GFW 2020 in Review

The Class of 2020 has proven to be the most adaptive cohort of recent years. Despite having the majority of their physical learning and tools removed, they have adjusted to online methods and drawn inspiration from the adversity that they have faced.

Likewise, Graduate Fashion Week has had to modify its presence, collaborations and sponsorships in order to present this array of talent to the industry. Logically, the Graduate Fashion Foundation paired with the SamsungKx store to present digital and physical work through QR codes, live streams, and showrooms.

BDA London visited this year’s home of GFW to take a look at the work of the class of 2020.

Located in Coal Drops Yard, the area itself highlights redevelopment and creativity, with the Samsung store showcasing the latest technological innovation. The store had a steady flow of visitors with arrows guiding the public around the store to view the designs on display. Mannequins positioned around the Samsung displays featured QR codes linking to the Arts Thread portfolio site, featuring more of the student's work.

Nearby the Samsung store the GFW Showroom showed a much more concise collection of works than previous years. Though the work on display was impressive, the setting lacked atmosphere and the personable quality of the ‘normal’ show format without the one-to-one communication with students and tutors. Networking, after all, is the main goal of the GFW experience. The set up lacked opportunities to open up conversations between the industry and the designers.

However, credit must go to the Graduate Fashion Foundation for reshaping its approach and collaborations to suit these unprecedented times through video campaigns, Tiktok competitions, catwalk and award live streams and the online showcase of BAME talents. It will be interesting to see how this year will impact Graduate Fashion Week moving forwards, given more time to prepare for and future-proof their events.