University student takes home top prize at Graduate Fashion Week

18 June 2021

Jasmin Bourne’s collection inspired by her British and Fijian heritage wows leading industry judges

University fashion student Jasmin Bourne has scooped the top catwalk prize at this year’s Graduate Fashion Week, an annual showcase of the country’s best and brightest young design talent.  

Bourne, a BA Fashion student at Manchester Fashion Institute, wowed judges with a collection inspired by her own British and Fijian heritage to take home the Christopher Bailey Collection of the Year Award.

The award is a stunning achievement for Bourne and the Fashion Institute, as it rewards the most outstanding graduate catwalk collection presented at Graduate Fashion Week 2021, selected from over 3500 of the country’s leading young designers by an expert industry panel. Her prize was presented during a livestreamed awards ceremony on Friday evening.

Bourne’s menswear garments explore the concept of ‘interwoven’, aiming to highlight how British culture is “far more diverse and interwoven that we realise” and to “encourage conversations about other people’s beautiful blended ancestral stories” to tackle stigma and hate towards race and cultural differences.

She said: “I’m just in shock, it’s such an unbelievable feeling to win this award. I’ve felt like such an underdog at times, especially on a course filled with so many talented friends, so this moment feels surreal.

“I absolutely would not be in this position without my tutors going above and beyond to mentor and guide me, particularly my personal tutor Sarah Easom who taught me that experimental mistakes are where the best outcomes come from.”

The Christopher Bailey Collection of the Year Award places the three most outstanding graduate catwalk collections from menswear, womenswear, mixed or gender neutral collections. Each must demonstrate exceptional creative ability in design, cut, craftsmanship, use of colour and fabric. It is named after the award’s first 1992 winner, who went onto become chief executive of Burberry.

Winning collection

Bourne used repurposed fabrics and recycled denim to ensure her collection had sustainability at its heart, hand painting and digitally printing onto unwanted materials and using zero waste pattern cutting techniques.

During design development she used only second hand research garments found on Ebay to inspire shape and silhouette.

The concepts were inspired by the photographer Urivaldo Lopes and a collection of artefacts Bourne brought back from a recent visit to Fiji, as well as research into Fijian culture and traditional practices, such as handcrafted textiles, basket weaving and tapa cloth which inspired her print and surface design.

On her plans for the future, Bourne said: “I just want to keep making more now. I have so much more that I want to learn about the industry. I would love to be part of a team who have sustainability at heart, as that’s important to me.”

Susan Atkin, Programme Leader for BA Fashion at Manchester Fashion Institute, Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “We are over the moon for Jasmin, she has produced a vibrant menswear collection that references her heritage in a considered, sustainable way. She has used her skills in print to great effect to make a collection that is highly relevant and desirable.

“Jasmin is a fantastic student. She is creative and diligent. She is proactive in all aspects of life at Manchester Metropolitan and is a great ambassador for the programme. We wish her every success for the future and this award will be an amazing springboard for her to embark on her life post-University.”

Graduate Fashion Week

Graduate Fashion Week showcases the work of over 3500 graduating students each year from 26 different fashion disciplines from the UK’s leading fashion schools. The week usually attracts thousands of guests across its catwalk shows, exhibitions, talks and masterclasses from leading names in the fashion and retail industry.

I absolutely would not be in this position without my tutors going above and beyond to mentor and guide me, particularly my personal tutor Sarah Easom who taught me that experimental mistakes are where the best outcomes come from.

The event attracts a wide array of top industry professionals, press and recruiters from UK and abroad who use the week to discover talent, as well as offer graduate employment and placement opportunities.

The week is responsible for launching the careers of some of the most successful designers of our time including Bailey, Stella McCartney, Giles Deacon, Matthew Williamson and Julien Macdonald.

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