Last night, I attended the fifth Annual WIE Awards and Gala Dinner at Goldsmiths Hall and am delighted to have been given a WIE Award for Services to Education. I am honored to have been recognised alongside some of the industry’s most inspirational women, including Natalie Massenet and Charlotte Stockdale. The women who won awards last night are all working to push boundaries within their specialism. Whether it’s Jenny Holloway’s not for profit social enterprise giving new designers a foothold in the industry, or twenty-four year old Poppy Noor who campaigns to open up pathways to power and opportunities for a diverse range of young people, each woman has demonstrated the power we have within the creative industries to effect change and achieve transformative solutions to some of our more challenging social and environmental problems.
I am glad that by receiving this award the spotlight will be on the projects that I am passionate about and have been able to prioritise during my time as Head of London College of Fashion, UAL. The event also featured a catwalk show organized by the LDNY Foundation and, when June Sarpong first approached London College of Fashion to take part in this project, it quickly became clear how closely it reflected our own ethos of Better Lives – that fashion has the power to drive change, build a sustainable future and improve the way we live. Through this exclusive partnership with LDNY and Parsons New York, we have been extremely proud to partner with the UN Woman and Trade programme which has brought together our students with artisans from places such as Ethiopia and Mongolia.
Design by LDNY project winner Nayana Kodesia, BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Development, worn on the WIE catwalk. Photo by Hanna Puskarz, BA (Hons) Fashion Photography.
The students were briefed to design a collection which could go on to be sold – they had to consider range planning, design development which combined the best in contemporary design whilst showcasing artisan craft techniques. They also had to produce protoypes and think about branding. It really was a challenging brief which resulted in some beautiful collections that exemplify the best of new design and ethical manufacturing, whilst supporting some of the world’s poorest communities. I would like to congratulate all of our hugely talented students – as the future of the fashion industry I am proud that you take with you this experience and have seen first-hand how fashion can transform lives of women all over the world.