Graduate Fashion Week 2019: The Sustainable Designers of The Future
More young designers than ever were putting their focus on sustainability at this year's Graduate Fashion Week. Like every year, the projects on showcase were varied and unique, however, walking around the halls of the Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, it was clear that the awareness around sustainable fashion is now stronger than ever.
Many of the designers, creatives and artists showcasing their pieces at the event will go on to play central roles within the fashion industry of the future. So their stance on sustainability and ethics will no doubt be pivotal for sustainable fashion. As one attendee was overheard saying "The next Alexander McQueen could be in here". Encouragingly it was apparent that these 'next Alexander's' would almost certainly be putting sustainability at the heart of their designs.
Elliot Hanslip, from UCA, whose project focused on Weekday - a brand working towards greater sustainability - told us; "after one of my main projects focused on sustainability it's something that has stuck with me and I have definitely been more conscious about it. My work is all about finding gaps within a brand; finding where they are not reaching their potential and creating an innovative solution".
Elliot was not alone at the event either. Numerous other graduates and brands alike put sustainability at the forefront of their displays a positive sign for the future of our industry.
What is the Graduate Fashion Week?
The name pretty much speaks for itself; Graduate Fashion Week is a week packed with fashion revolving around graduate talents.
Besides being the second biggest fashion event taking place in London after London Fashion Week, this is also a golden opportunity for young creatives and graduate students to network with fellow creatives. The importance of networking is crucial to make their first steps in the fashion industry. But this is also a chance for the graduates to showcase their work to industry professionals.
From funky prints to old school designs, this year's Graduate Fashion Week didn't disappoint, and as the members of the public enjoyed the creations on display, the industry professionals' scrutinous eyes were all on the designers of the future.
Why is Graduate Fashion Week important for the future of fashion?
We asked some of the designers at Graduate Fashion Week about their relationship with sustainable fashion and what their opinion on fast fashion was.
As it turns out, the majority of them were already working ethically or sustainably; when asked about fast fashion, they held some strong opinions. Designer Amy Hesselworth told us, "When they [consumers] see a bargain in Primark they can’t ignore it. A lot of people can be hypocritical about it".
"Sustainability is being worked into projects in every way possible", Elliot Hanslip told us about his fellow students' projects.
And, while some consumers are still "bargain-driven", many companies have started investing more in sustainable and ethical values. Farfetch, for example, were there to promote their new ‘conscious edit’ called Positively Farfetch.
With an interactive display (pictured on the left), they asked visitors to choose the most important factor to them and add fabric strings to the display in the corresponding colour. The choices were: environmental impact, social impact, and animal welfare. Most people had chosen green, indicating that their main concern when shopping is for the environment.
What does this mean for the future?
What once was an event purely focused on networking has now become much more. The young designers on display made their voices heard, raising awareness on what matters to them; ethical and sustainable fashion.
As Elliot told us, "creatives are really putting sustainability first with their projects and now these creatives are entering the professional industry. Over time hopefully, sustainability loses its wow factor and just becomes something that everyone does".
There's no doubt these creatives will bring some fresh air to the fashion industry; we are certainly excited to see what the future holds.