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Graduate Fashion Foundation returns to LFW

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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The Graduate Fashion Foundation is to present four emerging designers during London Fashion Week with its second season of its ‘GFW Presents’ stand within the British Fashion Council’s Positive Fashion exhibition from February 14–16.

GFW Presents, has been designed to help graduates launch their brand to a global audience, and will showcase the work of four Graduate Fashion Week 2019 alumni, who’s collections were part of the Best of GFW Top 28 Collection show - Yen Wong, Leo John Caligan, Sarah Thompson and Africa Hernandez Martinez.

Each designer will showcase their graduate catwalk collections and portfolios, plus by being present at the event themselves, the graduates will be able to benefit from the variety of key audience members who attend the trade event. One of the aims of the inactive is to give the graduates access to develop relationships with global retailers and publications and build their own network of future contacts.

Hilary Alexander, president of Graduate Fashion Week, said in a statement: “Graduate Fashion Foundation is excited to be able to showcase four new and exceptional GFW2019 collections in the Positive Fashion exhibition, which is to be one of the highlights at this season’s London Fashion Week.

“GFW Presents now in its second season is a marvellous opportunity to demonstrate the vital role of sustainability and considered design in UK fashion education and is a fantastic occasion for the Graduate Fashion Foundation charity to continue the work that we do supporting the future of the fashion industry.”

The GFW Presents...emerging graduate designer are:

Yen Wong, a graduate of Brighton University, is a womenswear designer originally from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Her womenswear practice draws inspiration from her love of craft, exploring elements and techniques from couture and tailoring, as well as her fascination of heritage and culture. Yen plays heavily with irony, using humour to playfully discuss matters of womanhood.

Leo John Caligan is a graduate of the School of Fashion at Manchester Metropolitan University, and his graduate fashion week collection offered alternative androgynous designs by exploring the westernisation and domestication of the Philippines through traditional crafts alongside modern hand-rendered textiles and graphic silhouettes. Creating unique prints and embroidery, Leo’s work has a heavy influence of his Filipino heritage combined with his upbringing as an Asian immigrant in UK.

Africa Hernandez Martinez, a graduate of University of Creative Arts Epsom, is a womenswear designer born and raised in Spain, who is interested in preserving traditional crafts and colourful customs as part of cultural heritage, as well as moving them forward into the modern world. With an interested in learning from other cultures, she wanted to share the pagan festivities and traditions of Spain with other communities through her work to embrace and experience ‘Otherness’.

Sarah Thompson, a graduate of Sheffield Hallam University, is a British designer who grew up in rural northeast and her collection explores the relationship the British farming community have with their clothing with a focus on practicality, durability, and the ability to mend. Her graduate collection features family remnant clothing, that Thompson has deconstructed, mended and reformed into new pieces.

The Graduate Fashion Foundation charity represents more than 90 UK international universities and helps thousands of graduates each year to secure employment and prepare for the industry. Outside of the annual exhibition in June, the charity aims to continue promoting graduate’s work and with that increase employment opportunities and enterprise, in UK and abroad.

Images: courtesy of the Graduate Fashion Foundation

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