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Student designs hit the catwalk at Graduate Fashion Week, London

29th May 2015

Northumbria University, Newcastle returns to Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) in London this weekend with final year students showcasing their stunning designs to the public, media and industry elite.  

Ncl Fashion Show - Victoria Barwood - Web 1 - 14 (1)As the University’s highly regarded Fashion department celebrates its sixth decade of producing outstanding graduates, 23 students from BA (Hons) Fashion Design will see their catwalk collections take to the runway alongside an exhibition of final projects from BA (Hons) Fashion Design & Marketing and Fashion Communication students.

Northumbria has an excellent reputation for producing stars of the future at Graduate Fashion Week, one of the world’s leading events for fashion graduates, which see the University’s talented students showcase their work alongside young designers from a host of other high-profile institutions.

Kristen Pickering, programme leader for Fashion at Northumbria, said: “Northumbria fashion graduates have become widely recognised by the industry for their talents and skills in creative communication, craftsmanship, design and manufacture - and most importantly individuality; a Northumbria trait.”

Ncl Fashion Show - Mc Kie - Web ShotOnes to watch on the catwalk this year include Annie McKie whose sustainable menswear line created from reclaimed tents has already featured in Vogue’s online round-up ahead of Graduate Fashion Week. Her collection focuses on form, fabric and workmanship, creating garments that are simple but have a powerful contemporary edge.  Influenced by boat sails and tents that inspired her at home on the west coast of Scotland, Annie included geometric structured shapes and placed an emphasis on durability and function.  As a designer she aims to eliminate fuss and create wearable, minimal designs.

Italian film director, Federico Fellini inspired Victoria Barwood’s womenswear collection which reflects the dark humorous moods Fellini created in his films and are strongly connected to the Circus and Catholic Church. The garments are playful and dramatic with serious undertones running through the colour board and fabric textures, reflecting the poverty and ‘rough and ready look’ of the travelling circus.

Another menswear collection which demonstrates the quality of craftsmanship at Northumbria appears in North East born Billie Toole’s collection, The Gentleman Crook, which combines her interest in knitwear and pattern cutting.  Billie and all the other collections on show were made in the excellent workshop facilities at the university.

Over at the exhibition stand Fashion Design and Marketing students will exhibit conceptually designed fashion products, trend prediction publications and promotional imagery.  Projects on show include final year student Caroline Spratt’s womenswear military themed contemporary collection, inspired by the WW1 centenary exhibition that showcased FD&M students design pieces in the world renowned textile gallery of Bowes Museum in County Durham.

The stand will also display work from students on the prestigious Fashion Communication course, where final year student Rosie Sparks will be showcasing her PR campaign for the House of Hackney x William Morris collection which has resulted in her being offered a job by the luxury British interiors, fashion and lifestyle brand.

A number of recent graduates are attracting industry attention with 2014 alumni Katrina Wagster announced as winner of the prestigious Absolute Mittelmoda Award for Most Creative Collection earlier this month in Vincenza for her 2014 menswear graduate collection and Victoria Irving, another graduate from last year has been shortlisted as one of five finalists for the ‘Designers of Tomorrow’ award which will be announced at Berlin’s Fashion Week in July.

The CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) also honoured eight Northumbria University fashion graduates from 2014 with a prestigious CFDA+ accolade each – one of the most illustrious awards in the fashion industry – following their hugely successful degree shows last summer.

As in previous years, world famous catwalk photographer and Newcastle born Chris Moore will be taking photos of the Graduate Fashion Week Catwalk Show.  Chris was given an honorary doctorate for outstanding creative talent from Northumbria in 2013 and met this year’s students to wish them luck ahead of their show in the North East earlier this month.  Behind the scenes, internationally renowned and respected show producer Miller Khavari will be producing Northumbria’s Catwalk Show.

The Northumbria Fashion Design Show will be on Sunday 31 May at 6.30pm at London Graduate Fashion Week at Truman Brewery. Fashion Communication and Fashion Design & Marketing work will also be on show at Stand G4.

In 2013, Northumbria University graduates, staff and students received a total of 80 national and international design and media awards, commendations and accolades.

Anyone wanting to find out more about how to launch their creative career at Northumbria can sign up for the University’s open days on 26 and 27 June by visiting

For more information on Northumbria University’s art and design degree shows, see 

Images courtesy of Richard Kenworthy

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