In February 2018, the University of Westminster will become the first undergraduate course in the world to show their graduate collections on the official London Fashion Week Schedule.
Historically undergraduate fashion courses have shown their graduate collections in June each year, meaning students find themselves designing collections that are out of sync with the international fashion calendar; too late for A/W and too soon for S/S, these collections have fallen somewhere in between.
For the last year Course Director, Andrew Groves has led this radical rethink of how fashion education is delivered and have restructured the course to enable this innovation to take place. This development means that for the final two years of their study, Westminster students are working in complete synchronicity with the international fashion calendar.
Groves said “I have long believed that fashion education needed to align its teaching with the international fashion calendar to enable us to provide our students and graduates with the most realistic and industry-ready educational experience.
We saw this as an inevitable development allowing us to build on our world-class internship programme. After the second year of the BA Fashion Design course, our students work for two seasons with leading international fashion houses and designers, allowing them to experience first-hand two complete cycles of the fashion calendar.”
Students debuting their collections at LFW in February have already spent a year in industry working for companies including Maison Margiela, Haider Ackermann, Burberry, Lanvin, Alexander McQueen, Louis Vuitton, Craig Green, Balmain, Givenchy, Loewe, and Versus. Immediately after finishing working on the S/S2018 runway collections, they returned to university in September.
They then sourced fabrics for their collections from Premiere Vision, before commencing design development and sampling during the autumn term, making it possible for them to show their A/W 2018 collections in February at London Fashion Week.
Groves added “While I am sure there will be much focus and excitement on the fact our students are showing at LFW, what I believe is far more radical and exciting is that we have given them an educational structure aligned to industry to allow them to be fully prepared for their future careers in the industry.
Immediately after their runway debut in February, the students will commence working on their precollections for S/S 2019. For those that want to set up their own design businesses, this will also mean working with factories, supported by the course to allow them to make the transition from graduate to designer as easy as possible.”
Westminster alumni include London Fashion Week designers Roberta Einer, Claire Barrow, Katie Ann McGuigan, Liam Hodges and Ashley Williams; as well as Christopher Bailey, CEO and Chief Creative Officer of Burberry; Vivienne Westwood, and Stuart Vevers, Creative Director of Coach.