Runaway success for ECA at Fashion Week

Fashion students at Edinburgh College of Art have achieved unprecedented success at one of the industry’s biggest events.

The graduating students won five of the top prizes at Graduate Fashion Week’s glittering awards gala, including best womenswear and best overall collection.

Top award

Halina North was the night’s big winner, as she won the top prize – the Christopher Bailey Gold Award – for her collection. She also won the Hilary Alexander Trailblazer Award, a newly introduced prize that celebrates innovation in fashion.  

North's womenswear collection seeks to create beauty from the everyday. She has used materials such as recycled paper and plastics to craft a series of sculptural dresses.

In winning the top award, North receives £10,000 to kick-start her career.

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 towards helping me pursue this exciting area of fashion.

Halina NorthECA Fashion student

Big wins

Irene D’Antonio received the Marks & Spencer Womenswear Prize for her collection that blends Italian tailoring with traditional Japanese clothing.

Maddie Williams took first place for the Catwalk Textiles Award. Her collection celebrates the female body, with handmade textiles that create exaggerated silhouettes. Frankie Dean took second place for her geometric designs.

The Visionary Knitwear award went to Ruth Williams, who created a minimalist collection using reused tents and giant rubber knitting.

Graduate Fashion Week

Graduate Fashion Week is the world’s leading event for fashion graduates. It has launched the careers of Stella McCartney, Julien Macdonald and Christopher Bailey.

Showcasing the work of more than 1,000 graduates from some of the most influential UK and international universities, Graduate Fashion Week is the biggest platform for upcoming creative design talent.

The awards were given presented at Graduate Fashion Week’s closing gala show, where the top 25 catwalk collections from the week were shown.

We are delighted to have had such unprecedented success at Graduate Fashion Week. It will offer students a step into the industry and we have seen a lot of interest in their work already. At Edinburgh College of Art, we are passionate about encouraging students to express their individuality through their collections. I feel very privileged to work with such a creative group of aspiring designers, and am thrilled that they have been recognised in this way.

Mal BurkinshawFashion Programme Director at Edinburgh College of Art

Related links

Fashion - BA (Hons)

Fashion - MFA/MA

Graduate Fashion Week

Social media image: © Rory James