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The importance of Graduate Fashion Week: 'It gives designers, stylists, photographers a platform to be seen'


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Lucy Fletcher is our Music Editor, but she's first and foremost a fashion communications student. 

We asked her about Graduate Fashion Week, what she likes in the industry and for her tips for those exhibiting at this year's event. 

Can you tell me a little bit about what Graduate Fashion Week is?

Graduate Fashion Week happens around the start of June every year and is essentially a huge showcase of the best fashion work to come out of graduating students across UK universities. There's so much you can get out of it! It's a show, it's a competition, it's a networking event, it's a big celebration... fashion can be such a stressful, grueling course, but GFW basically signals the end of it!

What kind of work do you do?

I studied fashion communication, which focuses more on the creative business side of fashion: photography, marketing, graphic design, publication layout, photo editing, illustration, events management and so on.”

I've done a lot of different pieces of work this year - I created a concept to rebrand the sportswear section of The Kooples, I worked alongside Hiskind Magazine exploring LGBTQ+ youth through photography, created a photo essay on music fan stereotypes, and lots of smaller projects in between.

My life for the last few months has been completely dedicated to my final major project, where I set up a (currently hypothetical) creative agency providing identity branding for bands. I worked alongside two live clients: Orla Gartland and The Feens, creating promotional photography, laser cutting vinyl sleeves, designing and printing fanzines, drawing up logos and more! This concept actually got nominated for the Fashion Marketing award at Graduate Fashion Week but didn't make the final shortlist.

What made you want to go into the fashion industry in the first place?

When I started the course, I hadn't actually done anything to do with fashion. My A-Levels were graphic design, media studies, and English. I was so convinced for so long I was always going to be a graphic designer, but when I came across the course I felt sold - it promised not only graphic design but photography, illustration and business-y things like PR and marketing. It seemed the perfect course for someone creative, and it just came under the umbrella of fashion.

Whilst I've been at uni, music has been something that's always come through in my work - from an entire project dedicated to my past teenage obsession with Demi Lovato, to this current agency concept. It's still clear to me that music is my main love. Fashion is amazing because it covers so much - I've made this project about music, one of my friends made a documentary book about Doncaster, another created a coffee table book reflecting on Section 28. There's been a huge range of projects this year: a special edition of The Big Issue, an illustrative magazine making fun out of being an 'almost adult', a casting agency publication and concept and so many more! It's great because fashion isn't very limiting at all - there's a lot of room for freedom.

What are you most excited for during this week?

I'm excited to go around the stands and look at other people's work, as well as see our design students do their fashion show! I'm also excited to try and meet as many new people as possible and try and put myself out there.

Why do you think it’s such an important event?

It's definitely an important event, not only because it gives people something exciting to work toward, but also it's an incredible networking opportunity and gives designers, stylists, photographers etc. a platform to be seen.

What’s the most important thing you learned in preparation for Graduate Fashion Week?

Don't rush! Literally today I suddenly decided to get my portfolio reprinted, and have ended up paying over £60 for something I'm not actually 100% happy with. Taking your time to make things perfect is important - and people definitely prefer quality over quantity (something I've always struggled to get my head around the whole time I've been at uni - I used to do five to six shoots per project while everybody else would do one or two).

Graduate Fashion Week 2018 is taking place at the Old Truman Brewery between 3rd and 6th June.

The National Student will be reporting from the event daily - see all our coverage here.

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