Graduate Fashion Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of a new exciting series of supportive activities and opportunities for UK and International member universities. For the first time in 29 years Graduate Fashion Week, the world’s biggest display of BA fashion talent had to be cancelled in March due to Covid -19.

The four-day event is held annually on the first weekend in June featuring work from 38 UK Universities and 40 International universities across all fashion disciplines from Design and Styling to Photography and Marketing. The platform has launched some of the biggest names in fashion supported by its patrons and ambassadors include Vivienne Westwood, Nadja Swarovski, Victoria Beckham, Christopher Raeburn, Henry Holland and Diane Von Furstenberg to name but a few.

The GFF charity is determined that all of the magic of GFW will not be lost and has been in regular consultation with the board of Trustees & universities to bring workable and exciting solutions for the 2020 graduating year group.

GFF have ensured all activities and events within the new plans deliver upon the charity’s mission statement and objectives across three key areas; Advice and Guidance, Bridging the Gap to Industry and Showcasing, Rewarding and Celebrating the Best.

Graduate Fashion Foundation is key to supporting talented graduates, enabling future success in the UK’s fashion industry as well as globally. The charity aims to continue promoting graduate’s work and increase employment opportunities in the UK and abroad.

The new series contains elements that will be delivered on both a fixed time scale, plus new industry & media event opportunities on a moveable Autumn schedule. The Autumn projects are flexible for social distancing restrictions and government guidelines and have currently been reserved for September, but can be delivered up to December when possible.

Hilary Alexander OBE, President of Graduate Fashion Foundation said, “I share with all universities and the Class of 2020, the disappointment that we are unable to run Graduate Fashion Week this year. But I am thrilled with and excited by the innovative projects and platforms that have been devised to launch the creativity and skills of our graduates for the attention of the fashion world. Difficult times bring difficult challenges. However, necessity is the mother of invention – and we can and will rise to the challenges with the brilliant adaptability that has made our fashion industry the envy of the world.”

GFF Awards:

The revision of the Graduate Fashion Foundation 2020 Awards reflects the national change to all UK member’s final year student’s delivery of their final degree projects, now being completed from home. Our awards which are now live, have always been an important part of who we are as a Foundation, it allows us to highlight the very best in graduating talent and award excellence.

Graduate Fashion Foundation has been gathering feedback from our members to readdress the award submission and criterions to make them as fair as possible around the constraints of work that had already been completed within the final year of their degree, and the facilities that students have available to them during the lockdown.

Addressing the factors that have affected manufacturing courses, the charity has taken the decision to remove the five catwalk awards this year due to the halt in manufacturing and the closure of university studios and facilities. The awards have been replaced with four new awards, these are; Fashion Illustration Award, Fashion Range Plan Award, Technical Drawing Award and Fashion Concept Award. Additionally, for the class of 2020 we have introduced the Adaptation Award to celebrate student’s resourcefulness and problem solving skills during this unprecedented time.

The top ten student shortlists for each award will be announced on Wednesday 10th June, with final judging taking place in July, winners will be announced in the Autumn.

Graduate Fashion Foundation is honoured to announce it will be supported by Samsung KX. For students, Graduate Fashion Week is the pinnacle of their academic life that they all work tirelessly towards being showcased in front of the industry (and their family!) and maybe win one of the prestigious awards that celebrate the students work. With many of their university fashion shows also cancelled, the 2020 year group have been left bitterly disappointed and unsure of how their degrees will conclude. Therefore, finding alternative platforms to showcase the incredible talent of tomorrow has been critical.

As part of this we are delighted that we will be working with Samsung KX to host online nominations for the Graduate Fashion Week Innovation Award, with the possibility of a physical celebration later this year at its spectacular venue in London’s Coal Drops Yard. As the Home of Innovation, we are excited to celebrate work with a refreshing and innovative direction with ground-breaking thinking that the UK and Samsung are renowned for. This incredible space that celebrates culture and innovation could not be more suited to showcase and celebrate the talent of tomorrow. Graduate Fashion Week are extremely excited to be working with Samsung KX and celebrate the exceptional BA Fashion talent we have here in the UK.

