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This year FAD marked its 10th anniversary by introducing fifteen finalists during London Fashion Week. The brief; ‘to escape from the everyday into a place of wonder and distraction’. Entrants had to conjure a mini collection of two designs that would be coherent to the given theme of ‘escapism’ with the winner receiving £2000 and an industry placement at a top fashion company. Two runner-ups would also receive £1000 and a placement.
Milly Jackson, 24, winner of this year’s prestigious award was touted as a favourite from the get-go. Inspired by the characters in Yann Martel’s novel ‘ Life of Pi’, her collection featured wondrously exaggerated silhouettes in chunky felt, brushed silk and velvet. Looking shy and reserved as she collected the top prize of £2000, the Nottingham Trent student was presented with her placement by Whistles CEO, Jane Shepardson who described the show as ‘the most exciting she had seen this week’.
First runner-up was another strong debut for womenswear, as Laura Carew-Gibson, 22, from DeMonfort University introduced sunset hues to the catwalk. Fringing was ubiquitous throughout with sheepskin and mohair mix jackets and palm tree chinos inspired by the culture and landscape of 80’s LA. Laura collected her £1000 prize along with a placement with former FAD finalist, David Koma.
Annie Vallis, 22, snagged the second runner-up award and a menswear placement at Jaeger. She opened the show with cool, graphic menswear. The student from Nottingham Trent University created printed cape shirts with innovative rucksack inserts. Hues of russet and stone were manipulated between ‘otherworldly’ prints inspired by Jean Painlevé’s nature documentaries. The second garment showcased a beautifully cut, sheer belted parka, buckled and utilitarian. It was a perfect showcase of menswear ingenuity.
FAD Best of the Rest
Elsewhere, talent came from all over the UK. Emily Booker, a student from Bath Spa University focused on woven prints in layered shapes. Textile and yarn textures in hues of tangerine and copper were teamed with cute crochet bobble hats. Ashleigh Downer from London College of Fashion draped outwear with nylon skirting, soft suede and electric fluro hues of fuchsia and orange making for a look-at-me collection.
Pop art innovation came from Emma Clifton at Edinburgh College of Art. Silhouettes came in drip-drop shapes in bright crayon shades of sunshine yellow and cobalt blue. There was a wonderful scallop-edged skirt featured beneath a fire engine red ink blot top. It was nice to see a collection full of all the frivolity of fashion.
Kerri Goulden from the University of Salford showcased marl jersey knits with circular Perspex appliqué. Draped marl jodhpurs in hues of black and sand were brandished with a graphic cosmic logo. Edinburgh College of Art student, Qi Zhang, created deco print leggings beneath cute Peter Pan collar shifts in duck egg blue and nude. Lucy Johnson of University of East London created an Autumnal menswear collection, pairing oversized chunky knitwear in earthy tones with speckled ruched wool and leather leaf embellished scarves.
Rachael Brooks and Rachel Capper, from the University of Brighton and Manchester Metropolitan respectively, conjured up knife collared pleating. Brooks designed a wonderful jumpsuit with hand pulled embroidery details and billowing chiffon blouses. Whilst Capper used checkerboard prints and cape blouses as a cubist motion towards distorted modernity. Kay Wilcox of Huddersfield University infused leather and nylon in bodysuits with a geometric leather cape. A dress came brandished with metallic hip embellishments adding a futuristic twist on eveningwear.
Print was also prominent at Ester Ndongala at the University of Salford who created zip cape jackets and monochrome oversized ruching. Thames Valley student Shabana Mohamed created beautiful parachute gowns in painterly chiffon in exploding watercolour burst. And finally, Joanna Louise Mandle of Manchester Metropolitan dared to add taxidermy undertones into her collection with fun tusk headdresses and an African gold speckled blouse.
FAD is important to the growing fashion industry and this was evident with hundreds of entries from 36 colleges around the UK. It has been a platform for a whole host of prominent British design talent, not least of which former FAD contestant David Koma, who has skyrocketed into the fashion stratosphere.
The 2011 FAD Competition was a showcase of incredible creativity, with FAD providing a wonderful opportunity to help young people to connect with the fashion industry and to gain valuable experience for their adult careers.
Fashion Awareness Direct (FAD) is a registered educational charity (Charity number 1112095)