Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) has had an astounding year at Graduate Fashion Week, the world's leading event for fashion students and graduates.

Following a sell-out catwalk show on Sunday 4th June 2017, five of our students were selected for the closing ‘best of’ gala, winning six prizes on the night, including the Christopher Bailey Gold Award.

Halina North was the big winner of the night, winning both the Christopher Bailey Gold Award and the Hilary Alexander OBE Trailblazer Award, sponsored by Swarovski, for her Autumn/Winter 17/18 womenswear collection made from recycled paper and plastics.

Awarded to “an outstanding collection, which clearly demonstrates an exceptional ability in creativity, design, cut, craftsmanship, colour and fabric”, the Gold Award is the top award at Graduate Fashion Week and wins Halina £10,000, and ECA £2,000. It was presented by ECA alumnus, Holly Fulton.

Halina said “I am absolutely astonished to be announced as the winner. There were so many strong collections on show, so to be selected for the Gold Award is incredible. My designs mix sustainable textiles with high fashion, which is something I am keen to explore further. This award will be a huge boost to help me pursue this exciting area of fashion.”

The Hilary Alexander OBE Trailblazer Award is given "for a memorable collection that reflects the UK enthusiasm for the new, the fresh, the untried, an example of a great new unpublished fashion direction, that reflects what British Fashion is renowned for worldwide".

Womenswear and knitwear

The M&S Womenswear Award was given to Irene D’Antonio, last year’s winner of the Mackintosh Project Award at ECA. Irene wins £5,000 for her Spring/Summer 18 collection, with ECA given £1,000.

Ruth Williams was announced as the winner of the Visionary Knitwear Award, which is given to “an innovative knitwear collection showing an appropriate use of colour, texture, yarn and silhouette for the fashion statement being made”. She wins £1,000.

Photo of a fashion designer and models
Photograph: Qavi Reyez
Irene D'Antonio (second from right) with models and M&S' Queralt Ferrer (second from left)

"At ECA, we are passionate about encouraging students to express their individuality through their collections. I feel very privileged to work with such a creative group, and am thrilled that they have been recognised in this way."

Mal Burkinshaw, Programme Director, Fashion

Catwalk textiles

First place in the Catwalk Textiles Award went to Maddie Williams, whose Autumn/Winter 17/18 collection was recently featured by Vogue in a Graduate Fashion Week preview. Over the course of the week, Maddie has also been awarded second place in the Dame Vivienne Westwood Sustainable and Ethical Award, receiving a paid internship with the company.

Another Vogue preview choice, Frankie Dean, was awarded second place in the Catwalk Textiles Award. Like Maddie's collection, Frankie's was judged on its merits as “an innovative Print or Constructed textile collection showing an appropriate use of colour, texture and pattern in relation to the textiles and the garments”.

ECA at Graduate Fashion Week

Our Fashion - BA (Hons) programme is the only one of its kind in Scotland to show on the catwalk at Graduate Fashion Week (GFW), which attracts up to 30,000 guests to London each June.

We have a long history of showing in the gala catwalk show and of winning top GFW prizes, including a triple award win for Melissa Villevieille in 2015, and the Gold Award for Lauren Smith in 2013.

Last year, Lorn Jean won two awards at the 25th anniversary event, Fiona Cartmel won the Vivienne Westwood Ethical Award and Rhys McKenna was runner up in the Oracle Fashion Technology Award for his menswear collection. Both Lorn and Rhys have returned to ECA to do their MFA in Fashion.

This year’s GFW success follows two sell-out catwalk shows at the National Museum of Scotland, sponsored by Cazenove Capital and co-curated by the Edinburgh International Fashion Festival, and a host of other industry accolades, including a British Fashion Council Scholarship for Polly Thomas.

Photo of a fashion designer and models
Photograph: Rory James
Ruth Williams (third from left) winning the Visionary Knitwear Award
Photo of a fashion designer and models
Photograph: Rory James
Maddie Williams (centre) winning the Catwalk Textiles Award

Related areas of study