GFF Portfolio & Design Industry Showcase:

GFF will be taking over an event space in London this Autumn (flexible date) for a celebration of the 2020 graduates’ achievements and work. The industry focused event will feature all 38 UK members with an additional area for international. Each university will showcase portfolios of work, with tutors in attendance to speak with industry attendees about the work on show.

GFF aims to support the 318 design students who have lost out on the chance to finish their collections and showcase on the GFW catwalk with three new opportunities. Central to this will be a GFF Showroom hosting eye-catching outfits with their portfolios. Additionally, a professionally curated fashion Presentation will take place and the showcase will conclude with a GFF catwalk spectacular. Selected outfits will be on show from GFF catwalk universities. Industry, buyers & media will be invited to attend throughout the event hosted by the GFF team. (These events will be either physical or digital, depending on social distancing restrictions).

These showcase events are important for Graduate Fashion Foundation to continue the longstanding relationships with the global fashion industry as the go to event for scouting and recruiting the best emerging talent. Graduate Fashion Week is the largest showcase of BA fashion talent in the world and provides one of the biggest pools of fashion talent so it is of great importance to continue this bridge to industry.

The events will see a broad range of industry attend from retailers, head-hunters, manufacturers as well as GFF supporters and partners including; Tu, Size?, GAP Inc, Ralph Lauren, YKK and Swarovski. Attendees will enjoy the day with GFF and Course Leaders searching for fresh talent and reviewing portfolios for potential future roles. The showcase will conclude in an evening VIP Reception with Award Finalists, Members and Industry, where the 2020 GFF Award winners will be announced.

GFF Webinars:

Graduate Fashion Foundation launched a new Webinar Series on Monday 11th May. The GFF webinars have been created to bring the industry’s guidance and advice exclusively to the homes of the Class of 2020. Within the series, the final year students from our member universities will hear from industry experts across multiple disciplines of fashion from; Journalism and Marketing, to Makeup, Photography and Creative Direction.

Speakers include; Ex- Editor in Chief of British Vogue Alexandra Shulman, British Photographer Rankin, Fashion Director of Red Magazine Nicola Rose, Hair and Makeup Artists Ben Cooke and Mary Wilks, Specialist Consultants Jan Miller and Pam Wright, plus Author and Journalist Viv Groskop and Creative Director at Label Mix Gemma Metheringham to name but a few.

The webinar series will allow GFF to continue to deliver advice and guidance for up to 1000 final year students at a time.

GFF Portfolio Support:

GFF is partnering with the professional network The Dots to promote the work and profiles of the Class of 2020. Industry recruiters and media will be able to view all students work and scout talent upon the Graduate Fashion Foundation company profile and curated talent listings. The page will also direct industry through to personal profiles and additional work of students.

The Dots is home to over half a million members from the arts and creative industries with over 70% being under 34. The tech platform includes a large live job portal containing roles from leading fashion industry. GFF will be sharing further information and links with industry to begin viewing the work on the 15th June 2020. Acting Chair of Graduate Fashion Week Douglas MacLennan said, “Out of adversity, comes innovation. The Graduate Fashion Foundation rose to the unprecedented global challenge, by placing an emphasis on listening to the 2020 graduating student needs and those of our academic members. In order to create the Foundation’s most innovative and exciting series of launch activities to date. The annual ‘Graduate Fashion Week’ launch period was historically held over a few days, in 2020 the activities will now be held over a number of months with a series of exciting new style activities.”

The timeline of support for Members and the Class of 2020 has been greatly extended, from Nov – July to Nov – September. With more time, we are also able to support further on media coverage and celebrating the shortlisted award students. Graduate Fashion Foundation will continue to provide our members with a platform to curate and show select students work as they choose, with the charity providing an industry and media audience.

In 2021, Graduate Fashion Foundation celebrates 30 years of being one of the world’s most important sources of new talent for the global industry and the charity is already making plans for big celebrations.


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