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Graduate Fashion Week announces Tu as Headline Partner

Tom Shearsmith
17 May 2021

Graduate Fashion Foundation has announced it will once again be partnering with Sainsbury's Tu for the sixth year running, this year as Headline Partner for Graduate Fashion Week 2021.

Building on the success of the Tu Scholarship prize over the past five years, the 2021 partnership sees the launch of the Tu Challenge 2021, asking GFF UK member universities to think big and create a product under any fashion category, with sustainability at its heart.

The Tu team are looking for innovative new ways to create collections and product with key considerations in bio-based product, bio-degradability, circular lifestyle and traceability.

The challenge will see two winning graduates each receive a £5,000 prize and the opportunity to be guided by the in-house teams, gaining invaluable insight into the fashion industry from buying, to design, to see their winning ideas come to life.

Judging of 10 shortlisted innovations will take place on 4 June with an industry panel from Tu including Samantha Barrows (Innovation Manger for Clothing & Home), Toni Salters-Warner (Women’s Design Manager), Debra Martin (Clothing Technical Manager) and Hannah Mallett (Women’s Essentials Buying Manager).

The winners will be announced during the livestreamed Graduate Fashion Week Awards show at 8pm on Friday 18 June 2021.

Joy Campbell, Director of Brand Partnerships at Graduate Fashion Foundation said: “Once again, Graduate Fashion Week is set to be an incredible showcase for some of the world’s best fashion graduates. We are delighted to partner with Tu for another year as Headline Partner and are excited for 2021’s Tu Challenge 21 opportunity. Tu truly understand the importance of nurturing young talent and watching them grow at such a pivotal point of their career, it’s for this reason our partnerships are always so successful.”

Emma Benjafield, Head of Product of Tu Clothing at Sainsbury’s added: “We’re passionate about celebrating innovation and creativity and are thrilled to be the headline partner for Graduate Fashion Week for the 6th year running. With the past year proving even more challenging for new graduates than ever before, there has never been a better time to mentor and showcase a diverse range of young talent. We are so excited for 2021’s Tu Challenge and we look forward to seeing the entries.”


As part of the continued partnership, Tu will be also present during Graduate Fashion Week with a retrospective exhibition of past award winners, Tu graduate fashion collections and new campaigns, alongside a Tu panel talk being live streamed from Samsung KX.

Furthermore this May, Tu joins the Graduate Fashion Foundation Webinar series with four exclusive webinars for the students and graduates of member universities:

These include:

  • 6 May 2pm - Technical, fabric & Sustainability
  • 13 May 2pm – Innovation & Print
  • 20 May 2pm – Buying
  • 27 May 2pm – Design & Portfolio Advice

Graduate Fashion Week is due to celebrate its 30th anniversary at a new home at Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross, London.

Taking place between 12-18 June 2021, Graduate Fashion Week will use the location and venues to create digital live streamed content and host hybrid events to showcase the work of upcoming creative talents from UK & International universities.

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