Saturday, 25 September 2010

LFW Diary SS11: F.A.D

Much like last season, one of the highlights of my LFW was the F.A.D show (organised by creative charity (Fashion Awareness Direct), a not-for-profit organisation supporting young people to bridge the gap between education and the fashion industry. Working tirelessly to educate young people in the community (typically aged between 16-19), F.A.D offer a series of fashion workshops to equip their members with the skills and knowledge to go on to pursue a career in fashion.

Monday night saw the catwalk show that was the culmination of and marks six years of the Fashion Futures 2 project, an initiative which has seen F.A.D. work with over 650 teenagers. Heavily supported by industry, this project gives professionals an opportunity to reach out to young people, volunteering their time and expertise through practical workshops and industry days, held on weekends during the summer holidays.

Originally selected from 130 young people, twenty-four teenagers from inner-city London and Manchester showcased garments that they designed and constructed in just five days - inspired by the V&A’s Medieval and Renaissance galleries – at Vauxhall Fashion Scout, awarding them a unique opportunity to showcase their work to press, friends and family during London Fashion Week.

Presented in a much simpler format this season, each of the twenty-four designers showcased one garment, with several developing their own take on the themes of new luxury and craftsmanship, creating eye-catching, modern and fashion-forward evening wear and even red carpet inspired dresses, complete with edgy detailing in an opulent colour palette of rich greys, regal purples and luscious greens.

With designer Zandra Rhodes and retailers M&S, River Island and John Lewis taking front row seats the atmosphere before the awards were announced was tense. In what proved to be the closest competition yet, in addition to the main prize, three runner-up awards were also announced by Lucy Jones, Director of Fashion Textiles at the University of East London – where the summer workshops are held.

A night of triumph for the boys, 18 year-old Andre Augusto (of Hampstead School, Camden) was presented with the Creative Pattern Cutting Award for his sculptural blue and black design.

*Award for Creative Pattern Cutting_Andre Augusto_Hampstead School, Camden
“I think it’s amazing that there is F.A.D. I have never heard of any other charity that does something like this, especially within the fashion industry. I think it really puts young people out there, I’m really happy that I’ve come this far.” – Andre Augusto.

*Award for Commercial Innovation_Karmen-Marie Parker_St Angela's & St. Bonaventure's 6th Form, Newham
In a heart-warming display of genuine surprise, a delighted Karmen-Marie Parker, 17 (of St. Angela’s & St. Bonaventure’s 6th Form, Newham) burst into tears on hearing she had won the Award for Commercial Innovation.

*Award for Research_Sarah Kilkenny_Ashton 6th Form College, Tameside
Sarah Kilkenny (of Ashton 6th Form College, Tameside) narrowly missed out on the top prize, coming in as the third runner-up of the evening, presented with the Research Award for her sophisticated sketchbook work and illustrations which saw her create a beautiful short burgundy gown, with a halter-neck rope detail strap.

*2010 F.A.D. Junior Award Winner_David Short, Lewisham College
For the main prize, David Short became the first boy in the history of the F.A.D Junior Awards to be crowned the overall winner. The stunned 17 year-old from Lewisham College took to the catwalk with his model to celebrate winning a coveted design placement with London-based designers, Religion. His emerald green dress won unanimous approval from this year’s industry jury, combining Medieval and Renaissance luxury with Mad Men inspired elegance.

*2010 F.A.D. Junior Awards_Adam Preece
Three other designers who I felt deserve a special mention are Adam Preece (of Tameside College, Tameside); who produced a simple grey shift with an oversized printed bib detail depicting Mary in the traditional setting of a stained-glass window (I think my favourite of the 24 garments).

*2010 F.A.D. Junior Awards_Sinead Cloonan
Sinead Cloonan (of City and Islington College, Islington); who created a triple tiered structured grey dress (reminiscent of a Roland Mouret design) with crystal shoulder embellishments and Naomi Dorton (of Lewisham College, Lewisham); who created a beautiful royal blue velvet halter-neck dress complete with a rope tassel belt.

*2010 F.A.D. Junior Awards_Naomi Dorton
*All images courtesy of F.A.D.

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