As Graduate Fashion Week 2019 comes to an end, the winners of this year’s Gala Awards were announced, celebrating the ‘Talent of Tomorrow’ with graduate stars such as award winners Brian McLysaght, Alexandra Fan and Rosie Baird from Edinburgh College of Art, Greg Brears from Birmingham City University and Hannah Stote from Bath Spa University.
Over 150 judges join the charity across the four-day event to decide 32 award winners, including: New Lifetime Patron and designer Dame Zandra Rhodes heading up the Hilary Alexander Trailblazer award and GFW Ambassador Christopher Raeburn who headed up the Christopher Bailey Gold Award panel of industry experts.
Now in its 28th year, Graduate Fashion Week brings the latest innovative and exciting emerging talent to the world’s attention, showcasing the designers of tomorrow. The event is supported by 13 Global Ambassadors and 7 Lifetime Patrons including: Christopher Bailey MBE, Victoria Beckham OBE, Vivienne Westwood OBE RBI, Nick Knight OBE and newly appointed Dame Zandra Rhodes.
This year, a Graduate Fashion Week shining star was Brian McLysaght from Edinburgh College of Art who walked away with three awards including the coveted Christopher Bailey Gold Award. Edinburgh College of Art students continued to impress with Alexandra Fan receiving two awards (the Womenswear Award and the David Band Textiles Award which was presented during the Best Of show earlier that day) during Graduate Fashion Week and Rosie Baird who received the George Catwalk to Store Award.
The prestigious Christopher Bailey Gold Award, named after the first winner of the award in 1991, was awarded to Brian McLysaght from Edinburgh College of Art, for his collection which is entirely made from sustainable and biodegradable wood and is inspired by the role of clothing in 20th Century decolonisation movements. Judges for the award included; Designer and Creative Director Christopher Raeburn, Times Fashion Director Anna Murphy, Editor for LOVE magazine and Harriet Verney, Head of Global Creative Recruitment at LVMH Gena Smith, Tamara Ralph, Central Saint Martins MA Fashion Course Director, Fabio Piras, The Gentlewoman Editor-in-Chief Penny Martin, and Michael Russo, Founders & Creative Directors of Ralph & Russo.
Christopher Raeburn on the winner of the Gold Award said, “Choosing the winner was for me relatively straightforward, there was on stand out designer who I felt really exemplified the brief in terms of catwalk impact, level of craft, creativity, skill, expertise and thoroughness, research and material choices -really impressive”
Winner Brian McLysaght said, “It feels absolutely incredible to have won all of these awards, I’m so thankful. What really made me win these awards was the standard at Edinburgh, everybody in our class is so incredible, we hold each other to such exceptional standard. My classmates are really the people who got me here. In the future I hope to continue working in sustainable development, I’m very interested and ethics and sustainability that’s my design focus.”
The Menswear Award was presented to Greg Brears from Birmingham City University. Judges on the prestigious award included; Kamran Rajput, Fashion Editor of Wonderland, Senior Creative Director of H&M, Petter Klusell, Creative Director of Wrangler, Sean Gormley and Barry Jordan, Vice President of Design for Menswear at Ralph Lauren.
The Womenswear Award was presented to Alexandra Fan from Edinburgh College of Art. Judges included; Victoria McGrath from In the Frow, Designer Henry Holland, Creative Director and Founder, House of Holland, YOU magazine’s Fashion Director, Shelly Vella, Premda Wunderle, Vice President of Design, Women’s Collection RTW, Ralph Lauren and TU Head of Design, Anna Clarke.
Henry Holland on the winner of the Womenswear Award said: “From the minute I saw it I knew that it was going to be my favourite. It blew me away, was nothing like I had ever seen before. It felt like something that was actually new, inventive, intriguing. I wanted her section of the show to continue for longer, and then when we met her, seeing her research and development and hearing her story and her reference points and approach, it just re-enforced the idea that what she had done was revolutionary.”The Catwalk Knitwear Award was presented to Hannah Stote from Bath Spa University. included; Nike’s FlyKnit Design Director, Joanne Jorgensen, Fashioner Designer Julien Macdonald OBE, Deanna Ferretti, CEO, and Sonia Veroni, Co-Founder and Director of Modateca Deanna and Creative Director for Label/Mix at Next – Gemma Metheringham.
The Hilary Alexander Trailblazer Award presented by Dame Zandra Rhodes and Hilary Alexander OBE was won by Brian Mc Lysaght from Edinburgh College of Art. Judges included; Hilary Alexander OBE, Fashion Designer Richard Quinn, Toni Blaze, Editor-in Chief of Wonderland and Fashion Designer and Living Artist Daniel Lismore.
Hilary Alexander OBE commenting on the winner of the Hilary Alexander Trailblazer Award, “We chose this winner because the work stood out almost immediately and it was about the one collection that we couldn’t stop talking about and we kept on going back to. We looked at others and then we went back to it. The work was extraordinarily beautiful.
The George Catwalk to Store Award went to Rosie Baird from Edinburgh College of Art. Judges included; Senior Buying Director at George – Mary-Kate Campbell, Alexandra Fullerton, Fashion Director at Glamour and Influencer – Megan Ellaby.
The Clarks Footwear Award was awarded to Keri Thornton from De Montfort University for her sustainable collection. Judges for the award included; Footwear Designer at Clarks – Keabetswe Masalila, Director of Footwear at WGSN – Claire Foster, and Hannah Rochelle, Creative Director and Founder of En Brouge.
Winner Keri Thornton said, “It means everything to have won – I’m in shock! It’s the most bizarre feeling, it’s a bit out of body as I was up against so incredible designers.”
The Tu Sainsbury’s Scholarships went to Josephine Roberts from Northumbria University and Michella Knight from Nottingham Trent University. Judges included their new mentors throughout the scholarship, Design duo Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones plus, Womenswear Designer at Tu – Toni Salters-Warner and Aimi Williams-Smith, Menswear & Childrenswear Design Manager at Tu.
The International Fashion Award sponsored by GAP Inc. was awarded to Ivy Lan from Savannah College of Art and Design Hong Kong. Judges saw the best designs from over 40 international universities across the globe. The panel included; Deborah Joseph, Editor in Chief of Glamour, and Vice President of Womens & Men Design for GAP, John Caruso.
Winner Ivy Lan said, “ I used the orchid flower as the main focus of my design details and the collection is about self-expression and identity. I’m super thrilled to be a winner – I have no words! “
Conscious Design Award sponsored by Swarovski went to Brian Mc Lysaght from Edinburgh College of Art. Judged by Orsola De Castro, Founder of Fashion Revolution, Leslie Holden, Head of Postgraduate Studies at Amsterdam Fashion Institute, Telegraph’s Acting Senior Fashion Editor, Caroline Leaper and Brigitte Stepputtis, Global Head of Couture at Vivienne Westwood.