Industry experts scout DMU Degree Show for latest talent

Industry professionals representing some of the world’s biggest brands flocked to De Montfort University Leicester’s (DMU) Art and Design Degree Show yesterday, scouting for the next generation of talent.

The university’s spectacular show of final year art and design students’ work attracted representatives from top brands such as Ted Baker, Sainsbury’s, Next and Dr Martens.


Footwear display gives DMU's Degree Show the 'wow' factor

For many of them DMU’s Degree Show is a much-anticipated annual event in their diaries, and as well as coming to discover new talent, this year they were also excited to meet our award-winning students.

These include DMU’s five Footwear Design students recently named in the country’s top 15 young designers, the Fashion Design student who won Graduate Fashion Week’s most coveted award, the two Contour Fashion students who got top prizes in the national Boux Avenue competition, among many others.

World-renowned elastic manufacturer Stretchline, which works with brands such as Nike and Adidas, was one of last night’s industry guests.

As a longstanding DMU partner, Stretchline regularly hires DMU graduates like Hannah Winfield who works in its Sri Lankan factory. Stretchline also provides DMU students with valuable placements, helping the likes of award-winning Elissa Poppy to develop her latex lace technique at its Nottingham headquarters.


Fashion-forward designs at the Degree Show

Barry Head, the sales and marketing director at Stretchline, said: “We really enjoyed the excellent contour catwalk show in London a couple of weeks ago so we wanted to come here and see more.

“It really does seem like the quality of DMU students’ work just keeps getting better each year.”

Julia McKim, a DMU graduate and senior designer at T&A Footwear, said: “All our designers at the moment happen to be DMU graduates so I’m looking forward to see what the next wave of talent brings.

“Last year I was really impressed and inspired by the students’ work. It’s exciting to see them being creative before they need to become a bit more commercialised.”

Julia ran a children’s design competition for students for the first time this year and is looking forward to continuing this new tradition. The winner was awarded a cash prize and together with two runners-up they have been offered a week’s work experience.

Another DMU graduate and independent fashion consultant, Annette Clarke, was also keen to meet with students and discuss ways of working together.


Alice Heaton's stunning glasswork for sale at DMU's Degree Show

Annette’s long career in the industry has spanned working for Christian Dior lingerie in Paris, to designing lingerie for La Senza, as well being head of buying at Debenhams.

She said: “I used to hire a lot of DMU graduates when I worked at Debenhams, so I’m keen to see what this year’s students have been up to.

“I absolutely loved the contour course at DMU, it was the happiest three years of my life. You get so many great opportunities and I remember thinking even back then that ‘it doesn’t get better than this’”.

Design Crafts students like Alice Heaton whose glass creations made it onto the Graduate Fashion week catwalk, were also in for a treat when

Richard Golding, a respected glasswork artist of 36 years, stopped by to offer advice on running a business successfully.

Richard, who has a popular glass studio in Shenton Station at the end of the Battlefield-preserved railway line, said: “I think it’s important for students to learn how to use a furnace efficiently and run their businesses cost-effectively.

“They’ve got the skills and creativity to go far in this discipline, so I just want to give them the benefit of my experience.”

Posted on Thursday 23 June 2016

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