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Debenhams debuts graduate award, relaunches Designers at Debenhams

By Rachel Douglass


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Eleanor McMahon, winner of the first ‘Designers at Debenhams Catwalk to Commercial’ award. Credits: Debenhams.

British department store e-tailer Debenhams has unveiled the winner of its first ‘Designers at Debenhams Catwalk to Commercial’ award coinciding with the relaunch of its Designers at Debenhams programme.

During last week’s Graduate Fashion Week (GFW), Manchester Fashion Institute’s Eleanor McMahon was named the winner of the retailer’s debut competition.

With the accolade, McMahon will also be provided with a 12-month in-house contract at the retailer, where she will design and create a full collection scheduled to go on sale in 2025.

The line will come as part of the relaunch of Debenhams’ designer programme, which is being reintroduced this year in order to “honour the brand’s rich heritage while embracing contemporary collections”.

Eleanor McMahon's collection at Graduate Fashion Week. Credits: Debenhams.

The reintroduction of the initiative was described as a “significant milestone” for Debenhams, according to Dan Finley, CEO of the retailer.

In a release, Finley continued: “Debenhams was a pioneer in this space, writing the blueprint for many talent collaborations. Eleanor’s final collection aligns perfectly with the ethos of our business, and she will be a part of our Designers at Debenhams journey.”

As the first designer named to participate in the programme, McMahon had been selected during the four-day GFW by judges from Debenhams as well as a daily judging panel. Her collection “explores the notion of nature reclaiming space highlighting the impact of urbanisation on the environment”.

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