Graduate Fashion Week
4th -7th June
Graduate Fashion Week is returning and it's the largest showcase of BA fashion in the world, with over 60+ of the most influential and inspiring UK & international universities and colleges on show.

The annual event, held here every June features 22 catwalk shows and exhibition stands, alongside a packed schedule of live talks and workshops from leading names in the fashion and retail industry. It represents the future of creative design talent and showcases the work of thousands of the very best graduates. A fantastic opportunity to see the freshest talent in fashion illustration, photography, design and communications.

Graduate Fashion Week bridges the gap between graduation and employment and is responsible for launching the careers of some of the most successful designers of our time including Christopher Bailey MBE, who was the winner of the first ever Graduate Fashion Week Gold Award, Stella McCartney, long time member of the Truman community Giles Deacon, Matthew Williamson and Julien Macdonald.

This year GFW has 28 prestigious awards to be presented to talented graduates including two new awards of The Hilary Alexander Trailblazer Award, the Vivienne Westwood Sustainable and Ethical Award (more below!) and The Clarks Footwear Award. This year's edition is certainly one to watch. 
Kate Clark
Interview with emerging womenswear designer and Kingston University graduate
We spoke to Kingston graduate, Kate, about her larger than life collection which caught our eye on her recent shoot with Graduate Fashion Week in our stunning Boiler House event space right here on Brick Lane (featured here on Vogue). 

For your graduating collection, what were your main influences? Do you mostly look to art, music or film when in the initial processes of creating the garments?

For this collection, Childhood Delusion, I was inspired by the feeling of leaving childhood behind and entering this new adult world that seems to be crumbling around us. The world seems to be falling apart politically and I felt the only thing to do was collect those things that made me feel safe at a time when I was protected and arm my girls with them. I’m greatly inspired by Grayson Perry’s work, and his irreverent attitude towards art and fashion. My own teddy bear and our life together I have always felt mirrored his in some ways. I wanted to merge this childish world in which I thought I was a princess from another realm with the grown up world I am about to set foot in. Therefore the merging of the princess dresses and the suits took place. My girl will continue to draw the toys she played with, continue to wear the princess dress, but pull the suit over the top and go to work just the same. My work is always autobiographical, it always looks to things I am familiar with, things that bring me home but at the same time is fantastical like all my childhood dreams. It is the merging of the real and unreal worlds.

How important do you feel is it for platforms such as Graduate Fashion Week to promote emerging talent in the current fashion industry? Where do you want to continue to after graduation in the industry?

Graduate Fashion Week’s importance is indescribable. This industry is hard, we’re constantly being told that it’s hard and competitive and that it never stops. Graduate Fashion week is so important even as a sense of community within the industry to nurture and to help us. You can learn from anyone you meet, young and old and anywhere in between. What I hope from Graduate Fashion Week is a chance to learn more from everyone. To meet people to get a job and to learn. To learn how to work better next time. To learn how to improve my folio. To learn from all the other students work. After graduation I really hope to get a job in designing embroidery, print and textiles for fashion. I’d really love to get onto the BFC graduate trainee programme as I think it’s a great opportunity to bridge the gap between uni and life, it sounds like my dream scenario.  

After a year I’d like to do an MA, but I need to save the money before being able to do this. I’m very open minded. I don’t think the industry is about decided exactly where you want to go and work. I know what I’m good at, I want to work somewhere where I can learn and develop the skills I have along with new ones. That could be somewhere I’ve never even thought of.

Have you got any interesting projects you have in mind for the future? Any interesting collaborations, or anyone you’d love to potentially work with on a collection?
The future is uncertain, and so very long! Making a collection is SO expensive without the help of my family I would have struggled much more. If I was ever to go out there and do things on my own it would certainly be a number of years in the future when I’ve learnt what business is really like. 
The Dame Vivienne Westwood Sustainable and Ethical Award
Lifetime patron of GFW introduces new award to Graduate Fashion Week
New for this year and awarded by lifetime patron of Graduate Fashion Week, Vivienne Westwood, the brand new Vivienne Westwood Sustainable and Ethical Award. Supported by the not for profit organisation Sustainable Angle and the Ethical Fashion Forum, the award will be presented to a designer that has shown the ability to create a garment that has a lower environmental impact that also displays ethically sustainable practices. Judged and presented on the 4th of June, this provides the winner with the opportunity to create an outfit with fabrics constructed by fibres from the Lenzing Group, for an event at the Houses of Parliament. By introducing this, GFW is pushing for a more sustainable and ethically viable future of the fashion industry. 
Francesco Lo Iacano
Illustrator exploring what's on at this years Graduate Fashion Week
Illustration of designer Maddie Williams work

Illustrator Francesco Lo Iacano has been exclusively invited by Graduate Fashion Week to cover the happening's at this years event. An Italian artist currently based in London, he currently specialises in textile design. Already featured in multiple magazines, fashion websites and working with several designers, be sure to follow Francesco as he illustrates his way through GFW through here and here. 
Banshee Magazine
Talking with Gallery Six member Rosie Anne Footitt, Editor-in-Chief and Founder 
Artwork by Linder Sterling

One of our Gallery Six members, Rosie, is already preparing the second issue of her female-centric magazine, Banshee. Exploring the importance of the female gaze within the magazine and as a whole within the creative industries, creating a platform for women to expose their work and working with influential women such as Linder Sterling and Juno Calypso, Banshee's mission is to act as a alternative to women's media changing women's perspective of their value, while focusing on a woman's internal self- the political, opinionated and creative.

How important is it to you to create a platform solely for women and the female gaze in the creative arts? 

Our focus in publishing emphasises the cathartic elements of creativity and the power that hearing other women’s stories in a authentic, honest light can bring. I grew up in a small town where people all lived one way and the news stands contained one mainstream women's media - the women in Vogue were the fantasia unrealistic inspirations. For me, creating a predominantly art and culture based women's magazine places priority on encouraging our reader to view their self-worth around what they do, how they think and what they create and to rebel against the norms. It’s this that makes them who they are, not fitting into ideals or feeling they can't be their true self!

What inspired you to start Banshee?

The main reason I founded Banshee came from my own personal journey and epiphany. I wish I had someone to take me away from obsessing over makeup and diet when I was coming into my own as a woman and instead point me towards the art and books and to stop me to say that my whole life as an outsider would advantage me to think outside the box. Even though style can be used as an identity shaper and can often be positive, I think we have to start from the bottom with a media outlet that has a strong influence on women and their mental health. We need to put this first, rather than using women's media as a negative model of business that puts pressure on females to 'aspire' to a false illusion of self-worth.

You’ve worked with renowned women influencers such as Linder Sterling and Reba Maybury. What was the experience like and is there anyone you’d like to work with in the future? 

It was compelling to be in Reba's presence. She has a presence to her that reflects her strong-mind. To hear her perspective on topics that at that stage I was figuring out my self was timely in developing my thoughts and love for women like her. This only proved how empowering it is to put an artifact out into the world for girls who may be prematurely unaware of the benefits a progressive feminist outlook has, towards their own feeling of self-worth, maybe because of their geographical area or situation. The female readers already aware and engaged in the work of the featured women are kept updated in their steps to revolution.  This is particular with Linder - the words she offers Banshee readers on coming into her own as a woman and how this is reflected into her work is from a very honest place. Linder came into her own in a very traditional generation and so her work has been a basis of reflecting the absurdity of women as objects in magazine images and advertising. Her power as a feminist icon is to enlighten our conscious - one so easily forgotten from the normalisation of advertising. Linder came to be like a Banshee mother! Her constant support and understanding of the importance for a women's publication, like Banshee, to exist, is the most gratifying thing. It makes us feel we’re doing something that will shape the means of the art world and a woman's place in the wider world in future generations. By putting these powerful women's words at the forefront of Banshee we can inspire a new young generation of women to think differently.

Get involved with Banshee and support their Kickstarter here.

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