Stone me! Design inspired by trip to local quarry wins Rachael top prize from H&M

A trip to a local quarry inspired a De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) student to come up with a lingerie design which saw her win top prize in a competition set by high street fashion giants H&M.

Students from DMU’s third year Contour Fashion course were set a task by the Swedish firm – which employs a number of DMU graduates at its HQ in Stockholm - to design an everyday bra and knicker set with an emphasis on being functional and comfortable.

H&M one

Rachael Watson, 21, from Cosby in Leicestershire, came up with a set of balconette bra and matching knickers in grey cotton jersey and a pink jersey which she had printed with her own design based on rock formations.

Rachael’s inspiration came from taking a trip to the nearby Croft Quarry and a previous holiday to the Grand Canyon in the USA.


The H&M judges, who flew over from Stockholm to watch the students’ presentations, rewarded Rachael’s research and eye for detail with first prize and a £200 H&M voucher after saying she was bang on the money with the brief.


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Rachael said: “It’s a huge compliment when your designs are chosen by industry, as the standards they set are so high. It was brilliant to be able to design something for H&M.

“I was a bit nervous before the presentation but once it got underway everything was fine. The judges were really supportive and asked questions about the fit and design and where my inspiration came from. I wanted to design a print based on rock formations so I took a trip to Croft Quarry and drew on my experience of a previous holiday to the Grand Canyon!

“I have gained more knowledge about design throughout this competition and it's been a huge learning curve. Trying to think of something fresh and innovative is quite a challenge.”

H&M two

Rachael is now concentrating on producing her final collection for the Contour Fashion course, which specialises in creating “intimates” such as lingerie, sportswear, swimwear and nightwear.

Rachael said: “The course is a lot of fun but also a lot of hard work and you have to put in long hours. But I would recommend it to anyone. It is well worth it. This was always the course I wanted to study because of its reputation in the industry, its links with big names like H&M and its employability rates.”

Gillian Proctor, Contour Fashion Course Programme Leader, said: “It’s wonderful that Rachael has won the competition. She is one of the quiet but diligent students who works so hard in the background.

“To produce something that not only hits the requirements of the brief but is on trend with its sporty and feminine look is a great achievement. The H&M judges were delighted.”

Established in 1947 to support the local corset industry, Contour Fashion is the oldest and most successful degree-level course in intimate apparel and is widely regarded by industry experts as one of the best in the world.

Posted on Tuesday 9th February 2016

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