Staffs student scoops award at Graduate Fashion Week

A Staffordshire University student has won a prestigious award for a campaign which draws attention to the impact of fast fashion

Louise Rutter holding her award

Louise Rutter won the 'Considered Fashion Award’ at Graduate Fashion Week

I’m so proud of myself for winning the award, especially in an area I’m so passionate about. My whole project is based around sustainability, and I’ve tried to ensure that the way I work aligns with that, so to be recognised for this is amazing

Louise Rutter, BA (Hons) Fashion

BA (Hons) Fashion student Louise Rutter scooped the ‘Considered Fashion Award’ at Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) during a special awards ceremony in London last night.

The annual event is the world's largest showcase of BA fashion talent and Louise was chosen from students across the country in recognition of her work to promote sustainable fashion.

The 24-year-old from Longton said: “I’m so proud of myself for winning the award, especially in an area I’m so passionate about. My whole project is based around sustainability, and I’ve tried to ensure that the way I work aligns with that, so to be recognised for this is amazing.”

Louise created an advertising campaign as part of her final year project and produced a film in collaboration with film and drama students.

The short film highlights how the overproduction of garments is destroying natural environments with fashion waste, including new and unworn garments, discarded in landfills and deserts, damaging the natural ecosystems that live there.

The film is supported by a poem that also focuses on the fast fashion brands, and how they are contributing towards the damage seen within the environment.

After being shortlisted, Louise had to present her work to a panel of industry experts this week for the final judging before the winners were revealed.

Dr Julie King, Executive Dean of the School of Digital, Technologies and Arts, said: “GFW has been the springboard for so many of our amazingly talented British Designers including Stella McCartney, so it is a tremendous opportunity for Louise to start her career in Fashion with such a fantastic award. She beat off the competition from 40 other fashion institutions and has shown how important a sustainability focus is in the fashion industry today.”

Louise added: “It was exciting to go to London and attend GFW as it's such a prestigious event and all fashion graduates know how big an honour it is to get there. The standard of work produced by other students there was so high, and it was great to meet the people who created them.

“There's plenty of future designers and creatives that I'm now connected with, and it was such a great opportunity to meet new people.”

The BA (Hons) Fashion degree at Staffordshire University is designed to help students develop their knowledge and skills in a broad range of subject areas, including the fundamentals of fashion business, creative design, communication and technical practices. To ensure that students are aware of the bigger picture within the fashion industry, sustainability, ethics and diversity are explored in-depth in a module in first year and encouraged throughout the course. 

Rachel Heeley, Senior Lecturer in Fashion, said: “This is a huge achievement for Louise, she is such a dedicated student who always gives her all. She really deserves to be recognised for her achievements at this national event. It was such a great opportunity to attend to meet the judges and get to network with industry professionals.

“Her work on sustainable fashion is such an important area, something our course here at Staffordshire encourages. Also, Louise winning this award highlights the breadth of areas the course covers, we are not just about design, students can go on to specialise in fashion communication, business, pattern cutting, design and more.”

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