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YKK® Accessories Award: Harriet Hooper, Leeds Arts University

By Partner


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Credits: Image courtesy of Graduate Fashion Week

In June 2023 Graduate Fashion Week returned to spotlight emerging fashion talent from graduate students. YKK®, a prominent supporter of the event, renewed its commitment to celebrate and nurture the creative aspirations of young designers.

Every year, the YKK® Accessories Award searches for innovation, creativity, and a modern directional approach to the accessories arena. The award always attracts strong and diverse talent, and the 2023 winner was Harriet Hooper, an exceptional fashion design graduate from Leeds Arts University.

Harriet Hooper's innovative and gender-inclusive menswear caught the eye of the judges, securing her the Award for 2023. With an emphasis on pushing boundaries and redefining conventional design norms, Harriet’s work aligns perfectly with YKK’s® vision of encouraging fresh perspectives in the fashion industry.

Credits: Rory James, Instagram @roryjamesphoto

In an interview with Harriet Hooper, YKK® delved into her thoughts on winning the award and her plans for the future. Reflecting on the significance of winning the YKK® Accessories Award, Harriet shared, “It's really nice being recognised by […] a whole team of people that are so well recognised in their own professions and it's nice having the award being sponsored and supported by such a big brand like YKK®.”

Harriet's winning collection stands as a testament to her remarkable creativity and unique perspective. Drawing inspiration from her personal experience living with bilateral vestibular hyperfunction, a condition impacting her balance and vision, Harriet's designs embody a hidden duality. She explained, “when you look at me, you're like, ‘oh, it's a very normal person walking about the place’... But inside my brain, there's a lot of things that go wrong… So, my whole collection is one thing looking like [one thing] but it being something else. [Therefore] in my collection I have a lot of transformational garments.”. Her pieces feature patterns that, upon closer inspection, reveal intricate details, such as an image of her brain.

Materials played a crucial role in bringing Harriet's vision to life. She ingeniously combined Hainsworth duffel wool, wax cotton, and her own hand-poured silicone to craft unique textures and movements in her designs. Her conscious choice of sustainable materials like wool and cotton, coupled with the integration of YKK® products, including concealed zippers, added functional elements that seamlessly blended with her visionary creations.

Credits: Isabella Forbes

Looking ahead, Harriet maintains an open-minded approach to her future endeavours. She is currently involved in preparations for London Fashion Week at HARRI. Her vision for the future remains anchored in the transformative aspect that has defined her work.

Harriet Hooper's triumph at the YKK® Accessories Award is not only a testament to her creative talent but also to the innovative spirit fostered by YKK® and Graduate Fashion Week. As emerging talents like Harriet continue to challenge norms and break barriers, YKK® remains committed to providing unwavering support to the designers of tomorrow.

Harriet Hooper’s winning collection will be available to view in the YKK® London Showroom window until mid-November 2023.

YKK Accessories Award