The traditional structure of a fashion design course in the UK culminates in the creation and presentation of a runway collection. This practice can be traced back to the informal catwalk shows in the late 1940s at the Glasgow School of Art and St Martins in London.
Over the last 80 years, as fashion education has become formalised and institutionalised, the purpose and rationale for these annual fashion presentations have become highly contested. The creation of Graduate Fashion Week, coinciding with the formation of the post-1992 universities, saw a
unification nationally of student runway shows that established a more proscribed form of presentation, which reinforced pedagogic practices that have remained mostly unchanged for the last 30 years.
In 2018 the University of Westminster challenged this tradition by repositioning its undergraduate show, moving it to the course's central point in February and away from the end of the academic year in June. In doing so, it aligned the students' timetable and practice with the international fashion calendar.
It reflects on the last graduate show in Februa1y 2020, which took place in the final London Fashion Week before COVID-19 meant that runway shows were abandoned, replaced with digital or virtual presentations that attempted to reposition and reimagine the traditional fashion show.
Through an examination of this divergence from standard pedagogical practice, this paper explores the rationale behind this departure, its structural impact on student learning and studio processes, and the new forms of praxis that can emerge from such a radical revolution.