Amelia’s Magazine | The 3rd Annual Fashioning the Future Awards

Caryn Franklin hosting the ceremony, by Antonia Parker

The third annual Fashioning the Future Awards took place last Thursday, where guests from the world of fashion, business and sustainable living came together to celebrate international sustainable fashion talent. Supported by the United Nations, the awards promote students who produce fashion with conscience.

The setting for this glamorous occasion – the East Wintergarden, part of the Canary Wharf complex – seemed a little unusual in the wake of the current financial crisis, and it’s not the first destination I’d think of if I wanted to host a conscious do. But, I was to learn, that Canary Wharf are committed to environmental issues. The Canary Wharf Group is, in fact, one of the country’s top ‘green’ companies.

Two of the finalists’ work by Joana Faria

Inside the venue, a load of wooden cogs had been dotted around the room, on which frozen models posed for the duration of the evening. Large zoetropes descended from the ceiling, requiring manmade kinetic power to operate that involved guests turning winches in order for them to animate. Drinks flowed and there was no obvious stage or focal point, creating a strange but enjoyable atmosphere that allowed guests to freely mingle amongst the spools and lights.

All photography by Matt Bramford

Circular tubes also hung from the celing, a little lower than average height, in which guests could stand, head fully immersed inside, and listen to interviews with the shortlisted nominees while looking a little silly. It all made for good fun and took the sometimes stifling atmosphere of these kind of events quickly away.

The ceremony itself was delayed in the hope that the members of the celebrity judging panel who could make it (Erin O’Connor and Lucy Siegle had already pulled out for unspecified reasons) would eventually show up. It was repeatedly announced that Jo Wood and BFC chairman Harold Tillman were, together, stuck in traffic. Eventually the producers of the awards gave up and the show commenced, glamourously hosted by fashion protagonist Caryn Franklin. The lights dimmed and Caryn took her place in the centre of the room under one of the zoetropes. Guests were invited to sit, anywhere, or stand to view the ceremony.

Jo Wood and Harold Tillman stuck in traffic by Gareth A Hopkins

Five awards were presented across a diverse range of subjects, including design and innovation, under this year’s theme: Biodiversity.

One of the finalists’ work by Jaymie O Callaghan

Unique Balance
Sara Emilie Terp Hansen scooped the coveted prize for Unique Balance with her intriguing and aesthetically brilliant collection made from cork. The judges said Sara Emilie had ‘found an opportunity to utilise an unexpected material in a fashion context, allowing nature to dictate design.’ It was quite the striking collection and Sara, one of the only recipients to collect her award in person, looked heartwarmingly shocked to receive the award.

One of the finalists’ work by Justyna Sowa

Unique Materials and Processes
The second award, for Unique Materials and Processes, was due to be presented by the aforementioned Jo Wood. Guests still hoped she would leg it in last minute and snatch the mic, but still no joy. Massive props must go to Alex McIntosh from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion who took to the stage (metaphorically speaking as there wasn’t one, of course) and presented also absent Evelyn Lebis‘ wearable light collection with the award.

One of the finalists’ work by Katrina Conquista

Unique Enterprise
Australian Alice Payne scooped the Enterprise award for her conceptual approach to business. ‘Think Lifecycle’ is a sort of social media platform for big companies, allowing them to harness environmental sustainability across the entire business. No, I didn’t completely understand it either, but I did like her spider diagrams.

Unique Design
LCF graduate Lara Torres picked up the award for Unique Design. Professor Frances Corner OBE, head of the LCF, said ‘ironically the design category was the hardest to judge; it’s very hard not to fixate on the idea that the winning entry has to be a perfectly realised garment’. In fact, it wasn’t – Lara’s entry examined the role of the fashion designer in modern society and the relationship we have with the clothing we wear.

The Body Shop One to Watch Award
The final award, presented by Ann Massal, International Brand Director of The Body Shop, went to Ashley Brock, who had flown all the way from the USA for the occasion. Eek. It was a sort of all-encompassing award for the prize student who hadn’t been acknowledged in the other categories. Ashley’s collection showed how ‘seemingly obsolete garments can be re-purposed’.

Erin O’ Connor realxing in the shower and Jo Wood stuck in traffic by Antonia Parker

And so the awards were wrapped up with a brief catwalk show where models stood up from their spools, sashayed around the room and then formed an imposing group under the centre spotlight. Still no sign of Jo Wood or Harold Tillman. It was a marvellous ceremony – genuinely unique – and a celebration of wearable sustainable fashion. I did wonder if it was entirely appropriate that these two were sitting in a car somewhere when they were supposed to be part of an environmentally-aware event (why they didn’t just get out of their bloody cars and get on the bloody tube is beyond me) but infact it didn’t matter; it made the evening entirely about the fashion, the winners, and the real message.

Categories ,Alex McIntosh, ,Alice Payne, ,Ann Massal, ,Antonia Parker, ,BFC, ,Biodiversity, ,Canary Wharf, ,Caryn Franklin, ,Centre for Sustainable Fashion, ,Ceremony, ,East Wintergarden, ,Enterprise, ,environmental, ,Erin O’ Connor, ,ethical, ,Evelyn Lebis, ,fashion, ,Fashion the Future Awards, ,Frances Corner OBE, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,green, ,Harold Tillman, ,Jaymie O’Callaghan, ,Jo Wood, ,Joana Faria, ,Justyna Sowa, ,Katrina Conquista, ,Lara Torres, ,LCF, ,London College of Fashion, ,Lucy Siegle, ,Matt Bramford, ,Sara Emilie Terp Hansen, ,The Body Shop, ,unique, ,united nations, ,Womenswear, ,Zoetropes

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