Kingston University has beaten off competition from 26 other leading colleges to win a prestigious British Fashion Council Award. Undergraduate fashion course director Elinor Renfrew collected the Fashion Illustration award at the BFC’s Colleges Council Graduate Preview Day, along with fellow lecturer Andrew Ibi.
“Kingston has always had a very good reputation for illustration”, Mrs Renfrew said. “This award didn’t come out of the blue – it’s something we’ve been focusing on and putting in the building blocks for over the past few years.”
The colleges’ portfolios, which consisted of illustrations of the garments that will eventually make up the students’ final collections, were judged by a panel of senior industry executives, headed by chair of the British Fashion Council Colleges Council Anne Tyrrell. “Kingston University’s portfolio included very sensitive pencil drawings and the content was creative and innovative,” she said. “It showed a complete fashion package of design talent including textile swatches and knitwear swatches, which were very complimentary to the design work and showed graduates’ individuality and creativity.”
The judging panel also included representatives from Selfridges, website WGSN, Drapers magazine and London Fashion Week designer Todd Lynn. Vogue Italia, Elle Magazine, Marie Claire, Evening Standard, Max Mara, Matches, Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Browns, Topshop and Warehouse were among the media and industry guests who attended the prestigious awards ceremony.
Kingston University’s award marked the culmination of three years’ hard work for the students. “We all felt very proud,” said third year student Harriet de Roeper, whose work was included in the winning portfolio. “We’re all friends and we bounce ideas off each other and push each other. There’s always a lot of creative energy in the room.” Many of the drawings in the portfolio will form the basis of garments that will be exhibited at this year’s Kingston University Fashion Show, which is set to be one of the highlights of the Graduate Fashion Week programme on June 7.
The annual British Fashion Council Graduate Preview Day provides universities and colleges with the opportunity to showcase their graduating students’ work to industry professionals. It is now in its 16th year. “The Kingston students whose illustrations were included in the portfolio will find there’s a lot of interest in their work”, Mrs Renfrew predicted. “The great thing about this award though is that it’s for the whole of the Kingston University Fashion Department, not just one student.”
WGSN digital development director Lauretta Roberts said this year’s entries were of a higher standard than ever. “The way in which the work was presented was incredibly strong,” fellow judge Todd Lynn added.