials in their collections. Very wearable headwear was much in evidence in the collections. Bucket hats, hoodies and skull caps in particular were often used as a finishing touch to the outfits.More information www.graduatefashionweek.comRoisin Lynch Limerick School of Art and DesignEden Russell -University fot the Creative Arts EpsomWang Xiaoyan -Donghua UniversityPhotos by Elly StemerdinkTsung-Lin Lu -Shih Chien UniversityAlexandra Fan Edinburgh College of ArtElena Vilkova Design School ArtfutureLiu Yi-Ting Fu Jen Catholic UniversityDorothy Williams University of Brighton Yutao Song -Istituto Marangoni MilanoZhiyun Jiang and Yuxia Luo -Chongqing University of EducationBrian McLysaght Edinburgh College of ArtGreg Brears Birmingham City UniversityLaura Collins -Liverpool John Moores University Brian McLysaght -Edinburgh College of ArtBrian won the Christopher Bailey Collection of the Year Award, the Hilary Alexander Trailblazer Award and the Conscious Design Award.Chun-Yin Chan Manchester School of Art Lydia Rose -Solent UniversityElena Vilkova Design School ArtfutureMaty Ndiaye -LISAARowanne Seward Manchester Fashion Institute

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