A Kendal fashion graduate has been applauded by industry experts after winning a Graduate Fashion Week Award.
April Howie, who has just finished her fashion promotion degree at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), won the New Fashion Media Award at the annual event, which celebrates the very best of student fashion from across the globe.
The 23-year-old wanted to promote positive mental health following the COVID-19 crisis and came up with a campaign for fashion brand The North Face to share the idea that both fresh air and curiosity are free.
April beat off nine other finalists to win the award for her creative campaign FACE IT – Fresh air is free; a free would-be App from The North Face that brings people together through a ‘social hub’ with talks and information from professional athletes and other experts, an interactive section to help the user monitor their levels of outdoor activity and an events area to book onto free activities that promote health and wellbeing.
In addition, the former Kirkbie Kendal Sixth Form and Kendal College pupil, also had to consider the branding, graphic design and social media strategy that her campaign would need.
She said: “Winning the New Fashion Media Award is incredible and a dream I have had since first applying to university to study fashion promotion. I felt extremely passionate about my project and my hard work has really paid off.
“My work was inspired by what the aftermath of COVID might be and the effects it would have on communities. It was created to help tackle the fear of the unknown and to encourage people to step out of their front doors.”
UCLan fashion promotion lecturer Eve Astle commented: “I can’t impress how deserving April is of this award. She worked incredibly hard to tackle her project work during lockdown and indeed embraced the situation to produce truly inspiring digital and creative content. The whole team is extremely proud of her.”
The New Fashion Media Award was one of several prizes up for grabs as part of Graduate Fashion Week. This particular award recognises that digital media is a dynamic and flourishing part of the fashion industry and is presented to the voice of a new generation in fashion media.
April, who has just started working for The British Honey Company as a Brand and Marketing Executive, added: “I am so grateful to all my amazing tutors at UCLan for allowing me to really grow as a person and to expand my knowledge. I have left university confident and ready for industry.”
Although many of its events have been held virtually this year, Graduate Fashion Week remains an integral part of the global fashion industry’s calendar and acts as a platform to launch the next generation of designers and promoters through a variety of catwalk shows and exhibitions.
UCLan has a long history of success at the event. In addition to April’s award, two fashion design graduates, Fatima Abdullah and Chelsea Barker, had their final year work showcased in the Graduate Fashion Foundation (GFF) catwalk show, which took place during London Fashion Week this year, as well as featuring in an exhibition and short film made about the event.
April was presented with her award on the same evening as the catwalk show at a socially distanced ceremony on Tuesday, 22 September, alongside other graduate award-winning stars. Graduate Fashion Foundation (GFF) charity president Hilary Alexander OBE, GFF Chairman Douglas MacClennan and Global Ambassador Caryn Franklin MBE also attended the celebration.
“We have been blown away by the innovation, resilience, creativity and determination displayed by the Class of 2020,” said GFF President Hilary Alexander OBE.
“Not only have they completed their university careers by adapting to the current climate, but the incredibly high quality of the work produced has exceeded our expectations. We’ve been very impressed by the Class of 2020 and we’re excited to continue supporting them as they enter the industry.”