Graduate Fashion Week launches new Talent of Tomorrow campaign

Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) is back this year from 3rd to 6th June, showcasing fashion (and fashion-related subjects) students' work from 36 UK universities as well as international ones, from USA to China. 

Founded in 1991 as a charity organisation by Jeff Banks CBE, Vanessa Denza MBE and John Walford, this year over 1000 students will take part at the 4-day event, including exhibitions, 25 catwalk shows and a Gala Award Show as well as live talks and workshops.

As part of the Talent of Tomorrow campaign, we spoke to 5 of the menswear-focus students on their collections and inspirations.

For more information and tickets please visit www.graduatefashionweek.com


 Photo: Damian Foxe / GFW

Photo: Damian Foxe / GFW

Libby Bowler / Manchester School Of Art

Libby seeks to combine traditional hand-craft processes with technical details and fabrics to produce innovative garments with a sensibility for sustainable design. Research themes which inspired the development of her graduate collection included mountaineering and naval expeditions, Inuit garment construction processes and the environmental protest group - Surfers Against Sewage.

Libby began the research process with a visit to the Imperial War Museum archive where she was able to handle historic expedition garments and equipment. She continuously studied historic and contemporary garments to aid design and construction skills. The colour pallet was inspired from art works from Tibet, the primary nationality of the Sherpas, who help transport equipment for Everest expeditions. There is also text extracted from survival guides and environmental protests that has been developed into graphic vinyl transfers which is a key process running throughout the collection to express a sense of protest in a playful yet informative way.


 Photo: Damian Foxe / GFW

Photo: Damian Foxe / GFW

Holly McCormack / Kingston Univeristy

Every piece of fabric from Holly's collection was vintage,  second hand, sourced as damaged pieces, antique textiles or from pre-existing clothing. This includes silk taken from antique kimonos, antique French bed linen, damaged wools, men’s chinos etc.


 Photo: Damian Foxe / GFW

Photo: Damian Foxe / GFW

Jose Cortizo / Universidad de Vigo

Jose Cortizo has always been inspired by architecture and also honours traditional Japanese culture in his work. ‘Weekend Lovers’ is a fusion of these two inspiring motifs.

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma contributes to the collection his defense for the local, the artisanal that Jose translates into important interiors of dyed cottons, with rough finishes and transparencies in Swiss organdie. Volumes in the garments are achieved through the superposition, fed by the modular repetition, the scaling of patterns and manual pleating. The choice of outer fabrics is essential to give weight to add firmness to the pieces, at the same time as bringing out the duality in terms of quality with which the designer constantly plays. This is then married to the Japanese floral art of crystal embroideries full of delicacy and femininity, creating a masculine collection of great rotundity.


 Photo: Damian Foxe / GFW

Photo: Damian Foxe / GFW

Maria Hassan-Attah / Plymouth College of Art

Maria draws inspiration from her West African heritage, which is then fused with a contemporary Western twist, reflecting her upbringing in Urban Britain.

Influence has been taken from the rich West African culture Maria has been exposed to. This is articulated through bright, bold shapes and print. Her concept takes further inspiration from West African miner’s uniforms. These have been incorporated into design details, such as baggy silhouettes, strapping and oversized proportions. Also significant is the print, which Maria developed from West African art into her own modern style.

The collection is about celebrating history and heritage but also the multicultural modern world. 


 Photo: Damian Foxe / GFW

Photo: Damian Foxe / GFW

Takato Wako / Nottingham Trent University

Takato describes his collection as anti-fashion; an interpretation of art in garment form.

Having arrived from Japan to study at NTU, he has been inspired by the experiences and emotions evoked by being in the UK and meeting new artists, which he describes as having unlocked the child in him, allowing a very pure form of emotional response to inform his design.

'Every kid is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once the kid grows up’.

Takato’s menswear collection is made from fabrics that he has created himself, using a range of industrial and electrical pvc tape, meticulously joined together piece by piece to form the overall fabric structure onto a cotton base.