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Graduate Fashion Foundation announces series of opportunities for university members

Tom Shearsmith
14 May 2020

Graduate Fashion Foundation has announced the launch of a new series of supportive activities and opportunities for UK and International member universities.

For the first time in 29 years Graduate Fashion Week, the world’s biggest display of BA fashion talent had to be cancelled in March due to COVID-19.

The GFF charity is determined that the work of GFW should not be lost and has been in regular consultation with the board of Trustees & universities to bring workable and exciting solutions for the 2020 graduating year group.

GFF have ensured all activities and events within the new plans deliver upon the charity’s mission statement and objectives across three key areas; Advice and Guidance, Bridging the Gap to Industry and Showcasing, Rewarding and Celebrating the Best.

The new series contains elements that will be delivered on both a fixed time scale, plus new industry & media event opportunities on a moveable Autumn schedule. The Autumn projects are flexible for social distancing restrictions and government guidelines and have currently been reserved for September, but can be delivered up to December when possible.

Hilary Alexander OBE, President of Graduate Fashion Foundation said: “I share with all universities and the Class of 2020, the disappointment that we are unable to run Graduate Fashion Week this year.

"I am thrilled with and excited by the innovative projects and platforms that have been devised to launch the creativity and skills of our graduates for the attention of the fashion world. Difficult times bring difficult challenges. However, necessity is the mother of invention - and we can and will rise to the challenges with the brilliant adaptability that has made our fashion industry the envy of the world.”

GFF Awards:
Addressing the factors that have affected manufacturing courses, the charity has taken the decision to remove the five catwalk awards this year. The original awards have been replaced with four new awards. Additionally, for the class of 2020 we have introduced the Adaptation Award to celebrate student’s resourcefulness and problem- solving skills during this unprecedented time.

The top ten student shortlists for each award will be announced on Wednesday 10th June, with final judging taking place in July, winners will be announced in the Autumn.

GFF Portfolio & Design Industry Showcase:
GFF will be taking over an event space in London this Autumn (flexible date) for a celebration of the 2020 graduates’ achievements and work. The industry focused event will feature all 38 UK members.

GFF aims to support the 318 design students who have lost out on the chance to finish their collections and showcase on the GFW catwalk with three new opportunities. Additionally, a professionally curated fashion Presentation will take place and the showcase will conclude with a GFF catwalk spectacular.

The events will see a broad range of industry attend from retailers, head-hunters, manufacturers as well as GFF supporters and partners

GFF Webinars:
GFF are to launch webinar series to deliver advice and guidance for up to 1000 final year students at a time. Speakers include Ex- Editor in Chief of British Vogue Alexandra Shulman, British Photographer Rankin, Fashion Director of Red Magazine Nicola Rose, Hair and Makeup Artists Ben Cooke and Mary Wilks.

GFF Portfolio Support:
GFF is partnering with the professional network The Dots to promote the work and profiles of the Class of 2020. Industry recruiters and media will be able to view all students work and scout talent upon the Graduate Fashion Foundation company profile and curated talent listings. The page will also direct industry through to personal profiles and additional work of students.

GFF will be sharing further information and links with industry to begin viewing the work on the 15th June 2020.

Acting Chair of Graduate Fashion Week, Douglas MacLennan, said: “Out of adversity, comes innovation. The Graduate Fashion Foundation rose to the unprecedented global challenge, by placing an emphasis on listening to the 2020 graduating student needs and those of our academic members."

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