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Triple win for NTU at Graduate Fashion Week 2021

Three graduating creatives have won awards as major university fashion week celebrates 30 years.

Winners of GFW 2021 awards
NTU's Graduate Fashion Week award winners

It’s been another successful year at Graduate Fashion Week for Nottingham Trent University, this time with three BA (Hons) Fashion Design graduates winning their shortlisted categories of Fashion Innovation, Fashion Concept and Childrenswear.

After last year’s cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Graduate Fashion Week has come back bigger and better than ever just in time to celebrate its 30th anniversary as a major fixture for graduating fashion students, bridging the often difficult gap between education and employment.

Organised by leading industry charity, Graduate Fashion Foundation, the annual university fashion week is the largest showcase of BA fashion work from over 80 national and international member universities. Graduate Fashion Week also benefits from partnerships with companies, including renowned eCommerce retailer, ASOS, and social media giant, TikTok.

Shweta Vakharia GFW
Shweta Vakharia's winning design collection: Breathe

Shweta Vakharia won the prestigious Fashion Innovation Award, supported by Samsung KX, for her inclusive collection Breathe, designed to aid people with anxiety by providing users with practical support mechanisms and a means of instantly feeling comfort at any given time.

“Two years ago, my cousin was involved in a major car accident and was admitted into critical care for several months”, Shweta tells us of the inspiration for her collection. “Initially I planned to make a functional collection to help victims of traumatic car accidents manage physical pain, however, after witnessing the mental trauma the accident causes, I decided to focus my project on anxiety.

“Winning this award has made me feel proud that my hard work has been acknowledged and recognised by GFW and industry experts.

“Aiding individuals through fashion is what I want to be a part of in the future and I look forward to designing a variety of garments with similar support mechanisms to expand my range.”

Jessie Craddock's Graduate Fashion Week collection designs
Jessie Craddock's winning design collection: Patient People: An Ode to Craftsmen

Jessie Craddock, won the Award for Fashion Concept with her creative response to the mass-production of fashion goods, focusing on the lost art of craftsmanship with her project Patient People: An Ode to Craftsmen.

“I never imagined winning such an exciting award and finishing my three years of university on the achievement”, Jessie comments on her win.

“The message of my project is that we must recognise the art of and the process behind craftsmanship to lead a sustainable lifestyle. My initial research was inspired by a poem that my grandad wrote about craftsmen called Patient People, which sparked the idea of looking at an array of crafting practices from across the world.

“Winning this award and showing my collection at GFW has given me confidence in my style of fashion and has allowed me to connect with industry professionals.”

Elise Sugden GFW
Elise Sugden's winning design collection: Unseen Realities

The winner of the Childrenswear Award, Elise Sugden, embraced the challenges faced by children during the COVID-19 pandemic as the inspiration for her innovative collection: Unseen Realities.

Unseen Realities stems from the idea that young children don’t understand the reality of COVID and being isolated away from their friends and family”, Elise explains of her concept. “Due to the pandemic, children have missed out on playing outside and connecting with nature, which is highly important for children’s developmental skills.

“My collection embraces escapism alongside dirt and soil as inspirations as children rediscover their love for outdoor play after a period focused on sanitising. Being able to escape the current world through play and surrealist fantasy is healthy and exciting for children and the surrealist perception between reality and fantasy creates growing interest in everyday spirituality and ecotherapy having a stronger focus on hostile and healing practices.

“I have really enjoyed the design process and getting industry recognition for my work is an incredible achievement. This will open a magnitude of opportunities and provide me with a strong platform to share my work.”

Check out the winning Graduate Fashion Week 2021 portfolios here.

Published on 29 June 2021
  • Subject area: Art and design
  • Category: Alumni; Student Showcase; School of Art & Design