The winners of the Young Designer Awards 2009

The winners of the Young Designer Awards 2009

Young Talent Given a Great Opportunity

On Saturday 31 October Fashion Designers’ & Craft Makers’ Network held the annual, innovative 2009 Young Designer Awards and Gala Showcase, these exciting awards were established by knitwear designer Joanna Marcella with the aim to help raise profile of exceptionally gifted avant-garde young designers from multicultural backgrounds aged between this aged 13 – 25 years, The brief this year is to produce an Avant-Garde outfit based on theme ‘Homage to a Fashion Leader’.

(Celebrating multi-cultural design excellence)

Families, friends, fashion lovers and the press alike gathered together at The Novotel London Hotel St. Pancras 100 Euston Road London NW1 for what was an impressive and exciting award ceremony. They were also joined by a panel special guest Judges from the media and fashion world, who included: Des Cooke from Barnardo’s, Akosua Annobil Founder of Fire Media UK, Esther Lee Fashion Editor of SHE Caribbean Magazine, Juanita Grey and Christie Dinham CEO of Fashion Girls Production & The International Designer Show (New York), Neil Smith Lecturer at Central St Martins College of Art and Design, and Sue Foulston First year tutor across all the fashion pathways at Central St Martins College of Art and Design.

This year’s entrants were certainly out to impress the judges and the standards were unbelievably high. In turn this made judging extremely challenging; nevertheless after much deliberation winners were finally selected from each category.

The awards was split into three categories, The Young Designer Award ages 13 -16 years, 17 – 20 years and the Avant-Garde Award aged 21 – 25 years.

Young Designer Award category

First place ages 13-16 years went to Gbemisola Okunlola aged 15 years and second place went to Kami Jogee aged 13 years both young designers gave excellent presentations to the panel of judges.

First place ages 17-20 years went to Kanyinsola Onalaja aged 17 years and second place went to Makeda Getachew aged 17 years both young designers demonstrated great commitment to the project.

Title FDC 2009 Young Designer of the Year went to Kanyinsola Onalaja. This award was well and truly deserved.

Avant-Garde Award 21 – 25 category

First place went Avant-Garde Award went to Saffron Knight aged 23 years who created a striking final piece which not only looked fantastic on the catwalk, but was made with high technical skill. Second place went to Adrine Avakyan aged 22 year she created yet another remarkable piece that captured the judges and the audience attention.

The special International Designer Award 2009 was presented by Juanita Grey and Christie Dinham of Fashion Girls Production to Saffron Knight this talented designer has won an opportunity to début her collection in Caribbean Fashion Week in Jamaica in June 2010.

Christie Dinham says “Even though it was very hard choosing our winner this year we felt that one designer stood out for us and that was Saffron Knight. Saffron like everyone else had an excellent and enthusiastic presentation, however it was very apparent that Saffron from the very moment she walked in she knew who she was as a designer. Like all the other designers; Saffron was given the brief, which she followed, but what was extremely important through her unique interpretation and strong visual impact, I could see she had not lost herself in the final design. It was thrilling to see elements of what we would see if she was to produce her own collection. She left us with high expectations. We feel that Saffron is relevant to today’s market, more importantly she is new, fresh and exciting.”

Next year Caribbean Fashion Week celebrates its tenth year anniversary this will be the most vibrant and exciting showcase for Saffron, a very to a vibrant and exciting designer to reveal her first fashion week collection.

Christie Dinham continues “The Young Designer Awards is an excellent platform that gives young aspiring designers the opportunity to showcase their talent and an excellent vehicle that exposes these designers to an international arena. Our Company Fashion Girls Production is extremely happy to continue to support The Young Designer Awards by sponsoring a designer to debut their collection at Caribbean Fashion Week.”

This design award is the only national awards in the UK that has given several young fashion designers, who are still studying for their fashion degrees, an opportunity to showcase in New York Fashion Week and Caribbean Fashion Week.

Designers get the opportunity to showcase to an audience of international Buyers, Fashion Editors, Press and Celebrities and work with a team of prominent fashion stylists, hair, make-up artists backstage, as well as, the same international models that walk the runway for the noted fashion houses such as Baby Phat, Calvin Klein, Donna Karen, Marc Jacobs, Luella Bartley and Tommy Hilfiger.

The founder of the awards Joanna Marcella has a vision to present an international platform for dynamic young designers who can find their niche as individuals and become a brand in their own right.

She says “I was amazed at how each of the 17 finalists embraced this year’s theme which was ‘Homage to a Fashion Leader’. The Young designers this year exceeded all expectations and once again proved that very young designers have the potential to be top fashion leaders.”

Joanna continues “Our designers have been catapulted straight from the Young Designer Awards right on to the international fashion stage.”

Award winners will receive mentoring and support accessing resources, such as, public relations, marketing, advice and general business support, as they choose their next step into the fashion industry, launch and build their new fashion companies. They will be given an opportunity to participate on a year long UK tour and showcase, which is a new exposure and awareness initiative, launched in line with our vision.

“I truly believe that we have to encourage our young designers as much as we can; after all they are our future industry shakers and makers.” Christie Dinham adds.

The FDC Young Designer Awards is set to thrive in the future as it moves into a new phase in its search for a European Young designer of the year.


Notes to Editor:

For all press enquiries please contact:

Images are available on request
Joanna Marcella can be contacted on Mob: 07940 647 102/020 8986 8411

Together everyone achieves more.
There is an amazing power in unity.

Working in partnership with Barnardo’s.

Organisers of Caribbean Fashion Week

Region: All
Venue: Novotel St. Pancras, London
Press Tickets: Not Available
Sponsorship: Available
Press Tickets:
Phone: 07940 647102