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The class of 2011

All those showing at Graduate Fashion Week deserve top marks for their efforts.

As if fashion students didn’t have enough to contend with. Not only will tuition fees rise to £9,000 in 2012, but
the Government dealt them another blow last week, with reports suggesting it may not be able to fund the interest-free student loans, resulting almost certainly in fewer students going to university next year.

Perhaps it was because this year’s Graduate Fashion Week participants have escaped the financial problems of 2012 (not that they’ve had - or will have - an easy ride) but as soon as I entered the halls at Earl’s Court in London for this year’s exhibition, I was caught up in their energy and taken back to my university days.

They say people triumph in the face of adversity and the class of 2011 has clearly worked hard to deliver strong final collections. Interestingly, many graduates opted for the commercial route - notably the winner of the George Gold Award, Rory Langdon - knowing full well that the competition for paid employment is fierce.

But it is important to remember that many graduates are still unsure what career path they want to take once they leave university. Which is why the initiative from sponsor George at Asda to hold a ‘speed dating’ session during this year’s GFW, putting graduates face-to-face with George buyers, merchandisers, technicians and more, was a great one. Part of the excitement - and fear - are the choices available to you when you leave university.

Equally important is the freedom and life experience students are given at university. Yes, we all joke that they drink more than they study, but there is a lot to be said for living away from home and learning how to cope on your own. With fees set to rise, we must support students as best we can.

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