Young Talent Given a Great Opportunity

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Fashion Designers’ & Craft Makers’ Network held the annual, innovative 2008 Young Designer Awards and Gala Showcase earlier this year. These exciting awards were established by knitwear designer Joanna Marcella with the aim to help raise profile of exceptionally gifted avant-garde young designers from multicultural backgrounds aged between 15 – 25 years, The brief this year is to produce an Avant-Garde outfit based on ‘Old Hollywood Glamour’.

The aim was to discover this year’s innovative, cutting edge ‘FDC young designers’ of the future. Families, friends, fashion lovers and the press alike gathered together at The Novotel London Hotel St. Pancras 100 Euston Road London NW1 for what was an impressive and exciting award ceremony.

They were also joined by a panel special guest Judges from the media and fashion world, who included: Des Cooke from Barnardo’s, (sponsor of the FDC Designer of the Year Award) Juanita Grey and Christie Dinham CEO of FashionHow International Designer Show (New York), Jennifer Williams-Baffoe, of Willbaforce Ltd, Lauretta Roberts Editor of Drapers Record, Gavin Douglas Award Winning UK Fashion Designer, Sue Foulston First year tutor across all the fashion pathways at Central St Martins College of Art and Design, Brenda Emmanus BBC Entertainment New presenter and Former presenter of the clothes show, Yvonne Thompson, CEO of (EFBWBO) European Federation of Black Women Business Owners.

This year’s entrants were certainly out to impress the judges and the standards were unbelievably high. In turn this made judging extremely challenging; nevertheless after much deliberation winners were finally selected from each category.

The awards was Split into two categories, the Young Designer Award was open to entrants from the ages of 15 – 20 and the Avant-Garde Award was open to entrants aged 21 – 25 this year.

Young Designer Award category

Avant-Garde Award 21 - 25: Flett BertramFirst place went to Catherine Mc Aleer aged only 19 she won the title Barnardo’s Designer of the year; she not only gave an excellent presentation to the panel of judges, her icon was Marilyn Monroe but also wowed them with her garment which was of exceptional standard for someone of her age. Her project was well researched from start to finish and she demonstrated great commitment to the project. This first place award was well and truly deserved.

Second place went to Samantha Lynch aged 18 whose inspiration came from Hollywood icon Lauren Bacall. Her garment was a great piece of work both close up and on the catwalk.

Avant-Garde Award 21 – 25 category

First place went to Flett Bertram aged 21 whose idea was influenced by Judy Garland this was a truly wonderful piece that captured the audience at the catwalk show.

Second place went to Lucy Jackson aged 22 who created a striking final piece which not only looked fantastic on the catwalk, but was made with high technical skill. Entitled ‘Lili of the lamplight’, her inspiration was drawn from icon Marlene Dietrich this was yet another remarkable piece that captured the audience.

A special FashionHow International Designer Award 2008 was presented by Christie Dinham CEO of FashionnHow and is also one of the founders of Caribbean Fashion Week in Jamaica. This year Lucy Jackson and 24 year old Jennivi Jordon are the talented designers who have won an opportunity to début their collection in Caribbean Fashion Week in Jamaica in June 2009. Fashionhow will also be inviting Lucy and jennivi to exhibit some of their work at New York Fashion Week in the FashionHow International Designer Show.

FashionHow International Designer Award 2008: Jennivi JordonChritie Dinham says “The Young Designer Awards is an excellent platform that gives young aspiring designers the opportunity to showcase their talent and an excellent vehicle that exposes these designers to an international arena. Our Companies FashionHow & Fashion Girls Production are extremely happy to continue to support The Young Designer Awards by sponsoring a designer to debut their collection at the International Designer Show.”

This design award is the only national awards in the UK that has given several young fashion designers, who are still studying for their fashion degrees, an opportunity to showcase in New York Fashion Week and Caribbean Fashion Week.

Designers get the opportunity to showcase to an audience of international Buyers, Fashion Editors, Press and Celebrities and work with a team of prominent fashion stylists, hair, make-up artists backstage, as well as, the same international models that walk the runway for the noted fashion houses such as Baby Phat, Calvin Klein, Donna Karen, Marc Jacobs, Luella Bartley and Tommy Hilfiger.

The founder of the awards Joanna Marcella has a vision to present an international platform for dynamic young designers who can find their niche as individuals and become a brand in their own right.

She says “I was amazed at how each of the 17 finalists embraced this year’s theme which was ‘Hollywood Glamour’. The Young designers this year exceeded all expectations and once again proved that very young designers have the potential to be top fashion leaders.”

Young Designer Award (2nd Place): Samantha LynchJoanna continues “Our designers have been catapulted straight from the Young Designer Awards right on to the international fashion stage.”

Award winners will receive mentoring and support accessing resources, such as, public relations, marketing, advice and general business support, as they choose their next step into the fashion industry, launch and build their new fashion companies. They will be given an opportunity to participate on a year long UK tour and showcase, which is a new exposure and awareness initiative, launched in line with our vision.

“I truly believe that we have to encourage our young designers as much as we can; after all they are our future industry shakers and makers.” Christie Dinham adds.

This year the Willbaforce Designer Award, a new award was added to the event this award was created to give business minded designers an opportunity to demonstrate their technical design skills and to express their creativity; whilst producing a commercial garment that could be sold on the high street. The winner received business support and development (worth £1000) and a prize of £200 to go towards personal development within the fashion industry from Consultant, Jennifer Williams-Baffoe. The winner of the Willbafoce Design Award was Rolana Redway.

Jennifer says “Overall the event highlights the importance of giving young people a voice to express their creativity and Willbaforce Ltd welcomed the opportunity to be involved this year and hence the reason for the Willbaforce award. We will be working with Joanna and her team to further develop the event and the award for the future.”

The FDC Young Designer Awards is set to thrive in the future as it moves into a new phase in its search for a European Young designer of the year.