Meet our 2018 Industry Panel, and hear about their experiences at Fashion Futures Presentation Day.
Daisy Boateng is International Brand Manager at L’Oréal, and spends her day to day job managing the development and marketing of new products at L’Oréal lipsticks – she took part in Fashion Futures in 2006 when she was in sixth form.
Ilen Rowe is Corporate Responsibility Manager at ASOS, responsible for managing partnerships with charitable and community organisations focused on supporting young people.
Joel Boyd participated in the FAD Fashion Futures competition back in 2009. After making it to the final 20 and showcasing his garment on the catwalk during Fashion Week, he is now Junior Stylist at Amazon, shooting clothes for various countries within the EU and runs his own menswear brand, Jobo.
Mahji Quadir is a Performance Consultant at Natwest and started working with FAD three years ago.
Mark Fisher has been in the fashion industry for 20 years, six and a half as a Senior Designer with ASOS
Nicola Bailey is Chair of the FAD Trustees, with wide experience in education and community support.
Nina Ehni is Senior Accessories Designer at Sophie Hulme, doing everything from mock-ups of new developments to solving problems related to specific design details. Her experience with FAD started back in Fashion Futures 2009.
Fashion Futures is ‘a unique platform to allow young kids to follow their dream,’ Mark says. It has been a breath of fresh air. So inspiring and grounding. The students are so dedicated and committed to getting the most out of this opportunity, and you can see how much it means to them. I feel very privileged to be able to help them explore their creativity and encourage them to take their next steps.’
‘Being on the panel has been fun but tough,’ says Joel. ‘Having been in the students’ position it’s been quite interesting seeing myself in several of the participants, knowing what they were thinking and going through’. Despite that, he was incredibly impressed by the work on display. ‘I was blown away with the level of work I saw,’ he continues. ‘I could see how much it meant to them, and that showed in their garments, research and development.
The experience of being on the panel also brought back memories for Nina. ‘It made me look at my own journey – it was strange walking into the room and being handed a clipboard. All I could think was, how can I possibly pick between students! The standard was very high and they all had a strong work ethic, and a strong interest in current affairs of the world.’
This season might not be Nicola’s first time on the panel, but it’s been just as enjoyable. ‘It’s lovely being on the panel. You jump right in to the end of the story and at that point, pick up the beginning of the story,’ she explains. ‘You get this fast-forward version of a very detailed piece of work given to you in literally five minutes. You see the finished product, you see their sketchbooks and you feel their enthusiasm and enjoyment for the course. It’s the best of everything!’
‘Being on the panel was brilliant,’ Illen says. ‘The thing that impressed me the most, and it’s something you don’t get to see very often, is young people talking about how they’ve been inspired in creating their garment and talking in very personal terms about how it made them feel. That authenticity was really impressive and our values at ASOS are around being authentic. FAD and what the young people demonstrated was exactly that.’
Mahji, alongside the other judges, was incredibly impressed by the work on display. ‘Everyone did a great job. It’s been superb in terms of the standard this year and it’s been phenomenal to see such diversity in the participants. Equally, there’s been a lot of reflection on how they can improve, what they can do differently and what they have learnt.’
Daisy agrees. ‘It is very impressive, and you can see the students really value the opportunity they’ve been given’ she continues. ‘FAD is a great organisation that teaches you invaluable skills for the next steps in your career.’
Nicola is constantly impressed by the way the students take to the task at hand. ‘You have a range of abilities and experiences that join the programme. Some come with limited or no pattern cutting or construction experience and really they’re just working from their heart to be creative,’ she continues. ‘They step into that and I’m so impressed because they don’t allow themselves to be daunted by the fact that other people can. They jump right in and pursue it to the end. It’s just the most incredible opportunity to explore themselves as much as it is about exploring design. They learn so much about themselves as they do the design process.’
‘I felt very positive about the next generation,’ concludes Ilen. ‘What was really encouraging was that there was a lot of talk about unisex products or modesty clothing. They designed very progressive garments and it was reassuring to see the next generation having that level of thought at such an early age.’
With such a broad spectrum of talent on display from the students, Mark explains what a tough time the panel had making a final decision. ‘The standard of work was very good, and it is testament to the team at FAD and all the volunteers who have given up their time. It was quite a challenge to pick the 20 who would continue to the next step. They should all be very proud of themselves and what they have achieved.’
‘I’m blown away by how much FAD do with such a small team,’ says Ilen. ‘They’re providing an amazing opportunity for young people, particularly at a time when creative subjects are not promoted in schools. It’s really important.’
Joel agrees: ‘FAD deserve a lot more credit. They are one of a small handful of charities that help mould the future of the future industry and really care about the work they do.’