Lydia Petropoulou looks at the launch of Black Excellence Prize award, aiming to enhance visibility of Black excellence in the fashion industry.
The Graduate Fashion Foundation has announced its cooperation with Fashion Academics Creating Equality (FACE), to introduce the Black Excellence Prize award for all Black and Brown final year fashion students. For the first time in its 30-year history, the award is open to all fashion students, regardless of the institute they study in.
Students will be required to submit their final projects, together with a video or a written statement to support their work. Their projects will be judged by an industry-related panel in two rounds and the winner will be announced in the annual Graduate Fashion Week Awards, held in London from June 12-18.
The judging panel will include: the New Gen Prize-winning and LVMH Award Shortlisted Designer, Bianca Saunders; Creative Director and Cultural Curator Harris Elliott; and Andrew Ibi, Educator and Co-Founder of FACE. Ibi added: “Being a Black student in education continues to be a challenge, but being a Black student in Fashion 25 years ago was a different proposition altogether. GFW was an opportunity for me to communicate fashion through culture and push some very powerful Black narratives. Winning was a surprise – but the storytelling was undoubtedly some of the most powerful seen at GFW.”
The Director of Brand Partnerships at Graduate Fashion Foundation, Joy Campbell said: “The Graduate Fashion Foundation exists to elevate exceptional creative talent to the industry that they want to work in.” He emphasized the under-representation of Black and Brown individuals in the fashion industry and he claimed that this prize will be a step ahead towards a more equal treatment and acknowledgement of people from different backgrounds.
Bianca Saunders also commented on the importance of visibility and recognition of what Black and Brown students can achieve. As she admitted, when she was a student, she was determined not to let anything or anyone stop her from achieving her dream.
The Black Excellence Prize will be a great opportunity for students to show their skills and communicate their narratives to the experts in the fashion industry. This initiative might be the beginning of more multiculturalism in the fashion world.