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Graduate Fashion Week – The most exciting yet most nerve-racking week for the final fashion year students. You never know what could happen in a week, but now it was time to see.

Going to Graduate Fashion week in the year of 2019 was a different experience for me than the other times I have visited. Usually, I am invisible behind backstage helping the current final year students, always in a mad rush to get the garments onto the models; but this year that was not the case. I was in full view taking in the whole experience of what Graduate Fashion Week had to offer.

The Start of the Day

The moment I stepped into the entrance of Old Truman Brewery, I could tell in an instant that I was entering a Fashion Event. Cameras were everywhere, taking shots and films of the number of people walking through the door, showcasing how popular the event was. I could feel the buzz of the surrounding people as soon as I walked in. As you enter you spot the variety of different Universities stands that are dotted around the map. What impressed me the most was how you could see the personalities of what each University had to offer. You could see this from the way they had creatively thought of how they wanted to present their work. Garments, Portfolios, Magazines, Look Books, Zines, there was everything on show. A real range of products, all intriguing to see.
I spotted as I walked around, teams from the industry meeting graduates, reviewing portfolios and discussing career options. So, not only was it a great exhibition but also a great way for the designers work to get noticed. An easily accessible way of self-networking.

#Tagyourtalent

I kept walking around and soon realised there were another 2 floors of this. I couldn’t wait for more. I headed to the next section and noticed boards full on snapshots of Instagram Posts. As I got closer, I soon realized it was a few bunch of the #TagYourTalent posts from the current graduates. I thought I had recognized them from my own feed. I liked this feature. It represented the typical story of the lives of final fashion year students.

I even loved following the # on my feed, such another great way of designers to get recognized and acknowledged. Even so, I ended up following probably nearly every different student as I just got fascinated seeing people’s ideas come to life and also seeing what the exact topic was that inspired them to create such unique diverse collections and outcomes.

GFW Live!

Throughout the day there were also many live discussions on various topics in the talk space including, Mothercare, expressing how important body confidence is in their message for the brand; Q&A’s with Footwear designer Sam Pearce, and even chats with the ever so famous Gok Wan and Hilary Alexander, expressing everything related to career goals and how to prepare for this.

Sponsor Stands – Great for Graduates

Dotted around the exhibition space where also the stands of the people supporting Graduate Fashion Week, these including, Size?, Tu, George, Clarks and so many more. You could see walking past how helpful these were to current graduates as everyone was holding a portfolio waiting patiently in line. The day was a great way of self-networking, showing your work to potential employers, or even if it is just trying to get some advice on work and how to get where you would like to be. Tu also presented the 2018 scholarship collection which I loved. Seeing this put the whole day into perspective for me as it showed how helpful this day can be for not only the graduates but the brands too. It is a great community for students but also helps spot the fresh and emerging talent for the brands.

Time For The Catwalk Show

But now, it was time for the catwalk. I was there supporting my University and every student that got picked for the show. As we waited, you could hear everyone’s conversations, eager wanting to get in. I managed to get 2nd row back and oh how I did feel like I was at London Fashion Week. More people were walking in and taking their seats, these including the VIP’s who were judging the variety of awards and scholarships, and the cameras were put into place at the end of the catwalk. Everyone was ready for the show to start.

Photos By Simon Armstrong via https://www.instagram.com/bcu_fashion/

We had twenty collections walk down the catwalk and not one was similar in any way, all such diverse concepts explored. Not only did the garments look great but you could see every student considered the whole look, including accessories and shoes. It really did just make me want to get started with the final year, creating my concept and getting into design work to see final products come to life. I felt immensely proud for my University as the show had finished, but couldn’t bear to think how all the students were feeling behind backstage, knowing that soon that the whole year would soon be finished, and how they were all realising that they did it, one of the hardest years they had to face was all coming to a close.

The whole day at Graduate Fashion Week was such an amazing experience for me, seeing everything that each graduate had worked so hard on in the last year. Each outcome looked incredible. But not only was it a great day for me but also everyone there. Graduates spending time with well-known brands, the brands trying to find some new fresh emerging talent, and just a place where everyone came together to celebrate everything creative. Graduate Fashion Week did an amazing job to host all of this again for yet another year, and I hope that next year I will see you there with my collection going down the catwalk, but I guess we will just have to see! Until next time Graduate Fashion Week!

Leah