Graduate Fashion Week 2012 opened its doors on Sunday to rapturous applause. Bigger, bolder, better. Polished, accomplished and professional. This event really has come of age.
And it's not only the event but the students too. Taking an hour to wander about the stands before a day's judging we were in awe of the presentations being made by the colleges and by the students themselves. It was clear to see that the skills of branding/marketing and merchandising had all been taught and learned quite quite brilliantly. That there was an implicit understanding that just superb design and craftsmanship were no longer enough.
The huge, potentially cavernous venue of Earls Court felt full of vibrancy, colour and energy and the sponsors, George, added extra fun and verve (not to mention their very palpable and genuine passion for the designers of tomorrow). There were designated areas for bloggers, for sponsors, for press and even a very welcome Recruiter's Lounge complete with a stunning range of portfolios.
The catwalk shows were on time and equally impressive in their slickness and stage presence. Many of those we saw could have been equally at home at Vauxhall Fashion Scout or Somerset House. Moreover many of those catwalk collections could have walked straight off stage and onto the rails of some delicious little boutiques the world over. THAT'S how professional these graduates are. THAT'S how seriously they are taking their future careers.
With one more day to go there are already a number of very strong contenders for the Â£20000 Gold Award. Here are just a few of our own favourites so far:
In our view the class of 2012 look ready to design and conquer and to continue the tradition of our graduates being world class, world leading and world beating.