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Northumbria fashion students return triumphant from graduate fashion week

5th June 2015

Final year students from Northumbria University celebrated sixty years of fashion in style with more than 20 award nominations at Graduate Fashion Week 2015 in London.

The Northumbria University Fashion stand included exhibitions from students on the BA (Hons) Fashion Communication, BA (Hons) Fashion Marketing and Design, and BA (Hons) Fashion Design courses.  All three courses had students shortlisted for awards at the four day showcase, which is widely regarded as the world’s leading event for fashion graduates, with many more offered job opportunities during the week. 

GFW - Catwalking - Annie Mc Kie Designs Portrait - WebA total of 23 student collections from the (BA) Hons Fashion Design course, which this year  celebrates its 60th anniversary, took to the Catwalk on the second day of the show for a glittering display produced by Miller Khavari and with photography by ‘ The Catwalk King’ and Northumbria honorary graduate Chris Moore.

On the final day, the best collections from the Catwalk show were held backstage as judges chose the Best of GFW with Northumbria student Abigail Panton’s rude boy inspired menswear collection selected to be part of the prestigious finale show.

When asked about her experience at GFW, Abigail said: “I am overwhelmed to have been placed alongside the best and I know I have developed a great set of skills which are valued in the industry.  I’m proud of my collection which took a lot of determination to see through to the end.  The support and encouragement from Northumbria’s fashion tutors and technicians has been amazing, they never say no and are always ambitious on our behalf.  We’ve turned our ideas into real garments and I’ve learnt to harness my creativity when I need to.”

A number of Fashion Communication students were also shortlisted for awards, with Kiera Muers and Emma Burke announced as runners-up in the Fashion Marketing Award and Fashion New Media Award categories. Angel Dimmick’s magazine was highly commended in the Drapers Fashion Publication Award and Isabella Lombardini was shortlisted in both the Fashion Photography and Fashion Styling and Art Direction category.

Industry figures who met students at the show included Design Director at Boohoo, Caroline Evans, who interviewed Fashion Design and Marketing student Caroline Spratt and Fashion Design student Olivia Pink on their collections shortlisted for the Boohoo Innovation Award on the second day of the show.

Fashion Design student Selina Lunn came in second place for the Portfolio Award sponsored by Karen Millen which led to an invitation to interview for a position at the brand.

Kristen Pickering, programme leader of Fashion at Northumbria University, said: “We’ve had a great week, visitors to the stand have commented on the quality of manufacturing which is appreciated as our students do make all their garments in University. For the first time, we have an online portfolio accessible on the stand to view student portfolios and it has proved very successful. Moving on from this event, students will be able to use this to support their promotion for employment and beyond.”

She added: “We’re thrilled Abigail was nominated for a Gold Award.  It’s a real honour for her collection to be selected out of the 400 plus Catwalk collections shown this week, her work featured along with 24 others in the ‘Best in Show’ and ‘Gala’ on Tuesday evening to industry and press. The judges noted catwalk impact and consistent creativity across her menswear collection. We’re all very proud.

“Graduate Fashion Week is a celebration of talent but it is mainly about graduate promotion,” Kristen said. “The event this year had 30.000 visitors, mostly potential employers. We are very hopeful our Fashion graduates will be successful in gaining employment as a result, we have a strong cohort of students across the three programmes.”

A number of recent graduates have recently attracted 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.

Northumbria’s fashion graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of global brands such as Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Abercrombie & Fitch, Givenchy and many more.

To find out more about Northumbria’s Fashion courses, visit or sign up for one of its open days on 26 and 27 June by visiting

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