“FAD” is shorthand for ‘Fashion Awareness Direct,’ a registered charity since 2005; although it was successfully managed as a company from 1997. Its ethos focuses on making ‘the person central to design, promoting respect to the wearer and integrating art and culture into fashion’. I think this is a fabulous way of amalgamating fashion and oneself – allowing inner confidence as you wear the outfit, with the pieces representing you as an individual. To produce these designs FAD run a variety of professional fashion workshops, for ages 13 – 25, as well as inspirational industry days and even high profile catwalk events. These are split into five main schemes: the Fairtrade Fashion Club, Fashion Futures 1, Fashion Futures 2, FAD Competition and FAD volunteering.
Every year FAD put on a competition, with the winner getting to show at Vauxhall Fashion Scout as part of London Fashion Week – an amazing achievement! 2009’s winner was Ana Belen Merono, a fashion student from Nottingham Trent University. The brief for the year was ‘Urban Holographic,’ with a suggestion of working on ideas around ‘Retrofuturism’ and ‘space tourism’. Candidates were invited to create ‘fashionable uniforms for galactic hosts/hostesses,’ a very original project I think. Ana’s designs were two outfits, as with all the finalists. One of which featured a structured jacket incorporating an ‘Op-Art’ design, and the other combining a ‘cosmic cloud’ dress with ‘armour’ style layers. Her creations earned her a unanimous vote, with the prize including £2,000 and a work placement with well-respected designer Paul Costelloe – who was also a judge on the panel.
Runners up focused on shapes and patterns based on the solar system, as well as ‘space suit’ ideas. The FAD Frontline is the panel of judges that votes on the designs, and it always consists of leading industry personalities – last year it included the editor of Vogue.com, the Director of Vauxhall Fashion Scout, and designer William Tempest. Throughout FAD students have gained experience in the industry, and have also had their work displayed in exhibitions and even on live catwalks – invaluable experience for those looking for a future in fashion! Look out for the catwalk final of the 2010 competition on Monday 22nd February at Vauxhall Fashion Scout.
FAD has its own volunteering scheme – whether you’re a business or individual, you can help out! If you’re an ‘industry volunteer’ perhaps you could donate some materials, or run a workshop. As a ‘young volunteer’ you can learn more about the fashion world whilst mentoring other FAD students in skills you’re well practiced in. FAD’s records demonstrate that they have worked with as many as 4,000 young people from secondary schools through to university students. These projects are considered a strong link into the industry, even gaining the Chairman’s Award at the London Educational Partnership Awards, so it’s a great chance to get involved with something worthwhile. FAD looks for volunteers in all areas, such as Industry Experiences, Placements, Teaching, Sponsorship and the Media.
Finally a quote from Dolly Jones, editor of Vogue.com, on the benefits of working with FAD:
“I think in these awful times of economic drama, there’s a tendency to think there’s no room for new talent.” She hopes that projects like these will help “weed out the mediocre” and find those “truly talented newcomers”. You can volunteer and sign up to FAD through their website: www.fad.org.uk.
Ana Belen Merono, Camilla Sampson, Dolly Jones, FAD, FAD Competition, FAD volunteering, Fairtrade Fashion Club, Fashion Awareness Direct, Fashion Futures 1, Fashion Futures 2, London Educational Partnership Awards, Nottingham Trent University, Paul Costelloe, Vauxhall Fashion Scout, Vogue.com, William Tempest
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