Battersea Park became a haven of budding new talent on the verge of venturing forth into the ‘Real Fashion World’. Four days of graduate shows, showcasing the labour of four years of hard work. With 19 colleges showing some 25 collections each, there was a lot to see, and unfortunately a lot to be missed.
All in all the week was a success; I am sure to the joy of this year’s new sponsors River Island. Having taken the title from Topshop many in the tent hinted towards the fact that it was better to have River Island because not only did they put up actual money but were more involved in the whole process. River Island does not hold a ‘designer’ section like Topshop does, however many suggested this was not really what customers care about anymore.
The main concern of Graduate Fashion Week and for the graduates themselves is where does it take them? Where can they go? Although GFW received a nice press turnout it was still relatively thin on the ground, not to mention the sheer cost colleges have to outlay for these shows. Do students really go on, or do they get stuck in limbo? According to various colleges including Northumbria and London College of Fashion some 80% do make it into employment so there is hope.
Why haven’t we heard of the next Galliano, McQueen or McCartney? Well mainly because designers go in as execs in already established houses such as Calvin Klein Louis Vuitton etc.
Was there a next “someone” in this GFW? Well no not really, there was however a definite leaning towards commercial appeal, which will undoubtedly benefit with placements, but we are back to the age old dilemma – can fashion be fashion if it’s commercial, or is real fashion about grand ideas? There was definitely no lack of superior cuts and imagination. Innovative ideas in knitwear and menswear were present throughout. Sadly however there was a distinct lack of Avant Garde, which can be seen to show lack of imagination.