St Albans Fashion Week launch creative graduate initiative

Student designer Roxanna Behrouzi walks the catwalk with models wearing her creations - photo Craig

Student designer Roxanna Behrouzi walks the catwalk with models wearing her creations - photo Craig Shepheard - Credit: Archant

A new initiative has been launched as part of this year’s St Albans Fashion Week to recognise young designers and help the future stars of fashion’s runways reach their potential.

An Oaklands College collection piece - photo by Ethanie Jackson Turner

An Oaklands College collection piece - photo by Ethanie Jackson Turner - Credit: Archant

The Creative Next Generation will run from October 27 to November 2 alongside fashion week and has been created to provide a launch pad for fashion students and help them make it from college to the catwalk.

Fashion week organisers will be seeking out, supporting and showcasing fresh fashion and design talent and giving talented youngsters a platform to show what they can do and arm them with the tools to make it big.

Wannabe Vivienne Westwoods or Alexander McQueens can learn from fashion industry experts in a series of masterclasses, one of which will be taken by the University of Westminster’s revered department of fashion.

The University of Hertfordshire sponsored event will also offer shadowing and work experience opportunities, including a jewellery design challenge set by Galio Jewellers.

The city itself will come alive as a “living fashion show” during the stylish week, with shop windows and dedicated space throughout the city displaying exciting new collections by local students and young designers.

SAFW HQ on French Row will have a permanent exhibition throughout October, showcasing pieces from local schools, colleges and universities.

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Organiser and founder of the city’s fashion week Ellena Ophira said: “We want to do more for local young people and students by unearthing, supporting and showcasing the next generation of fashion talent in the area.

“Our aim is to build a fashion legacy in St Albans and raise the profile of local fashion students.”

SAFW is working with CNG event sponsors University of Hertfordshire, Oaklands College, North Herts College, West Herts College and three local schools, and hopes to see a repeat of last year’s event, when more than 100 students played their part in making the week a success.

Anyone in interested in getting work experience through the fashion week or to take part in the CNG events should apply online at:

Young Designer of the Year

This award has been created this year to recognise upcoming talent in the district and forms part of the St Albans Fashion & Beauty Awards awards.

Two winners, one in the under 18s category and one in the under 25s, will win £500 to develop and launch their collections, a customer business package and a trophy, to help kickstart their careers.

The winners will work with local creative experts to create a business package that’s right for them and will produce a brand logo, online portfolio, website, professionally styled photoshoot, digital look book, and a social media identity.

The competition is open to young designers in all areas of fashion design, including accessories, such as jewellery and millinery.

Winners will be announced at the St Albans Fashion & Beauty Awards in December with the winners from the other nine categories.

The deadline for entrants is November 2 and will be judged by experts from the UK’s top fashion colleges, members of the press and a very special VIP judge.

To take part, entrants can submit their design portfolio online

Cathedral Catwalk Show

Back for its second year, St Albans Cathedral will once again be transformed into a spectacular 30m catwalk on October 31 - the longest indoor catwalk in the UK.

This event recognises up and coming talent in and around St Albans with the second part of the show devoted entirely to collections by young designers and students.

One of the students who took part in SAFW 2013 received commissions on their pieces following the show proving it to be a great opportunity for budding designers to be discovered.

The deadline to feature in the show has now closed, with more than 50 applications received.

Fashion Business Masterclasses

Inspirational industry professionals will help students turn their passion into a business through a series of free workshops and masterclasses during SAFW.

The classes will be taught by experts from all sectors of the fashion industry, including photographers and buyers.

Fashion design masterclasses will be held by an experienced lecturer from University of Westminster, whose department of fashion has been a starting point for many well known designers, such as Christopher Bailey of Burberry, Stuart Vevers of Coach, and Katie Hillier of Marc by Marc Jacobs.

The University of Westminster will also tutor two workshops, the will be ‘Buying and Merchandising Explained’, which will detail the key roles that make a modern day retailer successful and offer advice on the skills and qualifications needed for a career in buying or merchandising.

The university’s second class – The Merchandising Function and the Customer – will look in detail at the world of merchandising and how it shapes the ranges we see on the shop floor.

Students will also learn how the buyer and merchandiser work together to match the customer profile.

Fashion photography students can find out how to get to the top of this profession in a masterclass taken by Ben Broomfield and Alastair Strong, who have worked with Prada, Jimmy Choo, Ralph Lauren and Burberry.

The masterclasses all take place on Tuesday 28 October at SAFW HQ, 19-21 French Row, AL3 5DZ.

Places are limited so students must book their places as soon as possible

Additional opportunities

SAFW presents great opportunities for all kinds of creative students and welcomes input from those studying photography, film and media, marketing and event management.

Film students are invited to work with the SAFW team to create digital elements for the Cathedral Catwalk Show, to be shown to an audience of 1,000 people, including fashion experts and journalists.

They can also document any of the catwalk shows, while photography students looking to gain experience in live fashion photography are invited to take photos during the build up to SAFW and at all three catwalk shows.

Being involved with the SAFW marketing campaign and organisation of the event are invaluable work experience opportunities for marketing and event management students, who will be able to see the effects of their work first hand.

A full listing of events is available in SAFW’s Little Pink Book of Events, a copy of which can be collected from SAFW HQ on French Row, which is open Mon – Sat, 10am – 5pm, or downloaded from the event website.

More than half of the Cathedral Catwalk Show tickets have been sold after they were available online last Friday, October 3. To get your hands on a ticket visit: