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Graduate Fashion Foundation launches Black Excellence Prize

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

7 Apr 2021


Graduate Fashion Foundation is evolving its partnership with Fashion Academics Creating Equality (FACE) to launch a new prize that will highlight Black excellence in the fashion industry.

The aim of the Black Excellence Prize is to amplifying Black creativity, explains the Graduate Fashion Foundation in a statement, while also inspiring all young Black and Brown creatives “to find belonging in a prize that recognises their unique contribution to style, culture, fashion and society”.

The award is open to all Black and Brown final year students in any BA fashion related course in the UK. For the first time in its 30-year history, this particular prize is open to all further education institutions and not just those that are members of the Graduate Fashion Foundation. Students will be able to nominate themselves by submitting their final projects alongside video or written statements in support of their work.

The winner will be announced at the annual Graduate Fashion Week Awards held on June 18, following two rounds of judging panels.

The award will be judged by an industry panel featuring NewGen prize-winning and LVMH Award shortlisted designer Bianca Saunders, creative director and cultural curator Harris Elliott and designer, educator and co-founder of FACE Andrew Ibi.

Graduate Fashion Foundation places spotlight on Black creatives with a new award for 2021

Joy Campbell, director of brand partnerships at Graduate Fashion Foundation, said in a statement: “The Graduate Fashion Foundation exists to elevate exceptional creative talent to the industry that they want to work in. For too long Black and Brown creatives have been under-represented in the fashion industry and this prize will be an important step forward in acknowledging and celebrating these creatives and we are proud to be here to help amplify the important work that FACE are doing.”

Andrew Ibi, award-winning alumni of GFW and co-founder of FACE, added: “Being a Black student in education continues to be a challenge but being a Black student in fashion 25 years ago was a different proposition altogether. GFW was an opportunity for me to communicate fashion through culture and push some very powerful Black narratives.”

Commenting on the importance of the award, designer Bianca Saunders, said: “Visibility is the key for Black and Brown students. To see people that are doing well and showing how high they can aim is important. As a student I was determined to break ceilings and not allow anything to stop me as I thought a younger version of me would be inspired to see someone in a position that is progressive for the industry! The Black Excellence prize is an amazing platform.”

Graduate Fashion Week is the world’s largest event for BA Fashion talent and this year’s event will take place from June 12-18 at Coal Drops Yard in London, with live stream content and catwalk shows live on www.graduatefashionweek.com.

Image: courtesy of Graduate Fashion Foundation - Evelyne Babin, UCA Epsom