The Charity Supporting Access & Diversity in the Fashion Industry

South London teens named joint winners at London Fashion Week through award-winning creative charity FAD

Organised by award-winning London charity FAD, and sponsored by Natwest and Asos, the 2019 Fashion Futures Final was hosted by Fashion Scout at Victoria House in Bloomsbury on Friday 13th September.   The twenty finalists, aged 15-19, are the very youngest designers present on the London Fashion Week schedule, showcasing designs exploring issues of sustainability and humans’ relationship with the natural world. 

Two South London teens: George Howie, 19,  and Maria Silva, 17, both from the London Borough of Lewisham, were named joint overall winners by Anju Mahbubani, Commercial Director at Shaun Leane and FAD Trustee,  and Rachel Blackamore, Regional Managing Director at NatWest.

George’s chic black dress and sports luxe cap drew parallels between humans and bees, and their respective habitats of beehives and tower blocks.  Its embroidered message, “If we die, we’re taking you with us” refers to the plight of bees and the dying earth, using fashion to deliver a stark ecological statement.  The dress’s minimal silhouette incorporates complex hexagonal pattern pieces, while the custom fabric took 30 hours to create using laser cutting and hand painted heat transfer techniques.  George said:

“FAD  has helped me learn how to create a concept that has meaning. I’ve also become more confident in using a sewing machine and just trying out new things.”

Maria’s vibrant menswear outfit took inspiration from the zero-waste movement which focusing on re-using and re-purposing materials so that nothing is sent to landfill.  Her 1990s inspired ensemble incorporated thrifted denim garments and coloured yarn created from discarded t-shirts which were used for knitted panels and braided trims.  Maria said:

“My design is about sustainability 100% – that’s why I’m using scrap materials and hope to encourage people to use less and stop buying more, as the fashion industry is one of the worst contributors to pollution.FAD has helped so much with exploring my creativity and learning more about the technical side of fashion design. Their support is amazing.”

Georgia Brown, 17, of Brent, was awarded for Technical Excellence for her elegant tailored womenswear jacket and embroidered chiffon skirt, using dramatic contrast of light and shade.  Her design highlights the similarities of form between tree roots and branches and the veins and blood vessels in the human body.  Her work explores the interconnectedness of humans and the natural world and the need to coexist with nature rather than exploit and destroy it.  Georgia said:

“FAD has definitely given me confidence in that I’d like to do Fashion Design in the future.  The process is challenging but because you get so much support, it’s not really difficult, it’s just a learning step each way.”


Suely Mario da Silva, 18, of Enfield, took the Award for Commercial Awareness for her pink dress blending English rose prints with graphic African designs.  Suely describes her garment as brightful, a combination of bright and beautiful, with the aim of empowering the woman who wears it.  Judges praised the fabric choice, silhouette and proportions, and its broad customer appeal.  Suely said:

“For me personally, background and heritage always link into my work. I’ve learnt a lot from FAD – things I didn’t know like sewing on an industrial machine, how to draw a pattern.” 

The winners were selected from twenty finalists by fashion industry judges including ASOS Senior Designer Morgan Allen-Oliver,  sustainable fashion influencer Claudia Ayuso, FAD trustee and Commercial Director of Shaun Leane Anju Mahbubani, Olivia Barnes, Associate Editor – Materials, Textiles and Knitwear at WGSN and Mahji Quadir of NatWest. 

Olivia Barnes says: ‘The completed projects of the shortlisted students clearly evidence the time and dedication that has been invested in the Fashion Futures program. It is fantastic to see young designers embracing sustainability as part of their practice and the projects that stood out were the ones that carefully considered sustainable design concepts and material choices’ , 

The London based finalists from diverse backgrounds were shortlisted from over 70 teenagers. With the support of FAD and fashion industry volunteers, the finalists worked hard to perfect their designs, rising to the challenge of using industrial machinery and mastering professional production techniques. 

About FAD

Established in 1998, FAD helps young people make it in fashion. We work with the industry to campaign for fair access, improved diversity and better representation. Our programmes equip young people with the skills, network and confidence they need to get ahead. 

Over the past 20 years FAD has worked with over 2,000 volunteers to give 9,600 young people, from diverse ethnic, social and economic backgrounds, the skills, support and opportunities they need to overcome obstacles and get ahead. This in turn boosts UK employment and helps to close divide. 

For further information please contact:

maria@fad.org.uk / +44 (0)20 7490 3946 / +44(0)7932 953 533

 www.fad.org.uk Instagram: @fadcharity    #FashionFutures2019

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