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Contour Fashion students triumph in lingerie design competition

Five Contour Fashion students have impressed in a competition set by global lingerie and underwear brand Triumph as part of their course at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

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From left to right: Abi Osborne, Sian Thomas, Catherine Lovick, Beatrice Russell, Ffion Piper and second year Contour Fashion student and model, Caitlin Beattie

The competition is just one example of the many fruitful industry partnerships DMU’s world-renowned Contour Fashion course has developed over the decades - including Gossard, Tommy Hilfiger and H&M – as it celebrates its 70th anniversary this year.

Set by Sian Thomas, Global Head of Creative Design at Triumph International, the brief was to reinvent the flower from a fashion perspective and to innovate new concepts of lace.

All 58 final year Contour Fashion students had the chance to take part in the competition, and after submitting a collection of six designs each, 23 finalists were selected to make one of their designs and present it in front of a judging panel led by Sian and Gillian Proctor, Contour Fashion Programme Leader at DMU.

The high standard of designs inspired by wide-ranging elements - from Venus flytrap plants at Kew Gardens to the intricate metalwork on churches found in Prague - compelled Sian to select five students to collaborate with on upcoming Triumph projects.

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A 'sophisticated' creation by Ffion

Ffion Piper and Abi Osborne won the fashion category while Beatrice Russell and Catherine Lovick were picked in the innovation category, and Mollie Falkingham was offered employment as a freelance CAD designer.

Following praise for the sophistication, colour balance and proportions of her laser-cut suedette design, Ffion said: “I really wasn’t expecting my name to be called out, but it felt amazing. Especially knowing that Sian thought my design could appeal to the wider Triumph client-base.”

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Abi’s intricate hand embroidery was selected for reinventing classic black lingerie with a statement neckline. She said: “The hand embroidery took so much longer than I imagined so it was great that all my hard work paid off.”

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Abi made a bold statement with her neckline design

The innovative use of laser-cut silicone banding in her designs is what got Beatrice noticed.

She worked on her idea together with the research and development department at Stretchline, a global elastic manufacturer and sponsor of DMU’s course, saying: “It’s very surreal to be selected, but I’m excited to take my prototype further with Triumph.”

Meanwhile, Catherine’s clever use of heat-activated liquid crystal ink resulted in an offer to collaborate on a sports collection and Mollie, who takes great pride in making her two-dimensional computer designs appear three-dimensional, looks forward to freelancing “as soon as possible”.

Sian said: “These are my favourite kind of days – getting out of the office and discovering new talent. It’s been very inspiring and I’m impressed with the range of designs the finalists presented and by the variety of skills they displayed.

“I’m always looking for people who are willing to push the boundaries and I feel I’ve found that at DMU.”

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Silicone replaces elastic in Beatrice's lingerie set

Gillian said: “Triumph has a long-standing reputation for their innovative and technologically defined methodologies and we’re pleased that DMU has developed a strong relationship with them.

“This has been a challenging experience for our students who have stretched their conceptual, technical and manufacturing capabilities. It’s great that a brand of their standing has continued for a number of years to underpin the development of the emerging talent for our industry.”

All 23 finalists will have their designs featured in the next issue of the leading industry magazine Underlines, and will display their work at MODA 2017 (19-21 February), the UK’s largest lingerie and swimwear trade exhibition.

The remaining 18 finalists are Charley Chiddle, Alannah Wilson, Tamzin Grigg, Ali Lee, Heather McCarter, Ellie Gough, Luce Watkins, Elissa Mancuso, Abbey Mellor, Ellie Beaumont, Emily Bell, Megan Briggs, Charlotte Gilmour, Roisin Reuss, Hannah Durling, Posie Upshall, Georgia Phillips and Cassandra Blowen.

Posted on Friday 3rd February 2017

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