Guest post – Graduate Fashion Week

Posted in Fashion, Writing.

A few weeks ago, I got my grubby mitts on a pair of tickets for Graduate Fashion Week. Naturally, I started planning my outfit, practising my fashion chatter and daydreaming of all the fabulous clothes I was sure to see. Unfortunately, due to a busy work schedule and ridiculous train fares (sort it out National Rail – London is not the epicentre on the Universe, and nor is it the gateway to Heaven. Stop charging me so much to get there) I was unable to get my stylish self down to London. So I gave the tickets to my good friend Ellie of Pretty Much Penniless and here’s what she got up to…

When Jen emailed me last week, asking if I would like to attend Graduate Fashion Week as her plus one, I went a little weak at the knees. Not only would I get to look at lots of innovative, beautiful clothing but I would also get to meet up with one of my favourite bloggers – what was there to think about?! Then train tragedy struck- the curse of the last minute fare. Ridiculous train prices made it impossible for Jen to get to London. We were both absolutely gutted. But Jen, being the generous and lovely girl that she is, offered to send me both tickets by special delivery on one condition- that I report back and write a guest post here at A Little Bird Told Me! Pretty sweet deal right? Yes, I thought so too.

In their own words, Graduate Fashion Week ‘stages a static exhibition showcasing the work of some 50 universities across 52 courses, and approximately 22 university fashion shows. The prestigious Gala Show and Awards presentation takes place on the penultimate night.’ The aim of GFW is to promote and support today’s ‘young, creative innovators’ so that they can have a positive effect on the future of the UK’s creative industries and economy.

The whole exhibition is housed at Earls Court 2 and I’ll start by saying this place is huge. Imagine the Ideal Home Show, but instead of cleaning products and furniture there was fashion. Lots and lots of fashion.


I gave the other ticket to my friend Amy who writes for Wolf Whistle – she’s about to graduate from the London College of Fashion, so this exhibit was definitely her thing.

Each university had its own booth and they could showcase their students’ work any way they wished. Some were fantastical, with florescent dresses and elaborate, lust-worthy capes suspended from the ceiling while others were minimal, with only a couple most show stopping pieces on display.

Of course, I had my favourites.

Harriet Holling

Harriet Holling, graduate of The University of Westminster, talked us through her beautifully illustrated portfolio full of ethereal, tie-dyed pieces- a hippy ‘hazy dream’ as she puts it in the Westminster graduate magazine.

She explained how she was influenced by Woodstock and Shakespearian dream sequences, evident in her watercolour-stained lawn dresses and neatly pleated sheer fabrics.

Photo taken from here


Westminster really stood out for me. Flicking through their catalogue and reading that some of the graduates have completed work placements at the likes of Chanel, Vivienne Westwood, Ashish and Topshop didn’t surprise me. The magazine they have produced collating all of the students work is something I will keep alongside my Dazed & Confuseds and Vogues. The photo shoots looked nothing but professional and their students were all brilliant, accomplished illustrators- I want to cut the pretty ones out and stick them on my wall!

Vanessa Brownlie

From the University of the West of England (i.e. Bristol) Vanessa Brownlie has produced a collection of ‘distorted, spontaneous, contoured’ pieces but which are infinitely more wearable than those words might indicate. Her illustrations look like the contour maps of Britain with the curved lines showing us valleys and slopes, but on her dresses they built shoulder volume and flared layers around the hips.


Images taken from here

Amie Price

If I were to childishly put them all in order of my favourites, Liverpool’s John Moores School of Art & Design would be second. We were presented with some of the friendliest students and another excellent graduate fashion catalogue to take home and browse. Whilst we were both gushing over all the clothes on show, Amy started talking to some of the course tutor’s who kindly offered us tickets to their degree fashion show! Sadly, I had work commitments so couldn’t attend but I’m sure it was brilliant.

Inspired by an artist named Henry Darger (coincidently one of my favourite artists), Amie Price uses her own illustrations and drawings to screen-print her work. Intricate but distorted bears, birds, hedgehogs and wolves all make an appearance alongside beautiful velvet devore. I could see her clothes appearing on the racks in Topshop or Urban Outfitters as one of those limited collections that sell out in record time!



Above photos taken by Amy of Wolf Whistle

There were so many more graduates I adored and so many items I would love to have in my wardrobe, but alas, it had to come to an end.

For me, it confirmed that the UK’s reputation for producing some of fashion’s most cutting-edge talent is still firmly in place. My feet ached, but I left feeling uplifted, inspired and quite proud actually.


E is for Eleanor

Jen it really is such a honour to be able to write on behalf of ALBTM. We will meet soon though damnit, I demand it! Haha.

You are such a doll! 😀


After reading this I’m inclined to agree with your choice of Westminister, but maybe thats because of your opinion, anyway, it all looks fantastic, I would simply be weak at the knees if I had the opportunity to attend as well. Thanks for sharing 🙂

Anna Jane

Very well worded and carefully researched article – thank you! It’s a shame you couldn’t attend but still, it’s nice to hear all the information behind it.
I’ve never been to graduate week, neither do I know much about it, but I am intrigued now! Kind of makes me wish I’d studied fashion now 🙁

– Anna Jane xxx


Great guest post!

Woo hoo to the JMU gang. I would adore a hedgehog print anything but I doubt she designs for my size or budget!


Ahhh, train fares do really suck.

This was great to read. Looks like she did have a fantastic time. I’m definitely loving all that fashion. I love the Amie Price ones!


I’m so glad to hear you were impressed by Westminster’s collection. My alma mater, it makes me happy to hear they’re doing good things! 😀


Awww such a pity you didn’t able to make it! I’ve heard London has bits of everything, would love to visit that city one day 🙂


I think Ellie’s great – it’s so nice of you to just give the tickets away! I really hear you about the train fares though – ridiculous!


amazing works! its really great to see new talents coming up and above..who knows? one of these names might be one the top notch fashion houses in the matter of years!
great post!


Just goes to show what a lovely person you are Jen.

Ellie, you look like you had a fab time and some of the illustrations are amazingly beautiful, works of art in there own right.

X xx


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