Graduate Fashion Week 2018: The ones to watch

Located in East London’s trendy Truman Brewery, university graduates have been busy showcasing their final collections for Graduate Fashion Week.

Students from all over the UK attend this key event, networking with the fashion industries professionals. From footwear and accessories, through to textiles and materials, graduates offered an eclectic mix of innovation and creative flair.

Participating as a judge for the Clarks Footwear Award, I was able to observe this first-hand. Exciting new designers presented their research, idea development and final designs for the chance to win this prestigious award. The lucky winner receives a cool £5,000 and a 6 week placement in Clarks Street HQ.

I’ve selected my top three footwear graduates from the show. These talented designers are certainly set to inject some exciting directions for casual, formal and sports brands.


Charles Mein – Arts University Bournemouth

Charles’s clear and concise approach offered exciting functional footwear designs. His modular concept tapped into personalised trends, highlighting his ability to interpret future ideas. Charles’s prototype (made from paper) offered an insight into his creative design processes. A confident presenter, Charles understood the brief by incorporating and evolving Clarks Trigenic DNA.


Hallie Lonsdale – University of Northampton

Hallie’s sustainable approach captured and exposed fresh material concepts. Hallie experimented with new texture (crab) processes to create eco-friendly looks for both upper and outsole. Hallie’s ability to spot a trend, investigate and research (traveling to Tonga) and produce a sample, resulted in distinctive applications.


Elise Phoenix – De Montfort University

Elise’s attention to detail and beautiful illustrations demonstrated her ability to evolve concepts into prototypes. Elise’s researching and testing methods provided insightful development ideas, resulting in fresh women’s looks.

Embracing fresh talent is massively important in the fashion/footwear industry. For many graduates entering their first design job this can be a daunting experience. Clarks as well as many other brands, at the show, are encouraging and nurturing these new designers. Speaking with students and observing their work I have no doubts that they will make some positive impacts on the fashion industry.

Want more on youth? Make sure to download WGSN’s latest white paper, The Gen Z Equation, to find out more about new talent, and this up-and-coming demographic.

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