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May 18, 2021
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Tu returns as GFW sponsor, adds sustainability challenge

Published
May 18, 2021

Tu’s back partnering Graduate Fashion Foundation for a sixth year with the Sainsbury's-owned fashion brand becoming Headline Partner for Graduate Fashion Week 2021.


Graduate Fashion Foundation


Building on the success of the Tu Scholarship prize over the past five years, which celebrated emerging fashion design talent, this year’s partnership sees the launch of the ‘Tu Challenge 21’, with a sustainability theme. 

This will task the Class of 2021 at Graduate Fashion Foundation UK member universities to “think big and create a product under any fashion category, with sustainability at its heart”. 

The Tu team is “looking for innovative new ways to create collections and product with key considerations in bio-based product, bio-degradability, circular lifestyle and traceability and what better way to find fresh and innovative ideas than directly from the future of fashion”. 

This year’s event will see the two winning graduates each receiving a £5,000 prize and the opportunity to be guided by the Tu in-house teams, “gaining invaluable insight into the fashion industry from buying through to design to see their winning ideas come to life”. 

Judging the 10 shortlisted final-year students will take place on 4 June in central London with an industry panel from Tu including Innovation manger for Clothing & Home Samantha Barrows, Women’s Design manager Toni Salters-Warner, Clothing Technical manager Debra Martin, and Women’s Essentials Buying manager Hannah Mallett.

The winners will be announced during the Graduate Fashion Week Awards show at 8pm on 18 June,  which will be live-streamed.

Joy Campbell, director of Brand Partnerships at Graduate Fashion Foundation said: “Once again, Graduate Fashion Week is set to be an incredible showcase for some of the world’s best fashion graduates. Tu understand the importance of nurturing young talent and watching them grow at such a pivotal point of their career, it’s for this reason our partnerships are always so successful.” 

Emma Benjafield, Head of Product of Tu Clothing at Sainsbury’s said: “With the past year proving even more challenging for new graduates than ever before, there has never been a better time to mentor and showcase a diverse range of young talent.” 

As part of the continued partnership, Tu will also be present during Graduate Fashion Week (12-18 June) at London’s Coal Drops Yard with a retrospective exhibition of past award winners, Tu graduate fashion collections and new campaigns, alongside a Tu panel talk being live-streamed from Samsung KX. Additionally, the Tu team will be on site during GFW scouting talent and viewing portfolios. 

Also this May, Tu joins the Graduate Fashion Foundation Webinar series with four exclusive webinars for the students and graduates of our member universities. These include: 6 May (2pm) Technical, fabric & Sustainability; 13 May (2pm) Innovation & Print; 20 May (2pm) Buying; and 27 May (2pm) Design & Portfolio Advice.

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