FAD (Fashion Awareness Direct) is a charity which aims to provide young people (from 13 – 25) with a realistic insight into what it means to work in fashion. Workshops, industry days and work placement opportunities, allow the young people to learn the important practical skills needed to succeed in what can be a difficult industry to get into.
Brining together industry professionals and young people in schools/sixth form colleges and universities, the FAD projects not only encourage creativity and an intelligent approach to design, they also help to develop students confidence, which is key to encouraging students who may not have previously considered fashion as a career.
I have worked with FAD for some time now and feel passionate that the fashion industry should be more inclusive. After all, some of the best and most successful Uk designers have come from diverse backgrounds and organisations like FAD not only actively encourage everyone to follow their dream, they also give them the tools to do it.
The FAD competition is open to all BA design students in the UK and this year I was one of the judges. The standard of the work was excellent and the students had worked very hard (on top of their uni work – the project is entirely voluntary) both on their design concepts and finished garments.
The overall winner Rhiannon Wakefield became the first menswear finalist to win the FAD Competition since it was established in 2001. With her intelligent approach she beat fifteen other talented students from universities nationwide with her winning collection, which translated Debussy’s emotive prelude La Cathédrale Engloutie through original prints and masculine silhouettes.
Two secondary prizes also went to menswear finalists, with a collaborative win for Fashion and Textiles students Nobuyuki Matsui & Moe Takahashi from the London College of Fashion and Benjamin Callery of Bath Spa University, for his highly wearable, fisherman inspired menswear.
With funding being cut for projects like FAD (the conservative government don’t take fashion or creative subjects seriously in schools) it’s important to support them, either through giving back as a volunteer, or offering work placements or sponsorship. If you are in fashion and think you can help, please do get in touch with FAD.