Graduate Fashion Week are very pleased to announce that renowned British footwear brand Clarks are partnering with the charity for the second year in a row, sponsoring: The Clarks Footwear Award.

With over 190 years of expertise, Clarks understand the importance of innovation and are true industry pioneers, having shaped the casual footwear industry since 1825. As a unique platform for new and original talent, Clarks are excited to be back on board for this the 27th Graduate Fashion Week taking place at The Truman Brewery, 3rd – 6th June 2018.

The Clarks Footwear Award builds on Clarks’ commitment to original creativity. The award asks for final year students to design an original footwear concept for Clarks, following a brief set by the brand. Students are invited to submit a design concept for a unique and innovative footwear proposition that pushes the boundaries of shoemaking to create the best possible environment for feet. The product may sit in any category; dress, casual or sport, men’s, women’s or kid’s, giving students the freedom to design for varying demographics and ages.

“The future has always been shaped by originals thinkers; people who are brave enough to try new things and who want to keep learning. It has been incredibly exciting to meet the next generation of creative talent through our partnership with GFW, and as the leading global casual footwear Brand, it’s amazing to have the opportunity to bring people like Megan, our winner from 2017, into the business and offer them the opportunity to start to realise their potential. We are thrilled to enter into the second year of the Clarks Footwear Award and are looking forward enormously to hearing the thoughts and ideas of our entrants in 2018.” Jason Beckley, Chief Brand Officer, Clarks.

The five finalists selected by Clarks will be invited to the Graduate Fashion Week Gala Awards Show, where the winner will be announced receiving a prize of £5,000, with an additional £1,000 going to the winning university. The winner will also receive a 6-week work placement with Clarks to develop their winning design, which will be unveiled at the GFW Houses of Parliament Event in November 2018.

The first winner of the 2017 Clarks Footwear Award Megan Davies, has gone on to continue working with Clarks as a Design Intern following her 6-week placement. Clarks said, “ It’s been amazing to work with Megan on her award winning concept and beyond. Over the past year we’ve been able to support her in gaining experience and confidence through working on meaningful, live projects. She has a great perspective on design and a fantastic attitude, both of which have impressed everyone who has come into contact with her at Clarks. It’s been a great start to our relationship with GFW and we’re delighted that Megan is now part of the Clarks team.”

As part of the partnership, Clarks will be present during Graduate Fashion Week hosting a series of inspiring interactive events and sessions  within the sponsorship floor. The space will be set-up for graduates to visit with their portfolios to obtain advice and discuss career opportunities with the Clarks team, as well as offering exciting “mini masterclasses” on the varied expressions of creativity at Clarks, and competitions for all attendees. Furthermore, Clarks will hold two masterclasses within the ‘GFW Live’ talk space including an overview of Modern Shoe-Making and a talk with last year’s winner of the paid placement, Megan Davies, on her first year in the industry and her experience with the brand.

“We are extremely happy to have Clarks return to sponsor GFW 2018 with their Footwear Award and work placement opportunity. We saw so many exciting and innovative entries last year and we are looking forward to see what graduates create for 2018.” Martyn Roberts, Creative& Managing Director of Graduate Fashion Week.

GFW is the world’s largest event for BA Fashion talent and will be taking place on the 3rd – 6th June 2018 at The Old Truman Brewery, Shoreditch, London.