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Graduate Fashion Week 2004 Day 2


The exhibitors were sweltering under the heat of near tropical temperatures but even this did not distract from the high calibre of the designers from Brighton, Derby Manchester, LCF, Bristol, and East London. GFW was established in 1991 to showcase the very best graduating BA degree work at its annual event each June. It is entirely funded by sponsorship and features a static exhibtion and over 20 fashion shows. The Gala Fashion Show and Awards on Thursday evening showcases the best collections before press and industry representatives. British designer talent is well recognised by the whole industry and there are some quotes confirming what we already know!

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Jonathan Sweet        Leah Roberts            Sophy Pavitt

Graduates from University of West England.  All images obtained from WGSN.com

“I have always looked for British trained designers to be part of the team at Chloe; they bring a lot of creativity to the design studio and the process of putting together our catwalk shows and campaigns.

They have that special London attitude and savoir-faire while respecting the Chloe heritage.”

Ralph Toledo    President and CEO Chloe

“My experience over the years is that our design and art schools produce the finest graduates and designers in the world. They use their own feelings about life to express themselves- and they learn the craft,

Ultimately it’s about what a woman wants. The key is freedom. It’s a magical combination.”

Joan Burnstein  – Browns

“I am very fortunate that I had a solid educational base at the start of my career in design from several of the UK’s schools of Art and Design. I always look to these British Design Schools when I am searching for new creativity to add to the teams, and am constantly surprised and impressed how strong, individual and able these new designers are. The talent is exceptional.”

Christopher Bailey- Creative Director Burberry

“Our DNA is the strength of our fashion education system-a mix of anarchy, ability and attitude-which provides some of the most talented designers in the world today.

Scratch the surface of any major designer house and you’ll find a little bit of Brit.”

Hilary Alexander, Fashion Editor, Daily Telegraph

“People come out of our colleges stronger here than they do anywhere else in the world. Its sink or swim. Our colleges are very independent; they choose and nurture talent. We produce these incredible designers, iconoclastic designers, who I think reflect the totally unique creative links we have in Britain.”

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Sarah Easom                    Lee foster                     Craig Holmes

Graduates from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Colin McDowell-Fashion critic, Historian and Author

“I first started covering London Fashion Week in 1987, when John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood were on the catwalks. Whether I realised it or not, I was being introduced to British design training.

Through the 90’s, Britain kept turning out designers, stylists, photographers, make-up artists, and editors of leading-edge magazines.

None of that would have been possible, I think, without an educational system that encourages creativity and freedom.”

Cathy Horyn-Fashion editor New York Times

“British design colleges are very good and create designers that have an all round knowledge, not only of design but the industry itself.

The exciting thing about British people is their ability to think laterally.”

Sir Paul Smith

“I make a point of seeing every student that makes the trip to Milan, and in the last few years I can safely say I have met over 2000 graduates.

The ones who come from British schools are always the ones with the most innovative ideas.

British trained designers are, in my opinion the only ones that have wit, inventiveness and are constantly resourceful in their way to scout modern techniques and reinvent past looks. These are the designers trained to sustain every type of creative work and constantly searching for the new.”

Kinder Chief Designer, Versace Men

“I do think that unlike other European designers, young British talent face new adventures bravely, thanks to their natural attitude to be a little more unsettled and rebellious and open minded.

Proof of my appreciation can be found in the number of young British designers that work for me which make up 60% of my creative team.”

Alberta Ferretti

“I have thought a lot over years about the British system for training designers. I believe that the British educational way of exploring laterally makes its students (not just Brits but all those trained in the UK) especially good creatively.”

Suzy Menkes Fashion editor of International Herald Tribune

“I would say that British trained designers are the best in the world.”

Anna Wintour Editor in chief- US Vogue

“English Design Schools are an example to every other school in the world. British designers and craftsmen bring humour, irony and a deep knowledge to creating beautiful fashion; they feed the international fashion world with, in my opinion, the best prints, illustration and graphics.

There is a feeling of escape and fantasy from British trained designers, but also a feeling of the real world- and this comes from the schooling.”

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click to view full-size image

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Hilel Tunc                        Elvira Sanchez                Denis Antoine

Graduates from London College of Fashion.

Anna Piaggi      Italian Vogue

“What’s great about the British art school system is not the schools or the teachers per se. It’s the social possibilities of meeting, mixing and learning from the cultural mix of Britain. The anarchic irreverence has made so many talents rise and fall but also pushed them to continue their pursuit with passion.”

Terry Jones, Editor in chief and creative director I-D

“Brit-trained is the X factor design company’s want. The leading colleges are brilliant at harnessing creativity and sending out totally employable designers. Directional?

We produce that in spades here. Everyone wants designers who are “on it”, designers who know what’s going to be the next big thing, and, crucially how to turn it into commercial clothes.”

Alice Smith, Smith and Pye Recruitment

“British trained designers have great status globally. They have many strengths they are innovative, creative and experimental.”

Vanessa Denza, Co founder of Graduate fashion week and recruitment agent.

No article would be complete without our Director and Chair’s comments. David Jones has been religiously judging each collection from each FE and HE institution. Without doubt this is one of the most creative and exciting GFWs to date. 

“Despite the heat GFW continues to be extremely busy and I am personally delighted by the attendance both at the shows and the static exhibition and up to this moment I have seen no-one fainting yet! It is a pity in my view that there are not more retailers and manufacturers making the effort to attend these events and whilst there will be a packed house on Thursday evening with the gala people should remember that not every student can show their collections at the gala. Retailers and manufacturers alike will miss out on some great British talent. Generally I am pleased with how well organised, exciting and entrepreneurial this event is. Now excuse me please….. I must go back to the judging.”

Apparently the air-conditioning has been ordered and should be here by tomorrow!

More news tomorrow from the front line!

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