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Graduate Fashion Week Student Success

Nottingham Trent University students collect awards at this year's Graduate Fashion Week

Amy Vanderwal's collection at Graduate Fashion Week
Amy Vanderwal's collection at Graduate Fashion Week

Nottingham Trent University designers wowed the judges at Graduate Fashion Week 2017 with their talent and innovation to win the Fashion Marketing Award, the TU Menswear Scholarship, second place in the People's Choice Award, and second place in two of the biggest awards of the night, the Christopher Bailey Gold Award and the Visionary Knitwear Award.

Now in its 26th year, Graduate Fashion Week remains an unrivalled platform for the promotion of new talent, representing the future of fashion design.

Students from the University's internationally renowned School of Art & Design showcased their work in front of fashion industry experts, the media, celebrities and retail giants at the Old Truman Brewery in London's creative East End.

Abigail Coop's collection on the Graduate Fashion Week catwalk
Abigail Coop's collection at Graduate Fashion Week

Fashion Knitwear student Abigail Coop was among the final 25 students shortlisted for the Gala show event, and came overall second in the highly coveted Christopher Bailey Gold Award, which recognises outstanding collections demonstrating exceptional creativity and craftsmanship.

She was additionally recognised as the runner-up of the Visionary Knitwear Award. Her collection of commanding menswear, constructed from textured and sheer knitted textiles, and inspired by teddy bears bursting at the seams, made a real impact on the catwalk.

Abigail, 23, from Manchester, said: “It was quite overwhelming, but a great experience. It was surreal seeing my collection on the catwalk. It didn’t feel like it was my work, but it was so enjoyable to see. I feel really proud to be runner up.”

Ian McInnes, course leader for Fashion Knitwear, said: “Abigail’s collection looked magical on the catwalk. She really rose to the occasion and the judging panel said her worked looked beautiful. To have four out of seven knitwear students shortlisted for final awards is something we’re really proud of. It shows that our students have yet again demonstrated amazing design thinking and innovation."

Models wearing garments designed by Sarah Rafferty
Sarah Rafferty's graduate collection

Fashion Design student Sarah Rafferty was named second in the People's Choice Award, gaining over 450 votes, and was also shortlisted in the Top 25 Best of Graduate Fashion Week show for her striking tailored menswear collection. The collection was inspired by her work placement year in Manhattan, New York, in which she saw bankers on Wall Street wearing ill-fitting suits.

Sarah, 22, from Liverpool, said: “It was amazing seeing my collection up there. It was such as nice day and really exciting. It's something that I’ve always wanted from my first year at NTU but I never thought I would be able to achieve it."

Off the catwalk, the University maintained its reputation for innovation, as students continued to impress the judges. Fashion Design student Amy Vanderwal collected the TU Menswear Scholarship Award, recognising her as the most creative and inspiring student judged by TU. She will join them for a year-long scholarship to work as part of their commercial design team. The judges were impressed by her designs, which were inspired by ‘80s punk and gypsy culture with mismatched fabrics and colours.

Amy, 21, from Blackpool, said: “I was completely overwhelmed. I only found out I was shortlisted on the day of the show. It all just happened so quickly but I’m really grateful that the design team scouted me at Graduate Fashion Week and saw commercial potential in my work. I’m really excited about it and feel privileged to have Oliver Spencer as my design mentor for the next year.”

Caroline Booth's winning concept MML
Caroline Booth's winning concept MML

Fashion Product Design student Caroline Booth won the hotly contested Fashion Marketing Award, winning £750 for herself, and £250 for the university. The award looks for a concept showing the true value of innovation.

Caroline’s concept demonstrated thorough market research, and the analysis of lifestyle and cultural trends to form a highly creative and commercial project. Her winning project, entitled MML 2050, takes on the issue of sustainability in the fashion industry.

Caroline, 22, from Hampshire said: “I wanted to create a brand which encourages people to buy less, but better and keep it for longer, in an attempt to reduce waste within the fashion industry. I was so shocked to win the award at Graduate Fashion Week! It was so nice to be recognised for my work and how I branded and marketed my graduate collection.”

Gilly Staples, course leader for Fashion Design, said: “We shone amongst all the good universities. We’re really proud of our presence at the show and the quality of the work that came through. We were up there with the very best of them. I’m really proud. We did really well.”

Graduate Fashion Week Student Success

Published on 8 June 2017
  • Subject area: Art and design
  • Category: Culture; School of Art & Design

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