Each year fashion world welcomes more than 4000 fashion design graduates. There are over 30 universities and private schools in the UK only preparing fashion designers. The majority of them have been attending Graduate Fashion Week in London this week.
The grandiose event attracts thousands of students, teachers and industry insiders, except some of the UK schools that organise their private graduate fashion shows, including Royal College of Art, London College of Fashion, Central Saint Martins and some private universities such as Istituto Marangoni London Fashion school.
Graduate Fashion Week is aiming to showcase the best fashion design graduates each year from the UK but also from the international fashion schools such as FIT in New York or Esmod in Paris. The Old Truman Brewery becomes a big collective trade show with industry and press attending. The best graduates are nominated for the sponsored awards by companies such as Swarovski, Debenhams, Asos, George Asda and other high street sponsors. Edinburgh College of Art was a clear frontrunner at this year’s GFW, with six awards in total, including a Gold award for Halina North.
The 4-day event is organised in such a way that students would show their work but also get access to the industry professionals. Graduate Fashion Week has delivered quite a few talks and panel discussions throughout the days; hosted and presented, however, by the event sponsors.
How to start your own fashion label? How to succeed as a designer? How to start a career in fashion? What’s next? These are the questions that remain in the fashion design graduates’ heads after the festivities are over. The missing link between the degree and the industry is still an important problem to be solved. Are the industry recognition and a cash prize long-term solutions? Or should the graduate-industry transition be approached in a completely new way?
In the ideal world, fashion industry should learn from the finance industry in relation to graduate employability. The gap would be lesser if design students would have an opportunity to understand and experience the industry while at the university and just after. If universities would help understand and learn from the industry experts. And, finally, if knowledge and work would be rewarded with real money, not just name credits. Often, the reality is different from the expectations and that shouldn’t be the case.
One of our goals at Fashion Bloc is to make the fashion industry accessible to everyone, regardless of their budget, contacts and geographical location. That’s why we created DIY Fashion Agency membership subscription and have been hosting Fashion Business Course in London. The missing link is there and only through collaboration we can achieve successful employability rates and celebrate emerging fashion brands.