Fashion students from DMU blow away industry with outstanding London catwalk show

Students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) put on an incredible catwalk show in London today which had industry leaders clamouring to meet the hottest new talent from the prestigious Fashion Design course.

A total of 17 women from the course went through a gruelling selection process to show their final year collections in front of an audience which included fashion leaders such as Lipsy, Sainsbury's Tu, M&S, Jigsaw and River Island at the annual Graduate Fashion Week (GFW).

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GFW is the largest student fashion show in Europe and recognised as one of the world's most important sources of new talent for the global design industry. It has launched the careers of celebrity designers such as Stella McCartney and Julien Macdonald.

Talent spotters headed straight to the DMU display stand after the show to talk to students about everything from one-off assignments or paid placements to full-time jobs.

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On top of that, seven students were shortlisted for special awards while still more have been chosen to show their collections again on the final day for best-in-show prizes.

Joanne Matthews, from cutting-edge high-street fashion chain Lipsy, said she had purposefully come to see the DMU Fashion Design show because of the reputation of our graduates who had worked for them. She had compiled a hit list of students to speak to a matter of minutes after the catwalk show had finished.

She said: "We know the amazing talent the course offers and this was a great way to experience it.

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"I thought the show was amazing. It was creative, innovative, passionate and inspiring. These students had the commerciality you need for the high street without losing the creativity. We hope Lipsy is the place they will be able to continue to be creative and come up with beautiful designs.

"We have our eye on some of them and we have placements, assignments and there are available jobs."

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Michelle Smith, who graduated from DMU last year, has set up her own company called Design Me Textiles.

She said: "It was a great show and there were a few collections that really blew me away."

The students who showed their collections were still buzzing backstage after the catwalk show had ended

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Megan Duke’s collection featured deceptively detailed embroidery finishes, bright bold colours and fabrics from thick PVC to linen.

She said: “It’s just such a high to know that after all that work it’s your collection which is going down the catwalk. We were all so nervous because we can’t see the audience reaction from backstage so we didn't know what people thought.”

Beth de la Mare’s work fused the swinging sixties with clothes that had a sculptural element, courtesy of Perspex additions. She said: “I still can’t believe it, an unbelievable experience. It's amazing to see all of your work on the catwalk.”

“I can't believe I got it all done,” said Emily Curtis, whose choice of backing track, 

Backing track Buffalo Stance, by Neneh Cherry, set the tone for her sparky, attitude-infused collection. “It's been an incredibly busy two months and I can’t really take it in that we have done it!”

Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Chancellor of DMU, showed her support for the prestigious event by taking a seat on the front row of the catwalk.

She said: "I thought it was fantastic. You could feel the buzz and sense how much hard work had gone into the show.

"I saw all the people taking pictures of the collections and I could see how impressed they all were. This is what it is to be young and creative and to think outside the box."

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Hannah Edgar's collection was inspired by turning household items into desirable pieces, including cling film which was crocheted to a plastic fabric.

Her mum Jenny had travelled from Norfolk to see the show and was delighted to have industry figures approach her to talk to her daughter.

She said: "I am so proud of Hannah. It's incredible that as soon as the show finished she was being approached with offers from companies. She has worked so hard and deserves everything that comes her way."

Posted on Tuesday 7th June 2016

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