Two young people have been shortlisted from over 70 teenagers to display their work at London Fashion Week.

Alicia Vetrano, 17, and Shaun O’Connor, 19, both from Walthamstow, will be showcasing their designs on the catwalk on Friday, September 13.

This opportunity has been made possible by creative charity FAD – Fashion Access Diversity, and their unique Fashion Futures programme.

Founded in 2005, the programme gives young people professional mentoring and the technical skills to break into what can be an elite industry.

Alicia said: “I do really like thinking outside the box. I love creating. FAD helps so much –it’s ridiculous how much it helps.”

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Alicia Vetrano, 17, working on a fashion piece

Shaun said: “I loved learning new skills and I loved the course.”

The young designers have been working hard to meet the brief of human nature - exploring the relationship between humans and the natural world.

Design concepts that meet this brief include: zero waste, re-purposing pre- and post-consumer waste, biodegradable materials, upcycling and the exploration of natural forms.

They have also mastered the use of industrial machinery and professional production techniques to perfect their designs.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Young fashion designers will showcase their work at London Fashion Week. Photo: FAD

The programme is sponsored by NatWest and ASOS.

FAD was established in 1998, and is dedicated to helping young people from diverse ethnic, social an economic backgrounds succeed in the highly competitive world of fashion.

So far, FAD has helped 9,600 young people by and providing support and opportunities.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

One unfinished piece by a young designer. Photo: FAD

Naomi Dominique, Design Director at River Island said: “FAD is a wonderful idea. I think it’s amazing to give young people an insight and an opportunity to see what fashion is all about. Britain is the best country in the world for fashion and getting people involved at a younger age is a brilliant idea”

You can find out more about the stories of the finalists @FADCharity instagram, and more about the charity itself at: