Here it was. The moment that everyone had been waiting for! The winners of the Graduate Fashion Week 2012 awards were to be announced to an excited audience at Earls Court 2. Stars had done the walk of fame into the venue on the ‘grey carpet’, the photo stand was packed with photographers and the anxious yet excited nominated students were waiting in the buzzing backstage area.
Caryn Franklin resumed her post as host and the award ceremony began! She joked that this was a very rare occasion in the fashion world where everybody backstage was ready and prepared on time and were in fact waiting for the audience! Kick-starting the award announcements, the International nominee’s collections were shown once again to the audience to display the level of talent that was present before Karen Jessen of Esmod Berlin was announced as winner. Her leather laser cut creations really made an impression on the judges as did her resourcefulness (the leather came from an old sofa and one garment was made from old t-shirts).
Highlighted at Gala Show 1, Xiaoping Huang from Lancashire’s crazy collection of musically inspired accordion creations scooped up the Zandra Rhodes Textile award, presented by Mary Katrantzou and Daisy Lowe. These designs clearly made an impression on the audience as phones were whipped out to photograph and film the wacky collection as it worked the catwalk.
The Stuart Peters knitwear award, presented by Mark Fast, Ruth Chapman of Matches and Erica Peters displayed the sheer amount of talent on show at Graduate Fashion Week by announcing not one but two winners for the category! Huge congratulations to Caitlin Charles-Jones (Kingston) and Jousianne Propp (Manchester).
And the winners just kept coming! The following winners were also announced for the following awards;
- Barclays New Business Award- Holly Reid (central Lancashire)
- Fashion Innovation Award- Amy Collins (central Lancashire)
- Per Aquum Marketing Award- Hayley Oldfield (central Lancashire)
- Media & Design Award- Kerrie Donelly (UCA Epsom)
- Stand Design Award- Edinburgh College of Art
The importance of these awards was shown through the appearance of some of the best the industry has to offer to judge and present the awards, from Jefferson Hack of Dazed and Confused, to Elle editor Lorraine Candy and accessories designer Fred Butler.
Of course, George has been exceptional in both their support of Graduate Fashion Week and for graduates as they transition from students to professionals. Brand director Fiona Lambert was on hand to award Susanna Yi an award for the Best of British award which saw students design using local themes as inspiration. And the unofficial ‘Cute’ award definitely had to go to the little girls who modelled some of the designs for the George Childrenswear award, which went to an ecstatic Harriet Simons from Colchester.
On a night where full attention was given to the designers of tomorrow, the following awards were also proudly handed out;
- Karen Millen Portfolio Award- Jousianne Propp (second award of the night!)
- David Band Textiles Award- Emma Hardstaff (Edinburgh)
- Mulberry Accessories Award- Laura Smallwood (Kingston)
- Ethical Award- Sarah Murphy- (Northumbria)
Excitement came to a head as it was time for the most prestigious awards of the night to be announced. A moving tribute was given by GFW President Jeff Banks to Lifetime Achievement Award winner Chris Moore, the highly esteemed photographer who had to fight his way out from his prime position in the photographers’ box (of course) to collect the award.
The menswear award, presented by GQ’s Luke Day, Matthew Murphey and Caroline Massey went to Riona Horrox of Edinburgh for her very professional collection of oversized, structured designs teamed with fur and orange and brown prints.
The womenswear winner was revealed by Matthew Williamson as Chloe Jones from Bath Spa. And we can now reveal that Chloe was not only the recipient of the womenswear award, but also THE highest award of GFW, the £20,000 Gold Award! Daphne Guinness, Fiona Lambert and Suzy Menkes all hailed Chloe’s monasteric sportswear collection, with Daphne perfectly describing it as ‘ethereal’. As Chloe took to the catwalk with models wearing her amazing collection which was not only original but had real emotion and meaning to it, gold confetti poured from the roof and applause was continuous. What a perfect ending to a fantastic four days of celebrating the new faces of fashion! Congratulations once again to all of the students who made GFW one of the best years that we have ever seen! Now there was only one thing left to do…party! Here’s to GFW 2013!
(Photography by official graduate fashion week photographers Charlotte Headdey and Dani Farrow)