How would you define the Fash Factor? It's the burning question that drives us here at Grazia to be constantly seeking out the hot, new, now, and so as the hopefuls arrived for today's first round of fashion talent
contest Fash Factor, we couldn't have been more excited.
Yes, dear readers, our annual talent contest is back: Today Grazia's Jane Bruton and Susannah Frankel were joined by Liberty's Stephen Ayres, and designers Roland Mouret and Peter Jensen to uncover the bright new fashion things in two categories - ready-to-wear and accessories.
'We found some amazing new talent through Fash Factor the first time around and we wanted to continue to build on that' enthused Grazia's Jane Bruton, 'Our readers love to know about the next hot new thing and new labels, so if we can be part of finding that at the very beginning then we can deliver that.'
'I think that as a buyer for a department store I'm always looking for new talent,' added Liberty's Stephen Ayres. 'Being on the Fash Factor judging panel is a great opportunity to hopefully find raw talent we can nurture.'
Over 80 hopefuls from students to stay-at-home mums could present one outfit or accessory, with two minutes to pitch their vision to the judges. Here's our top 10 moments of the day...
1. The Fash Factor tap dance: Glasgow-based jewellery designer Caroline Rose Leon - who arrived at Grazia HQ at 5am to bag the first place in the queue, felt so happy to be here that she did a tap dance for the judges!
2. Reflecting on the moment the queue turned the corner around the block - and we realised that this year's Fash Factor was bigger and better than ever.
3. Peter Jensen's poker face. As head of menswear at Central Saint Martins evaluating two-minute pitches is second nature to this guy. He's not giving anything away.
4. The essential buyer's insights from Liberty's Head of Fashion Buying and Merchandising Stephen Ayres - getting the balance of creativity and commerciality is crucial for wannabe designers.
5. Roland Mouret's raucous cautionary tales against over-sharing on social networks - plus feedback which was uncompromising but just so, well, nice.
6. The moment of drama as Central Saint Martins' Cassandra Green struggled to dress her model in the queue: 'this piece is probably the easiest to wear of my whole collection.' she laughed.
7. Oscar the dog, face of owner Alicia Weatherley's Jojo & Jax label, who not only modelled a chic silk doggy-walking scarf, but also entertained the queue with his gruff singing. 'It's not pretty' conceded Alicia.
8. Brighton-based Joe Goodman's shout out to Jessie J - think PVC fringing, gold and black beading and laser cut leggings. 'When I design I always have Jessie J in mind.' he said: JJ, if you're reading this, get in touch now!
9. The diversity! From ultra-wearable cocktail dresses and statement necklaces to quirky hats and Gaga-worthy get-ups, the Fash Factor entrants did not disappoint. We can't wait to reveal the amazing talent that has made it through to the next round and seeing what everyone does next.
10. Finally, who could fail to be inspired by the energy and enthusiasm of all the Fash Factor hopefuls? We ended the judging session on a style high - albeit a little disappointed that Jane and Susannah didn't follow
through on their promise of a fashion stand off should there be a lack of consensus.
Who do you think has the Fash Factor? Post your comment below or tweet us @Grazia_Live! And watch this space for the announcement of the Fash Factor finalists...
by Emily Fleuriot