On 19th September, Cleopatra Thompson from Catford will have the opportunity to present her design on the London Fashion Week catwalk, thanks to the Fashion Futures project run by charity FAD and sponsors George at Asda and Natwest.
The 2016 Fashion Futures Final will take place at Fashion Scout, at the Freemason’s Hall in Covent Garden. The total 21 finalists, aged 16-19 years old, are the youngest designers to showcase at London Fashion Week and were shortlisted from over 100 teenagers who took part in FAD workshops earlier this year. Drawing inspiration from their brief ‘Fusion’, the young designers combined London streetwear with Indian sub-continental style.
To be selected for the Fashion Futures Final, the teenagers undertook ten weeks of practical workshops with FAD before presenting their finished toiles and portfolios to a panel of industry experts. The selected finalists then spent five days with FAD mentors at the University of East London creating their garments for the London catwalk.
Cleopatra Thompson had this to say: “FAD Fashion Futures has really helped me with my career exploration. I applied because I wanted to get a further insight into what the fashion and textiles industry is really like and to improve my skills so I’d feel ready for university. It’s been an amazing experience, and getting to show at London Fashion Week makes all the hard work worth it!”
Ahead of the Fashion Futures Final the 21 designs will be judged by a panel of industry experts including May Martin, lecturer and former presenter of BBC2’s Great British Sewing Bee, Khairunisa Suhail & Lorraine McNee, Designers at George at Asda and Mahjabin Quadir from the Natwest Skills and Opportunities fund. They will be tasked with choosing one winner and three runners-up, the results of which will be announced at the main event later this month.
The Fashion Futures project aims to combat elitism within the industry, as 92% of jobs in the creative economy are filled by people from privileged socio-economic backgrounds. Alongside the Fashion Futures show, FAD have also been running a #21Designers21Stories campaign, with an individual blog post for each finalist posted every day in the lead up to the main event.
As a direct result of participating in Fashion Futures, over 80% of teenagers have progressed to higher education. Past Fashion Futures finalists include LCM designer Grace Wales-Bonner (2008) and Phillip Luu (2010) and Yasemin Cakli (2011), both ranked in i-D’s ‘Top 10 Fashion Grads to Watch’ for 2016. Other participants have followed their creative path to secure roles in design, buying and PR with big fashion names such as River Island, Debenhams and Surgery PR.
The 2016 Fashion Futures Final will take place at Fashion Scout at the Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden on Monday 19th September.