08 December 2021

In the world of fashion there are few events that can rival the prestige and glamour of The British Fashion Awards (BFA). An annual glittering ceremony to honour the best and brightest names in fashion, an event which attracts industry tastemakers, A-listers, influencers, models, stylists, and celebrities from around the world, it is the place to see and be seen.

This year's awards were staged last week at London's Royal Albert Hall and, stepping out in style to attend the red-carpet event alongside stars including Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Demi Moore, James McAvoy, Dua Lipa and Maya James, were University of East London postgraduate fashion students on the MA International Fashion Business and MA Fashion.

The VIP trip was organised by Kent Le, postgraduate programme director, as part of the MA curriculum to enrich the student learning experience at UEL as well as to give students the opportunity to meet and mingle with key industry business leaders, designers, creatives and retailers.

Speaking about BFA 2021, Kent Le said: "The strength of our MA courses lies in the industry exposure we provide to students so that they have a platform to reach out and connect with like-minded people.

"On our MA International Fashion Business course, for example, students not only are able to represent UEL at the glamorous BFA event, they also have regular industry visits, guest talks and, to top it all, a trip to Paris.

"I was so pleased to see the students all glammed up for the night and having the best time of their life. For me, nothing makes me happier than to see the students bond together on these trips, making fond memories of their time at UEL."

Hosted by award-winning actor, singer, director, composer and playwright Billy Porter, BFA 2021 opened with a tribute to Virgil Abloh, the artistic director of Louis Vuitton's menswear collection who lost his battle to cancer the day before the event (November 28) aged 41. The tribute was led by actor Idris Elba who recited Maya Angelou's poem "When Great Trees Fall".

On attending the golden-ticket event, Aleisha Blowers, MA Fashion student and course rep, said: "Moving to London from a small town, I have never had many opportunities to experience culture and fashion to the level that this city can offer.

"I was so excited to have the chance to go to the British Fashion Awards, it was such a fun experience and opened my eyes to how big and exciting the fashion community is. Thank you UEL and Kent Le for organising the trip. It's something I will never forget!"

Discovering fashion

These sentiments were echoed by Sabiya Singh, International MA student on Luxury Branding pathway, who said: "I made a brave decision to move out of my comfort zone from India to the big city of London, with so much happening. This city offers ample opportunities to discover fashion and culture.

"One of the major experiences was to attend the Fashion Awards 2021 through UEL. It was such an incredible experience. I was overwhelmed to see my role model, the famous actor and activist Priyanka Chopra Jonas, on stage representing India globally.

"I experienced how the fashion industry is so joined together when it comes to paying respect to lost ones or encouraging new talent.

"Overall, it was a true night of style and fashion inspiration. Thank you so much to our programme leader Kent for organising this. It's something I will forever cherish."

Accolades given on the night included Designer of the Year which was presented to Kim Jones for Dior Men and Fendi by Hollywood actor Demi Moore and Olympic gold medallist Tom Daley and the British Fashion Council Foundation Award which went to Nensi Dojaka.

The awards also honoured and celebrated Leaders of Change; the designers, brands, creatives and individuals who created positive change within the fashion industry in 2021, under categories: Environment, People and Creativity.

Nominees, winners and honorees were voted for by a panel comprising more than 800 key members of the international fashion industry.

The postgraduate fashion cluster at UEL includes the popular MA International Fashion Business (IFB) suite with pathway courses in fashion marketing, PR and luxury branding. For more information on the MA IFB programme, visit our web page.  

For more information on the MA/MFA Fashion visit the web page.

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