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DMU designers nervously await their Graduate Fashion Week fate

Fashion Design students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) are nervously waiting to hear whether they will be showing their collections at the world’s biggest platform for new talent next month.

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Eleanor's empowering tulle collection

A total of 33 final-year students faced a rigorous selection panel - including designers Craig Lawrence and Steven Doherty – to determine which fashion-forward designs will be strutted during Graduate Fashion Week (GFW), at Truman Brewery London from Sunday 4 to Wednesday 7 June.

Visiting lecturer at DMU and knitwear designer Craig said of the judging process: “I like hearing how students’ lives influence their designs and it’s nice to see the personal insight that comes through in the collections.

“They all have a really sound understanding of methods and each brings a fresh perspective.”

First-time judge at DMU, Steven Doherty, said: “There’s a lot of good work going on at DMU and a lot of good designs coming out. From my perspective I was looking for good use of colour and print.”

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Self-discovery is Tarun's inspiration

DMU is one of 36 universities taking part in GFW, which showcases the work of over 1,000 of the very best young designers and attracts more than 30,000 guests each year.

Finalists from DMU will have the chance to impress industry talent spotters, leading fashion houses and journalists. Students who don’t make the catwalk will still have the chance to display one outfit each on DMU’s stand, leading to valuable exposure.

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Having carried out a year-long pattern-cutting internship at ASOS last year, Eleanor Bandey is keen to further prove herself to the team she worked alongside with her empowering womenswear collection featuring tulle with a leatherette binding

“I think it means even more to me after having a year in industry and I really want to show ASOS that I’ve taken everything I’ve learned on board. It’s my dream, so I really hope I make it onto the catwalk,” said the 22-year-old from Northampton.

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Sophie draws on traits inherited from her parents

Inspired by growing up in different countries during his childhood, Tarun Pawar’s menswear collection reflects his journey of self-discovery, mixing delicate fibres such as silk with more robust fabrics such as tweed.

The 24-year-old from London said: “Even if you don’t get to show your collection on the catwalk it will still be a huge confidence boost to be represented at GFW. The fact that there’s so much industry press and contacts there could be really beneficial to us all.”

Sophie Lock’s womenswear collection incorporates the best qualities she has inherited from both her parents – organisation from her mum and creativity from her dad. She mixes foiled leather and vinyl with more traditional fabrics such as cotton and sateen.

“It feels like this is what we’ve been working towards from the very first year, so being picked as a finalist for GFW would be a really big deal to me,” said the 20-year-old from Buckinghamshire.

“During my first year of the course I was buddied up with a final-year student and while they were going through this same process I remember thinking ‘I really can’t want for this to be me.’”

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Jessica's exploration of a 'man's world'

Mixing printed textiles with denim for her womenswear collection is Jessica Hanlon’s way of exploring ‘a man’s world through a girl’s eyes’.

The 21-year-old from Bedfordshire has had her heart set on the show for years, saying: “I always knew I wanted to come to DMU, so the year before I started university I went to watch the university’s catwalk show at GFW and visited the stand too.

“It was all very exciting and I couldn’t wait to get here and get started.”

Known for bridging the gap between graduation and employment, GFW is responsible for launching the careers of some of the world’s most successful designers, including Christopher Bailey, Stella McCartney, Giles Deacon, Matthew Williamson and Julien Macdonald.

Posted on Thursday 18th May 2017

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