Graduate Fashion Foundation, the charity behind Graduate Fashion Week in association with UK Fashion & Textiles Association (UKFT), hosted an exclusive reception at the Houses of Parliament this evening, celebrating their strong ties with leading industry experts, bringing together fashion’s brightest young graduate talent and key policymakers.
Following in the footsteps of notable alumni including Christopher Bailey MBE, Stella McCartney and Giles Deacon, Graduate Fashion Foundation showcased an exciting curated display of award-winning 2018 graduate work, from the range of fashion disciplines including design, marketing, journalism, photography and knitwear.
The fashion industry is one of the UK’s most important industries, supporting just under one million jobs and contributing £20.9 billion to the economy*. Graduate Fashion Foundation makes a significant contribution towards this through the connections platform, promoting the industry and acting as a springboard for emerging new talent.
Over 200 top industry guests including CEOs, Founders, Directors, Buyers, HR, PR and design teams attended, alongside established designers including Pam Hogg, Holly Fulton and Oliver Spencer to name a few. The guests gathered with charity trustees, ambassadors as well as Founder Jeff Banks CBE to celebrate the past year of successes and to launch the start of the 2019 year of events and activities.
Host Damian Collins, MP – Chairman of The Culture, Media and Sports Committee, opened the reception, followed by Hilary Alexander OBE, the charity’s Industry Trustee and passionate supporter.
Martyn Roberts, Creative and Managing Director of Graduate Fashion Week said: “It is a fantastic event to build on year on year, celebrating the launch of new talent into the fashion industry. We’re here tonight with some of the top industry experts and our accomplished graduates to advocate the significance of the Graduate Fashion Foundation charity and the year round work it does. We are gaining more support from CEO, HR and Design Directors across international and UK brands throughout the year.”
Graduate Fashion Foundation Chairman and Mothercare CEO Mark Newton-Jones, spoke about the importance of the annual June Graduate Fashion Week event as an international platform for creating employment opportunities for UK graduates within the fashion capitals of the world as well as adding value to companies.
Furthermore, Mark announced the launch of the second year of the Graduate Fashion Foundation Protégé Project, the charities mentoring scheme especially created to support a core selection of graduates for two years, following their graduation. This week also saw GFF run a series of nationwide masterclasses in collaboration with Ralph Lauren and partner universities. These extra-curricular professional talks provide much needed preparation for the students entering the industry and key tips on life after graduation.
During the evening, the Chairman highlighted key 2018 sponsors Swarovski, Superdry, Tu at Sainsburys, Clarks and L’Oréal Professionel and their continued to support developing talent in the UK. These companies among other partners remain committed to the charity year on year and Graduate Fashion Foundation work closely with them to ensure they secure the very best talent.
Mark Newton Jones, Chairman and Mothercare CEO said; “The House of Parliament event has been a great showcase for both our fashion industry and the young creatives that form part of its future. We are delighted to feature this year’s outstanding graduates’ work and present how our charity, Graduate Fashion Foundation, has supported over 100,000 students to launch their careers in the creative sector.”
Guests also had the pleasure of hearing from the Chairman of UKFT, Nigel Lugg: “The UK produces £9 billion worth of fashion and textiles every year and is home to some of the world’s best designer graduates. UKFT believes it is vital we support the emerging talent within our vibrant industry and for the sixth year running we are delighted to partner with Graduate Fashion Foundation to unite leading industry figures and key policy makers at the Houses of Parliament. To ensure the industry can continue to grow, UKFT has very ambitious plans to encourage a pipeline of talent into manufacturing to allow these designs to become a reality, as well as making sure that future designers have the appropriate knowledge to work in a rapidly changing retail industry, where collaboration with manufacturing is critical to success.”
The event saw the attendance of the charities Global Ambassadors including Caryn Franklin MBE, Fabio Piras, Pam Hogg, Holly Fulton and Daniel Lismore.
Graduate Fashion Foundation is a charitable organisation which is an essential part of the fashion industry. It is the springboard for new talent, the lifeforce the whole industry relies on. Over the past 27 years, more than 100,000 newly graduated and undergraduate students have been supported and guided by the charity. GFF aim’s remains the same today; dedication to encouraging young people, helping them find employment and get the best start possible in the fashion industry.
A charity organisation founded in 1991 by Jeff Banks CBE, Vanessa Denza MBE and John Walford to unify both UK and international universities and create a stronghold for the creative industries to find the best talent, marked it’s 25th anniversary in 2016 by announcing the first Lifetime Patrons. Christopher Bailey MBE, Victoria Beckham OBE, Nick Knight OBE, and Dame Vivienne Westwood DBE RDI, were announced. They were joined in 2018 by Internationally acclaimed designer Diane Von Furstenberg and business woman Nadja Swarovski.
Graduate Fashion Foundation celebrates almost three decades of being one of the world’s most important sources of the new talent for the global designer industry. A crucial part of the dynamic fashion industry, fuelling innovation in all parts of fashion business.
GFF annually presents Graduate Fashion Week, the largest showcase of BA fashion in the world with over 95 of the most influential and inspiring UK and international universities and colleges on show. It provides a fantastic opportunity to see the freshest talent from 26 different fashion disciplines.
The annual Graduate Fashion Week event, held every June attracts 30,000 guests, features 26 catwalk shows and exhibition stands, alongside a packed schedule of talks, masterclasses and workshops from leading names in the fashion and retail industry. It represents the future of creative design talent and showcases the work of over 5000+ of the very best fashion graduates each year.
The event attracts a wide array of top industry professionals, press and recruiters from UK and abroad who use this opportunity to discover talent, as well as offer exciting graduate employment and placements opportunities. The Graduation Fashion Foundation is proud to be a platform that makes the connections leading graduates need to fulfilling their career goals.
GFF believes that supporting the next generation is vital, not just to the graduates themselves but also to the future of the fashion industry. GFF organise and run events to provide employment opportunities and experiences relating to working in the fashion industries, as well as offering information on wellness, sustainability and diversity in fashion. The GFW website has key areas recommending advice from GFF Alumni and industry experts to help support graduates as they leave university and move along their career ladder.
Graduate Fashion Week is the world’s largest event for BA Fashion talent and will be taking place on the 2rd -5th June 2019 at The Old Truman Brewery, Shoreditch, London.