My Experience at Graduate Fashion Week

Last Saturday was, I thought at the time, one of the most hectic days of the last couple of months. After an 11 o'clock finish the night before, I was up at 9am for a 10am-6pm shift. And, once I'd finished ringing newspapers and alcohol through the cash register, I had less than an hour to pack up my things, get on a coach and travel 119 miles to Victoria Station, London. Upon arrival, I had another hour's worth of travel to complete before arriving at my destination: the house of my boyfriend's parents, in North London. However despite the exhaustion settling into my bones after the non-stop day of work, panic, and travel, the next day, the first day of Graduate Fashion Week, turned out to be far more difficult.

In the official Graduate Fashion Week blogging team, I was assigned the role of sponsor photographer. This meant focusing on the stalls, events and products of the key sponsors of GFW- namely George, Barclay's, Karen Millen, L'Oreal, Mulberry and Rimmel - as well as the various partners dotted around the exhibition such as Coca-Cola. From the moment I received my Access All Areas badge and was told I was the only photographer without a real schedule, I was excited. This meant that I could go wherever I want throughout the entire exhibition, from backstage to the sponsors' lounge to the press office, whilst only having the obligation of returning to the Artsthread Blogging Bar every couple of hours to upload my photos to the server. With free entry to all of the catwalk shows and the privilege of being allowed to photograph the works of the students (a privilege only permitted to members of the press and the official team), I had a lot to photograph. It took me a while to find my feet in the large exhibition space, and even longer to build up the courage to flash my AAA pass to the men guarding the backstage doors; but, when I did, I found myself enveloped in the world of fashion and everything to do with it. It was exciting, not to mention intimidating, to wander amongst the awe-inspiring designs of the graduates and photograph them moments later on the catwalk, or to find myself being led around the entire event and introduced to some big names by the director of events.

But, by the second day, I was having mixed feelings. Whilst the exhibition housed some amazing work by the students, and the catwalk shows were phenomenally produced, none of my photos of these things were really being used. And, whilst everyone else on the blogging team had been paired up with one photographer to one writer, I had been left to my own devices - meaning that no-one was writing stories to go alongside my photographs, and therefore they weren't being looked at. With no schedule, minimal guidelines, and only staggered intervals in which to upload my photos, I wasn't getting much done and felt like I could be spending my time far more productively. On top of this, some of the people higher up in the team than me seemed unsure about what move to take next - whereas I was raring to go, planning every next step myself and formulating blog layouts in my head.

So, therefore, I decided to focus on the things that interested me the most: the fashion, the catwalk, backstage, and the pop-up events that were taking place. I'm going to be writing my own blog posts about the various different things I chose to photograph, my opinions on these different categories, and how well they worked at GFW. No one has written these pieces for me, so they are my own personal experiences and opinions regarding the designers, organisers, crew, makeup artists and sponsors of Graduate Fashion Week as a whole. And, having signed no contract with the people who gave me the job, I can also share with you the photos I took.