Graduate Fashion Week is to create 25 year-long paid internships for the winners of next season’s event, and is appealing to retailers to get involved.
Mothercare chief executive Mark Newton-Jones, who chairs GFW, told Drapers he wants to move the charity beyond its current, week-long exhibition and catwalk show format.
Alongside the internships, he is hoping GFW will overshoot its funding targets for 2016 so it can provide bursaries for talented secondary school students who cannot afford to do a fashion course at university.
Speaking at an event to mark GFW’s 25th anniversary, Newton-Jones said he had received an “overwhelmingly positive” reaction from retailers to his plans.
He added: “Graduate Fashion Week is not just an event; it’s the start of the world of work for students. It’s not about one aspect of the market; fashion is across the board from the value end of the market to the high street, right through to luxury.”
During GFW, which usually takes place at the beginning of June, 11,000 students from 40 UK and 11 international universities present their collections. Four hundred students produce catwalk shows and a group of 50 judges from all aspects of the fashion industry pick 25 winners.
Last week it was announced that Burberry chief executive Christopher Bailey - the first winner of GFW - will be the charity’s first patron.