Usually, at this time of year, it would be turn for our latest fashion graduates to shine, 2020 however, is turning out to be a year that is far from usual! All is not lost however, the Graduate Fashion Foundation has announced a new partnership/competition with TikTok to provide a platform to final year fashion students to showcase their talent as they embark on their careers in fashion and, of course, we are involved!
The partnership will task fashion students with designing TikTok’s first-ever range of merchandise that is fashionable, ethical and distinctly TikTok, with all entries set to be judged by an expert panel of judges including Graduate Fashion Foundation Ambassador – Henry Holland, Production Director of Fashion-Enter Caroline Ash and TikTok’s Cassandra Russell, Fashion and Retail Brand Partnerships for EU.
TikTok and Graduate Fashion Foundation have created the partnership in a bid to help fashion students whose prospects have been adversely affected by COVID-19. The pandemic has cast a shadow of uncertainty over fashion careers that have been years in the making, particularly those in graduating year groups, with fashion students heavily affected by the lack of access to studio space, high-specification equipment, technical services, as well as cancellations of year-end press shows and closures of graduate showrooms.
This partnership gives the Class of 2020 students from 38 GFF member universities in the UK the opportunity to enter their ideas to design and produce TikTok’s first-ever range of merchandise in Europe. Two students will be selected from each university to participate in a 5-day creative TikTok residency, held within Fashion-Enter’s professional factory environment in north London, giving a total of more than 70 students the opportunity to access practical industry experience and learn new skills.
They will learn about design for manufacturing, grading and realising designs into commercial patterns, production lines, quality control, as well as being mentored by some of today’s leading designers, GFF patrons and TikTok Creators.
Caroline Ash, Production Director at Fashion-Enter Ltd comments: “We are delighted to be working with Graduate Fashion Week & TikTok in our new Unit 4 Tailoring Academy and over the next two weeks we shall be working closely with the students on commercialisation of designs and understanding the principles of ethical production in the UK.”
Fashion-Enter is a not for profit, social enterprise that strives to be a centre of excellence for sampling, grading, production and for learning and development of skills within the fashion and textiles industry.
Accommodation will be provided by TikTok to all participating graduates along with a competition prize of £500 each. By the end of the residency, each designer will have produced four garments of their chosen winning design from their collection which will be produced for TikTok to gift to their Creator and VIP community. All graduates will be encouraged to document their design process on the platform, with relevant content curated in on the TikTokxGFF hashtag and profile.
Additionally, 20 top Fashion Marketing and Communications students will be given the opportunity to enter a competition to design the ethical packaging for the student collection. One student will be selected to design printed tissue, boxing and swing tags.
Ultimately, a five-piece commercial capsule collection will be created from selected student designs created during the residency which will go into a professionally manufactured collection for gifting to staff, partners and consumers across Europe.
The residency will run throughout July and will be in line with government recommendations as pertaining to Covid-19.
Hilary Alexander, President of Graduate Fashion Foundation said: “TikTok are making a hugely positive contribution not only to our graduating students but to our charity that supports the creative talent of tomorrow. As a brand that understands the importance of the creative journey, we are delighted that they will be allowing our students to experience manufacturing in this way and we know that they will walk away with experience that will not only be fun, but also put them in a stronger position as they enter the competitive job market.”
Cassandra Russell, Brand Partnerships, Fashion & Retail at TikTok added: “TikTok is a platform with creativity at its heart, so working with the Graduate Fashion Foundation to provide financial and educational opportunities for final year fashion students was a no-brainer. The need to overhaul brand merchandise is long overdue and we are excited to see what the most talented fashion students in the country can bring to TikTok’s first collection. Supporting the UK creative industries has never been more important and we believe the scale of our community and platform can open up new audiences for fashion students and give them a head start where it’s most needed.”
We will reveal more from this exciting project as it unfolds.