Having been a long time fan and recent collaborator with Swarovski, I thought I knew the brand through and through. It's only recently when I was invited to attend this year's Central Saint Martins graduate show with their team that I realised just how little I knew. As well as sponsoring big events and working with leading designers, the brand is also committed to supporting emerging talent too and that's exactly what brought me to the show.
The college is known for producing tomorrow's leading designers and those that will really push the boundaries. For the select designers that manage to be included in the graduate show, a prestigious audience is a given. This year's event brought everyone from the International Herald Tribune's Suzy Menkes to Style.com's Tim Blanks.
Appearing in the line-up this year was Scarlett Tull, who was a recipient of the Swarovski Scholarship initiative along with Stephanie Bila. Unlike other graduate programs the Swarovski initiative, which launched last year, sponsors the chosen student's tuition fees. With the prices continually rising, the cost of university education is an ever present concern, one which LVMH bursary winner Tigran Avetisyan captured perfectly on his workwear pieces sporting slogans like 'NO JOBS' and 'graduate 2012 - nothing more to say.'
The support doesn't end there. Tull and Billa were also given free reign with Swarovski elements to include in their final collections and it really paid off. While Tull's strong in its own right, the inclusion of the elements undoubtedly enhanced the luxury quality of the clothes. 'Receiving a Swarovski scholarship has been very exciting, giving me great access to crystal,' Tull said. 'I have used SWAROVSKI ELEMNTS to embellish vibrant floral prints and experimented with layers of hot fix crystals and larger sew-on stones; combining different sizes and shapes has given my designs depth and drama.' Billa shares the same sentiment. 'I am so grateful for Swarovski's continued support in my final year,' she explained, 'it has really helped me achieve my creative vision.'
When asked about the initiative, Nadja Swarovski stressed the brand's focus on supporting young talent. 'The Swarovski Scholarships build on our support of emerging design talent at Central Saint Martins,' she said in a statement. 'Stephaanie and Scarlett have produced some truly innovative pieces and we are so excited to be able to help nurture such creativity.'