Graduate Fashion Week is a showcase of the work of over 1,000 of the best students and graduates from the most influential and inspiring universities around the world. Attracting 30,000 guests each June, the annual event features 22 catwalk shows, and exhibitions from over 40 universities alongside a packed schedule of live talks and workshops featuring leading names from the fashion industry.
Graduate Fashion Week was started after fashion designer and founder Jeff Banks received a letter from a lecturer pointing out that fashion graduates from outside the capital were not getting the same industry attention and opportunities as their London counterparts. And so, the acclaimed Gala Award Show brings together students from more than 40 universities from across the country (as well as 20 international ones), to network and showcase their work to industry.
After a whirlwind four days shooting at Graduate Fashion Week, we sit down with BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Marketing second-year student Victoria Hughes to chat about what it’s like to capture such a key date in the fashion world calendar.
Hi Victoria, so this was your second year photographing at Graduate Fashion Week, how did it go?
This time around my main focus was to think more creatively about the images I was capturing backstage. Having the experience from the first year gave me the opportunity to understand what it’s like to work in an industry environment. Both experiences have been a great way to develop my confidence and to push me out of my comfort zone. I advise if anyone gets the opportunity to do it then 100% go for it! If I were to shoot backstage again I’d love to experiment with different filters to create cool effects.
You captured the Graduate Fashion Week Collective Showcase from the photographers pit this year, what was it like shooting this catwalk show for the first time?
At first, I felt overwhelmed being in an environment that was mainly dominated by older men, but I soon found my feet and was able to network easily. Being in the film and photography pit with professionals also meant I was able to get advice and tips for the future shows. The fast-paced environment at Graduate Fashion Week meant I was always shooting, which is hard work but definitely worth it!
You're about to enter your third year of study - what are you most excited about? Any plans?
I’m really excited to head into my third year as I can focus on developing my practice as a fashion and beauty photographer and retoucher. In the summer, my plan will be to get in contact with other photographers and work alongside them, which I can continue into the third year. As for plans with my final major project, I haven’t exactly figured out what I’d like to focus on. Whatever I plan to do I’d love to end my university experience on a high with creating an exhibition.
You also photographed some of the shots for this year's fashion lookbook, can you tell us what it was like collaborating with the fashion students?
Collaborating with the fashion students was a great experience to really challenge me in working under pressure. Working with a reliable team of other students made the process go smoothly, we were able to complete everyone's shots in a very short time frame.
What would be your dream job when you graduate?
My dream job would be to eventually become a full-time fashion and beauty photographer and retoucher. I would still also love to shoot backstage and catwalk at fashion shows. There’s so much choice out there, I'd like to also have opportunities that enable me to travel for work.
I think some people have this glamorous vision of what it’s like to work in the fashion industry but in reality, it’s hard work and you have to be versatile and have a really strong mindset to get you through it. Having said that it is really exciting and I absolutely love photographing at such a large fashion showcase, the atmosphere is really electric and sweeps you along!
Follow Victoria on Instagram to see more of her fashion and beauty work: @victoriahughes.jpg