This week Earls Court has been filled with the latest crop of fashion graduates as students from across the country showed off their collections at Graduate Fashion Week. And last night the week culminated in a final gala and the presentation of the much-coveted River Island Gold Award.
So which new designer is now firmly planted at the top of the fashion worlds one-to-watch list? Rebecca Thompson, a student from Manchester University School of Art, who wowed the judges with her polished, muted collection that featured oversized bows and ruffles alongside tailored trousers and chic shirt dresses. Rebecca was chosen by a panel of judges that included ELLE editor in chief Lorraine Candy, Alberta Ferretti and GQ Editor Dylan Jones, and bagged herself an impressive £20,000 for her hard work.
And she wasnt the only winner. Erin OConnor, Barbara Hulanicki, Nicola Roberts and even dance troupe Diversity were on hand to give out a whole host of awards. Rhea Fields of Northbrook College Swindon walked away with the Womenswear prize, Anna Lee of De Montfort University was awarded the Zandra Rhodes Textiles Award and Kitty Keay from Colchester School of Art won the Mulberry Accessories prize.
Talking about the tough job of picking winners from amongst the talented crop Lorraine Candy said This is the 3rd year I have judged the gold award and womenswear award and the students work just gets better and better. This year I saw a new maturity in the collections, more skilled pieces and less 'out there' designs. Women could actually wear a lot of the stuff I saw. And the students were very professional in their presentations.