Charity organisation, and key player in spring boarding graduates into the industry, the Graduate Fashion Foundation, are often busy preparing for their biggest event of the year around about now, but due to the current pandemic, those plans have had to change.
Back in March, the charity made a difficult decision to cancel this years Graduate Fashion Week, something that hasn’t happened in it’s 29 years of operation. Graduate Fashion Week is an event which brings together graduates from across the globe to showcase their work to 30,000 attendees including friends, family, press, and potential employers, and has proven to be an integral part of initiating students into the industry, helping to launch the careers of some of the biggest names in the industry with the support of their patrons and ambassadors which include Vivienne Westwood, Victoria Beckham, and Christopher Raeburn to name a few.
The charity is committed to ensuring that it’s mission is still upheld despite the cancellation of GFW, and as such, has announced a series of exciting activities and opportunities for UK and international member universities. The new plans centre around the charities core pillars: Advice and Guidance, Bridging the Gap to Industry and Showcasing, and Rewarding and Celebrating the Best.
The new series will have both a fixed timetable of events, alongside industry and media event opportunities on a moveable Autumn schedule. This flexibility in when to deliver the events ensure that government guidelines and social distancing restrictions can be upheld, and the events can be rescheduled if required.
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.”
The new series will see the the charity oversee and produce the following:
GFF Awards – Making amendments to fit the current working climate, the Graduate Fashion Foundation has been working hard and readdressing the award submissions and criterions to make them as fair as possible, reviewing the work already completed by the students within the final year of their degree, and the facilities and resources available to the students during lockdown. As such, the charity has taken the decision to remove the five catwalk awards this year, and 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, the Adaptation Award will be given to celebrate the students resourcefulness and problem solving skills during this unprecedented time. The top ten student shortlists will be announced on Wednesday 10th June, with the final judging taking place in July, and winners announced in the Autumn.
View the full list here: https://www.graduatefashionweek.com/gfw-awards-scholarships
GFF Portfolio & Design Industry Showcase – Taking place this Autumn (flexible date) either virtually or physically depending on social distancing measures, this industry focused event will feature all 38 UK university members, with an additional area for international. Each university will showcase their students portfolios, alongside a showroom which will highlight the most eye-catching of designs. The charity will also curate a presentation and catwalk spectacular, and invite a broad range of industry from retailers, head-hunters, manufacturers as well as GFF supporters and partners including; Tu, Size?, GAP Inc, Ralph Lauren, YKK and Swarovski.
GFF Webinars – Launched on 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 and will ensure the GFF contnue to deliver advice and guidance for up to 1000 final year students at a time. Within the series, the final year students 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 many more.
View the full schedule here: https://www.graduatefashionweek.com/webinars-2020
GFF Portfolio Support – In partnership with professional network The Dots, industry recruiters and media will be able to view and scout talent with the GFF company profile. This profile page will also link directly to students personal profiles, allowing conversations to take place with students directly. The industry will be able to start viewing work from 15th June.
In these challenging times, we are all facing an uncertain future, but the Graduate Fashion Foundation are doing all that they can to stabilise and provide opportunity to our talent of tomorrow, and we are very excited to see how this next set of graduates will rise to the challenges set against them, and harness the opportunities the GFF have laid out for them.