Friday, 26 October 2012


The judging panel, chaired by Hilary Alexander (right)

Recently I had the pleasure of being a judge at the Young Designer competition at the Fast Fashion Tour London.

Chaired by the lovely fashion legend that is Hilary Alexander, my fellow judges and I were very impressed by the high standard of entries, which had been whittled down to five finalists, including Aduu Juma Masudi from the University of Derby, Heather Gerrick from the University of Central Lancashire, Matthew O’Brien from Liverpool John Moores, Diana Oancea from Coventry University and Emily Relton from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Each of the young designers had 15 minutes to present their collection, concept, vision and portfolio, with each of the recent graduates giving very professional and articulate presentations, making our judging job a tricky one.

The well deserved winner was Aduu Juma Masudi, who presented a menswear collection that was both conceptually strong, creative and crafted with impeccable precision, while also already having a recognisable signature and commercial appeal – therefore meeting all of the criteria us judges were looking for.

Aduu Juma Masudi

Having also impressed us with his futuristic and yet wearable collection of high tech fabrics and shapes inspired by architecture, we spontaneously decided to award Matthew O’Brien a special commendation, with his collection, reminiscent of the style of Hussein Chalayan, displaying a great deal of potential for the future. I’m sure this isn’t the last time we have heard from these designers.

I have to say though that the most positive aspect I went away with on the day, is that all of the talented finalists came from universities outside of London, which was not only refreshing, but also goes to show that the UK has got a strong pool of young talent out there, with other universities also playing a key role in shaping the future of fashion in the country.

London is undeniably the capital of fashion and its famous fashion colleges are deservedly in the spotlight – but it’s nice to see that there is so much more out there, too!

Emily Relton

Matthew O'Brien

Me with Heather Gerrick

Diana Oancea

Young Designer Finalists

Isabella Griffiths, editor, WWB

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