This summer has been quite a spectacle for Scottish fashion. Edinburgh College of Art seems to be churning out some of the most promising designers of the future, with graduates Felix Chabluk Smith and Kyle Spires scooping 2 of the awards at Graduate Fashion Week, whilst University of Huddersfield graduate Campbell Dunn took home the award for Graduate of the Year at the Scottish Fashion Awards.
This year Graduate Fashion Week celebrated its 20th anniversary of recognising the new stars of British fashion. Chabluk Smith went home with one of the top 5 awards: the Menswear Award. His perfectly-executed classic collection showed stunning attention to detail and proved him a worthy winner of the prestigious award.
Spires was announced as the winner of the Karen Millen Portfolio Award. Karen Millen’s joint Managing and Creative Director, Gemma Metheringham, judged over 50 portfolios from the country’s leading art and design colleges and selected a shortlist of 3 candidates. Ms Metheringham commented: “I was extremely impressed with the amazing variety of skills and illustration styles on show, from textiles and knitwear, to hand drawn and computer generated imagery, there was an incredible level of skill on display. Selecting my final shortlist of 3 was an almost impossible task”. Ms Metheringham chose the portfolio she felt best-expressed a very strong ability to demonstrate trend predictions and express ideas creatively. On winning the prestigious award Spires said: “Winning this award validated my hard work and determination to succeed. It was truly an honour to be presented with this award.”
The Edinburgh College of Art’s success did not stop with the achievements of students. ECA won the Stand Design Award at the show. The judges said: “They have delivered a beautifully inviting and engaging stand. Cohesively designed and incredibly well thought through.”
ECA was also launched as Britain’s first educational centre devoted to the promotion of diverse body shape at Graduate Fashion Week. Fashion expert, broadcaster and commentator, Caryn Franklin chose Edinburgh College of Art as a centre of excellence to represent All Walks Beyond the Catwalk.
Caryn co-founded the high-profile campaign with model, Erin O’Connor and PR, Debra Bourne to encourage diversity in the fashion industry. Students in Fashion at Edinburgh College of Art will be the first in the UK to work with size 8-18 mannequins to encourage diversity in the fashion industry.
In response to the award announcements, Mal Burkinshaw, Head of Fashion at ECA said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted to see ECA go to the forefront of British fashion education. This brings the college huge esteem from the industry and the links that we are making now will have such a massive impact in the future. I am very proud of our students.’
Success for Scottish fashion didn’t stop there. The Scottish Fashion Awards named Campbell Dunn their Graduate of the Year 2011. Marks and Spencer sponsor the award, and offer the winner the chance to have their item made and sold in the Marks and Spencer ‘Limited Collection’. Although graduating as a menswear designer, Dunn’s prize-winning dress was perfectly tailored and very feminine, but also maintained his personal style.