YDA 2016: The Winner

Your votes have been counted. The judges final decision cast. We can reveal that the winner of the St. Andrews Fashion Show YDA Award is Elissa Grainger.

Her collection demonstrated immense imagination, utilising curtain lace dipped in latex to create a new material ‘latex lace’. The dichotomy between her delicate designs and a material usually associated with dominatrix, created a beautiful empowered femininity. Points have to be awarded to her for originality, creating what must be the first latex wedding dress to grace a catwalk.


On winning the award she explained: ‘It feels like such an accomplishment to have won the award. It’s been an amazing and rewarding experience to see the finished collection on the catwalk, receive feedback from the judging panel and advice on how to progress in the future. YDA has been a great platform for me to advance into launching my own lingerie line Elissa Poppy and has helped me to grow as a designer.’

Talking to the YDA runners up on judging day, it was clear how important the award was to them. However, it wasn’t winning the award that was important, but just taking part. One comment from Shoni Vaknin, captured how she felt YDA had given her the opportunity to prove to herself that she could be a designer. She referred to it as a second chance to make up for her graduating collection, which in the noise and clatter of design school she felt hadn’t been an expression of her best work. Each designer expressed a similar sentiment, telling tales of how they applied an hour before the deadline on a whim, working around the clock to complete the collections whilst still working at other jobs.


The collections this year were particularly hard to choose from, each demonstrating it’s own unique skill or viewpoint of the brief. Alistair McCallum, UK Communications Director for Fendi and one of the judges, reflected that ‘The quality of designs from this year’s YDA entrants was extraordinarily high. Choosing between them was challenging, not just because of the detail in the work but also due to the hugely differing interpretations of the theme. It was an excellent experience and a great opportunity to meet some talented and passionate young designers.’

Hopefully YDA has provide not only a springboard to the winning designer, but to all four. The talent of the designers was the highlight of FS this year, and I can’t wait to see what creativity the award uncovers next year.