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Applying to Graduate Fashion Week Fashion Illustration Award 2025? Here's what you should know:

Blog by London based Fashion Illustrator Elyse Blackshaw

Graduate Fashion Week Judges
Graduate Fashion Week judging panel for the Fashion Illustration Award 2024 - Sue Dray, Elyse Blackshaw and Samuel Harrison during interview

First of all, congratulations to all graduates who entered their work to be considered for the Graduate Fashion Week Fashion Illustration Award! Only 12 could be shortlisted, and only one could win!

Special congratulations to our 2024 winner Holly Evans from Arts University Bournemouth!

And our runner up Sarah Zechner of University of Derby!

Well done to all our shortlist graduates - Interview settings are always nerve racking and it takes courage to show up and put your work out there to be judged.

Next year - could it be you?

If you are a fashion student considering submitting to the Graduate Fashion Week Fashion Illustration award in 2025, here is an insight into what the judges are looking for during your interview.

  1. First of all, remember that we are judging one thing only and that is fashion illustration. Whilst we love to hear about your overall projects, interact with samples and hear concepts, we can only judge your fashion illustrations.

  2. With this in mind, make sure you are showing us that you have a drawing practice. We want to see sketchbooks, doodles, experiments, life-drawings. Anything illustrative that supports your final year fashion project.

  3. We go crazy for real life drawings. Show us your digital work, we love this too, but think about how we can interact with them physically. If you have the original drawings that you then used to scan and edit, bring those originals!

  4. Experiment and refine - show us. How did you come up with your final line up? What influenced you? What techniques did you try out?

  5. Demonstrate that fashion illustration was integral to your project, and not just an after thought.

What is my opinion on tracing and templates...

Whilst tracing and templates are a great starting point for ideas and inspiration, they can take away from the authenticity of your illustrations.

Here are is my advice when it comes to this:

  1. If you used templates or traced photos, and we ask you, just be honest.

  2. Use them, but then adapt and develop. Make them your own.

  3. Look at contemporary fashion illustrators. We are a long way from runway models with hands on their hips. How can you take the stereotypical template and modernise it?

What I love to see...

What stands out to myself as a judge is when the graduate designer is inclusive and diverse in their line up illustrations. Body shapes, genders, skin tones, disabilities. I love to see a consideration for representation. This also extends to poses and facial expressions. Utilise illustration to really communicate who you wearer is and how they exist in your world.

I hope this is helpful and I hope to see you next year!

Next up - Why do I engage in social impact projects?


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