3 June, 2016

Inspiring young fashion design talent

Graduate Fashion Week is a charity organisation founded in 1991 that showcases the work of the very best students and graduates from influential universities around the world. 

Being held this year at the Old Truman Brewery in East London from Sunday 5th to Wednesday 8th June, this annual event represents the future of creative design talent – with 22 catwalk shows, exhibitions from over 40 universities and an acclaimed Gala Award Show. Traditionally, Graduate Fashion Week has attracted around 30,000 guests.

We’re delighted to play such a prestigious role in its 25th anniversary year. We are sponsoring the prestigious Womenswear award for the first time with the winning graduate receiving the handsome prize of £5,000 and the winner’s university £1,000.

As well as incredible design, Graduate Fashion Week is famous for its live talks given by notable figures from the creative and retail industries. This year, students, graduates and guests will be treated to the words of wisdom from a series of M&S speakers.

First up on Sunday 5th, Jo, Head of Buying, and Narinda, Design Lead, will be talking about how design and buying work together to deliver style. They will explain the process of getting a garment from sketch to shop floor – how the designer’s vision is carried through to the garment the customer sees in store, while quality, fit and commercial needs are met. 

On Tuesday 7th, designer Faye and buyer Hannah will take the floor. In April this year, we unveiled a unique collaboration with Alexa Chung, which saw her create a 31-piece collection reworking some of her favourite pieces from our history. Faye and Hannah played key roles in making the concept a reality and will tell the story behind the range.

Finally, on Wednesday 8th, Simon, Head of Innovation and Quality, steps up to the mic. As part of our involvement in helping to regenerate the once-thriving UK garment and fabric manufacturing industry, we launched our twice-yearly Best of British collection. Simon will talk about the technical challenges and the complexities involved in creating the collection.

One of the aims of Graduate Fashion Week is to build a stronghold for the creative industries – and who knows, some of the students and graduates displaying their designs could soon be forging a career at M&S. We’ve been turning heads in fashion since 1884 by staying in touch with what customers want to wear. But conceiving and creating our stand-out pieces is all down to talented people who have an intrinsic understanding of what it means to look good. And that’s why we’re always looking for the brightest and best of fashion graduates to join us.

Inside M&S