Success Stories from GFW

Set up in 1991 by Jeff Banks, Vanessa Denza and John Walford, Graduate Fashion Week showcases the work of more than 1,000 of the best students and graduates around the world, promoting new talent and bridging the gap between graduation and employment. Some of the most successful British designers showed their graduate collections at GFW, launching their careers and going on to becoming renowned in the industry.

Christopher Bailey


Winner of the first ever Graduate Fashion Week Gold Award, Yorkshire-born Christopher Bailey graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1994 and his career has gone onto unprecedented heights. Going straight on to work as Womenswear Designer at Donna Karan, he then moved to Gucci in 1996 and joined Burberry in 2001. Today, Bailey is still with the British heritage brand, taking up role of Chief Creative and CEO in 2014, and is well regarded for driving Burberry’s global success.

Matthew Williamson


Manchester-born Matthew Williamson graduated from Central Saint Martins in 1994, launching his eponymous label in 1997 with his critically acclaimed show ‘Electric Angels’. Well known for his use of print, embellishment, attention to detail and bold colours, Williamson’s designs encapsulate both glamour and bohemia. Today, he is one of the most celebrated British designers of our time and his label is often worn by the likes of Sienna Miller, Olivia Palermo and Poppy Delevingne. Shop Matthew Williamson at Coggles>>

Stella McCartney


Famous as much for her designs as she is for her parents, Stella McCartney graduated in 1995 from Central Saint Martins, with Naomi Campbell, Yasmin Le Bon and Kate Moss all modelling in her graduate show. In 1997 she was appointed Creative Director of Chloé and launched her own eponymous label in 2001. McCartney is well known for her signature style aesthetic; sharp tailoring, with an effortless nonchalance that not many other designers can pull off.

Giles Deacon


Graduating from Central Saint Martins in 1992, Giles Deacon gained experience at Bottega Veneta and Gucci before starting his own label in 2003 – GILES. His designs challenge the traditional notions of womenswear, creating glamorous pieces on a grand scale – structured pieces for women who like to make an entrance. Deacon has collaborated with the likes of Mulberry and Nine West and has won various awards, putting him firmly on the map as one of Britain’s best designers.

Words by Angharad Jones

Sarah Atkinson

Sarah Atkinson

Writer and expert