“This means an incredible amount” – Brighton graduate wins fashion award

Fashion Design with Business Studies graduate Ella Hall has picked up the accessories prize at Graduate Fashion Foundation’s (GFF) 2020 Awards.

The socially distanced ceremony on Tuesday night (22 September) was streamed live from SamsungKX in London and brought to an end Graduate Fashion Week, which featured work from a number of new alumni from Brighton’s School of Art and coincided with London Fashion Week.

Ella Hall, who studied BA(Hons) Fashion  Design and Business Studies, won the Accessories Award, sponsored by YKK, which challenged applicants to bring a modern and directional approach to the category. The Class of 2020 were all affected by the coronavirus lockdown and the lack of access to studio spaces, and Ella was blown away by the accolade.

Ella said: “It means an incredible amount to me. Like many other fashion students this year I sat in my bedroom day and night putting my pieces together, sleeping (somewhat) and sewing, all in the same room.

“With all the uncertainty of the situation, I honestly wasn’t sure what the outcome. Never did I expect to be nominated for an award, let alone win it.

“Despite the difficulties, I’m so grateful to where it led me, and I just really want to thank my family for supporting in every way they could, my brother for his obsession with carp fishing, without it my collection wouldn’t have been what it was and of course, my tutors at the University of Brighton, for always guiding me to the best outcome, and supporting us however they could through digital means.”

GFF President Hilary Alexander OBE said: “We have been blown away by the innovation, resilience, creativity and determination displayed by the Class of 2020.”

“Not only have they completed their university careers by adapting to the current climate, but the incredibly high quality of the work produced has exceeded our expectations.

“We’ve been very impressed by the Class of 2020 and we’re excited to continue supporting them as they enter the industry.”

Speaking about Ella’s achievement, the university’s Fashion course leader Craig Higgins said: “We are extremely proud and pleased for Ella and congratulate her on this achievement. Her collection ideas included modular bag systems engineered into luxury woolen coats, a novel approach to garment and accessory integration.

“Going into lockdown in March at a critical point in the year, when the making of final pieces was about to start, this year’s graduates were without access to the usual specialist equipment. They really demonstrated their determination, resourcefulness and passion for their work, and were delighted to see that they continued to value the making process.

“Ella has continued to develop her ideas, and put the business aspects of the course to good use too, developing a more commercial range of bags which she is now selling online. The judges were very impressed by her commitment and drive.”

Follow Ella on Instagram.

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