On Monday 22nd February, the penultimate day of London Fashion Week, seventeen talented finalists took over the Fashion Scout runway to showcase their work in the grand finale of the 2016 FAD Competition.
Industry experts, fashion-lovers, friends and family packed-out Freemasons’ Hall to watch the 34 looks as they graced the catwalk.
Sixteen UK universities were represented in the show, highlighting the best of the country’s up-and-coming creative talent. Over 100 entrants from across the UK had been shortlisted to just seventeen, and the winners were about to be announced.
First to be congratulated was Danielle O’Neill, who received a Special Mention from Jackie Annesley, Editor of the Sunday Times Style Magazine, for her innovative approach to knitwear. “I can’t believe it; I’m so overwhelmed, it’s been such an amazing experience,” Danielle said, still in shock.
Next were the runners-up, announced by jury panel members Julian Fuller, Head of Menswear design at Debenhams and Professor Clare Johnston, former Head of Textiles at the Royal College of Art.
“This one really stood out for me,” explained Julian Fuller as he handed over the runner-up prize to Alice Potts from Norwich University of the Arts. Alice’s designs were created using interlocked neoprene and origami paper silk, all with minimal stitching.
Chloe Jackson from Nottingham Trent University was also congratulated as a runner-up, for her designs inspired by her work at a summer camp in America. Chloe’s whimsical looks featured amazing attention to detail and she even created her own packaging and accessories.
“I’m really chuffed to be picked as a winner.” Chloe said. “Especially because I’ve shown at London Fashion Week and there are industry experts here; you don’t know what the future could hold, it’s such an exciting opportunity.”
Finally, it was time for the jury to announce the overall 2016 FAD Competition winner (drum roll please…) as Charlotte Rollings from Nottingham Trent University was awarded first prize!
“I’m so happy, shocked really. It’s been perfect to come here today and it’s a great opportunity to showcase my work. It’s inspired me for the future, to have those in industry say my work is good is an amazing feeling, it has given me so much confidence to just carry on and know that I’m on the right track,” Charlotte said, as audience members flocked to congratulate her.
‘Slow down. Find beauty in the ordinary; the marvellous in the mundane.’ This year’s brief encouraged entrants to step away from the Internet and to truly open their eyes to find inspiration in the everyday. In the ‘heads down’ generation it is easy to forget the wonder of the world around us, but the FAD finalists approached the challenge with huge amounts of enthusiasm.
“I’ve never shown garments on a catwalk before so it’s a dream come true to be showing at London Fashion Week” said finalist Hannah Bascombe (UCLAN), just before the show began. “I decided to enter the competition when I saw the brief, it really appealed to me that you didn’t have to go online to get inspiration, I found that idea really exciting.”
“Stepping away from Google was a massive thing for me, I started designing in a different way,”explains finalist Chloe Jackson.
The result was a huge variety of concepts, styles and techniques that kept viewers on the edge of their seats, as everything from pastel pink leather and Mickey Mouse hats, to garments created from boat sails strutted down the runway.
“I thought that all of the collections were amazing and it was really nice to see the diversity and the creativity,” said Gemma Metheringham, Creative Director at Karen Milllen.
Jury member Jackie Annesley echoed these thoughts: “We’ve seen fabulous suiting and great knitwear, there really was a great array of different expertise on show, it was very heartening. I feel really privileged to be on the panel, the competition has attracted an enormously high standard of entries and we’re really excited to unveil the winners.”
Whether prize-winners or not, each of this year’s finalists has achieved a huge feat, showcasing their work for the first time at London Fashion Week to a room jammed full of opportunity and influence. The huge array of talent on display showcased the best of the UK’s emerging designers and it’s safe to say, the future of fashion is safe in their hands.