As London Fashion Week’s prima donnas are busy sipping bubbly and munching on carrot sticks it’s nice to see a bit of altruism in the world of haute couture with Vauxhall Fashion Scout giving a group of aspiring designers the chance to showcase their collections alongside some of the biggest names in fashion.
Organisers John Walford and Martyn Roberts invite up-and-coming designers to be interviewed by a panel of judges for the chance to take part in the fashion showcase. Once selected, successful entrants are given the opportunity to enter mentoring schemes, putting the fresh talent in touch with industry veterans. The new designers are also able to attend seminars, which aims to make them more business savvy so that they can make it in the fickle world of fashion.
The initiative, which runs alongside London Fashion Week, is a welcome act of benevolence in an industry that has a reputation for chewing up and spitting out young hopefuls. Scott Ramsey Kyle, 26, a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, whose detailed embroidery has earned him praise from Vogue, is one of the 20 designers getting the chance to debut his collection, after impressing Walford and Roberts with his work earlier in the year.
“I’m really happy with my collection this year, it’s been such a positive experience working with John and Martyn. They support us from beginning to end, which is great as I’m not making much money at the moment and it costs thousands of pounds to stage a show that’s only going to last four or five minutes,” says Kyle.
The young designer has learnt a lot about the nature of the industry since his days as an undergraduate: “I had a really good time during my first degree, but I was walking around with my head in the clouds a bit. When I came to London I realised that fashion is a tough business. Most of the time you just get shoved out there, and if you don’t cut it then you’re dumped. I’ve had a lot of good press recently, so I think I’ll be fine eventually.”
Vauxhall Fashion Scout have also extended their philanthropic touch to the realm of modelling, holding a one-day casting session earlier this month, encouraging designers to use young modelling talent in their catwalk shows.
Australian model Alexandra Agoston, 20, has been strutting her stuff to packed-out audiences all week at the designers’ shows “It was a really great set-up for models because usually we have to travel around a lot which can be expensive and tiring when you’ve got to carry heels and your portfolio all day! To have it all in one place was great.”
Some students use modelling to make money while at university, but is it a practical way to earn extra cash? “It’s not as easy as a lot of people think it is,” says Agoston. “Sometimes you can work really hard for a month and only make a few hundred pounds, but other times you can get amazing money for doing two hours of practically nothing.”
The Vauxhall Fashion Scout shows are sponsored by Vauxhall Motors and Storm hairdressing and have been running since 14 September at London Fashion Week.