The Young Designer Award, established four years ago, provides a platform for young, emerging fashion designers across the UK to showcase their talent and presents finalists with the opportunity to present their five-piece collection on the FS catwalk, to an audience of thousands.
The applications opened in September 2013 and successful applicants were asked to produce sketches around the theme “Bright Young Things”. In true Project Runway fashion, the finalists had two months to create their collections.
The five finalists, which included womenswear designers Nicole Hurran, Louise Watson, and Lyndsay Hazlewood, and menswear designers Olivia Pezsynski and Jos Swinnerton, all boasted distinctive collections.
Watson’s collection, titled “Down the Rabbit Hole,” included an array of lingerie and corset pieces stemming from a pastel color palate. Lyndsay’s collection embodied a feminine spirit, with pieces adorned with intricate ruffles, yet expressed an edgier complexion with sharp neck lines and angled trim. Nicole Hurran’s daring anthology was trademarked by her choice of holographic fabrics and reflective textiles. Menswear designer Olivia Pezsynski embellished typical sportswear attire by juxtaposing tweeds against nylons to create articles that challenge yet complement each other.
At the awards ceremony, the finalists exhibited a quiet confidence in awaiting the reveal of the results. With each wildly impressive collection on display, I suffered from a visual overload as I examined the intricate detail with which each piece was assembled. Attendees patiently sipped champagne, whilst the judging panel’s votes were counted (including the public vote which welcomed over 2,250 votes) until Jos Swinnerton was presented as the winner of the 2014 Young Designer Award.
Hailing from the University of Derby, Swinnerton is in his final year studying BA (Hons) Fashion Studeis. Swinnerton’s collection was distinct and refined, embodying yet challenging the idea of the “modern gentleman.” His collection included ensembles marked by the timeless and ever-appeasing trench coat and chinos, made diacritic with a slight edge I can only describe as effortlessly rugged.
After the ceremony, finalists and guests of the show alike had the great fortune of seeing each designer’s collection paraded down the catwalk. Sarah Feeney, head of the Young Designer Award, said it was the highlight of her evening and “a very special moment to witness the culmination of months of hard work for each of these bright young designers.”
FS provides a springboard of paramount importance to young designers like Jos Swinnerton, who received £1000 pounds to further develop his collection and burgeoning fashion career.