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Katrina and the illusionary waves at London Fashion Week

Creating an optical illusion with her fashion designs earned one De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) student a coveted place at London Fashion Week.

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Katrina Zdanovska, who is in her final year of Fashion Design at DMU, was one of just 20 finalists in the 2017 Fashion Awareness Direct (FAD) competition, bringing the best of UK undergraduate talent to one of the world’s most anticipated catwalks.

Beating hundreds of hopefuls from more than 140 universities across the UK, Katrina showcased her five-piece collection on the last day of London Fashion Week, describing the experience as “an honour.”

The 22-year-old from Latvia said: “This is the first time I’ve ever entered a competition like this and I never imagined I would make it to the finals - it’s been really amazing and exciting.

“Typically though, even as I watched my designs on the catwalk, I was thinking about all the things I could have done better.”

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The Latvian student’s aesthetic is dependent on her mood and “what feels right at the time”.

Katrina’s FAD collection explores creative shapes and plays with optical illusions. It includes a luxurious satin dress printed with a striped pattern she specifically designed to create the illusion of depth, and cleverly placed sequins to make a jersey jumper appear “wavy”.

“I had a really amazing team of tutors who supported me leading up to and during the competition, which was such a relief during a very challenging design process,” she said.

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Katrina is now turning her attention to her final major project - designing and making a six-outfit collection which she hopes will be chosen for the Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) catwalk, one of the world’s most important sources of new talent for the global design industry.

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Her collection will explore the notion of “plastic beauty” and the things women do to make themselves feel attractive, from wearing make-up and corsets to having invasive surgery.

She said: “Only 18 final year students will be chosen by our tutors for GFW, so if I get through I literally will have nailed the year.

“This really needs to be the best work I’ve ever produced, not just to improve my chances of getting through to GFW, but to strengthen my portfolio and help me break into the industry once I graduate.”

After taking time out from university last year, Katrina is now more driven than ever, saying: “In that time I realised that fashion is definitely what I want to do with my life.

“It’s a testing industry for sure, but being away from it made me miss it a lot and realise how much I want to be a part of it.”

Della Swain, Programme Leader for Fashion Design at DMU, said: “This is a brilliant achievement for Katrina, and for our course, to once again showcase during London Fashion Week as a finalist of the FAD competition.”

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Posted on Thursday 9th March 2017

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