On Friday 13 September, eight months of hard work culminated with twenty finalists showcasing their fashion designs at Victoria House, Bloomsbury, focusing on the theme of sustainability and our relationship with the natural world. Sponsored by Natwest and ASOS, the winners were chosen by a panel of senior designers and influencers from the fashion industry.
The initial programme, organised by educational charity FAD, ran from January until March and saw 70 young Londoners work closely with industry leaders to hone their skills in research and fashion fundamentals, developing a portfolio of work over the course of three months. From there, twenty finalists built upon their work to prepare garments for the final exhibition, commencing with London Fashion Week last Friday.
Maria Silva joined other City and Islington College finalists Ana Sofia Rodríguez Fajardo, Mariamawit Hailemichael Teshome, Alicia Vetrano and Joao Fernandes Silva in taking the brief to the next stage last weekend. Maria eventually went on to share first place with George Howie, 19.
Maria said: “My design is about sustainability 100% – that’s why I’m using scrap materials and hope to encourage people to use less and stop buying more, as the fashion industry is one of the worst contributors to pollution.
“FAD has helped so much with exploring my creativity and learning more about the technical side of fashion design. Their support is amazing.”
Staff at FAD described Maria’s entry as a “vibrant menswear outfit that took inspiration from the zero-waste movement, focusing on reusing and re-purposing materials so that nothing is sent to landfill.
“Her 1990s inspired ensemble incorporated thrifted denim garments and coloured yarn created from discarded t-shirts which were used for knitted panels and braided trims.”
FAD have run their Fashion Futures programme since 2005, “helping foster key professional skills” for young people looking to make it in the industry. City and Islington College has worked with the company for the last ten years, with students passing through the ranks to kickstart a career in fashion.