Fashion Design, News

Backstage at London’s Graduate Fashion Week

by Jason Johns
BA (Hons) Fashion Design Lecturer
Earlier this month, a group of our final year BA (Hons) Fashion Design students headed down to London, to feature their collections on the Graduate Fashion Week catwalk. Lecturer, Jason Johns, worked backstage with students and technicians to organise models and complete final fittings for the prestigious show. Take a look at his round-up of the backstage frenzy in the build-up to the runway…

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Graduate Fashion Week selection

Another year, another Graduate Fashion Week in London. Preparation starts much earlier in the academic year to select who should exhibit, fortunately to assist this procedure this year we had the added bonus of carrying out a catwalk show at The Custard Factory in Birmingham in March for all final year Fashion Design students.
With location resolved, organising and booking models, organising assistance from first and second year students and organising of staff, a successful Birmingham catwalk show happened. The show was a great insight for the selection panel and also gave all of us an idea of the chaos that we face in June for Graduate Fashion Week.

The morning of the show

GFW morning

Toile reviews completed, final fittings completed, styling and music all in hand. Now to move 24 student’s collections, steamers, irons, sewing machines all to Brick Lane. Then there is all of the helpers and staff to get there too….all for 08.00am.
_GBP0571Journey goes well, we all get backstage and start creating the working area, placing outfits onto the assigned models rail. All sounds organised, and we have organised it well, each garment box assigned to a model, but now backstage, now with the models, now the fun begins.

Organising the models

Models get dressed in each of the student’s collections, dressers learning from the design student how it’s all assembled, what not to do, what they must do. Discussions on the line-up order, then we change our mind!! Different model, swapping of outfits, assessment of hem lengths, all now agreed, models undress, garments disappear to the so patient and hardworking technicians…..NEXT collection, and so the repeat process occurs.
Frantic note taking occurs with the backstage team, to ensure the right collection happens at the right time in the right order with the right look!

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Rehearsals and last minute prep

We now have the collections organised and all the models rehearse on the catwalk itself, told how to walk, where to walk, where to stand, when to leave.
In a good place now, time for a quick break, unfortunately no break for the technicians, hard at it finishing the hems, reviewing fit, steaming and pressing.

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Models off for hair and make-up, dressers finishing off tidying and preparation.
15 minutes to go, and the models are back, first outfits are now on…..

The show

_GBP0455Music starts, lights up, nerves hit the dressers, and so 45 minutes of frantic organised chaos begins. Finally 24 student’s collections totalling 144 outfit’s get changed backstage, with no room for error, and come out to an amazing audience seated watching the finale of days, months and years’ worth of a fashion design students’ work and the team that make it all come together.

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Watch the full show:
https://youtu.be/Fvmrh_YK7YU
And so we celebrate a fantastic show at this year’s Graduate Fashion Week…until next year!

Find out more about BA (Hons) Fashion Design
Read more Fashion Design posts.

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