Skip to content

Latex lace designs by DMU grad win coveted ASOS competition


Luxury lingerie designed by a De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) graduate has beaten over 600 brands to win a prestigious ASOS competition with a £50,000 prize.


Contour Fashion graduate Elissa Grainger is rewriting the lingerie rulebook with her trademark latex lace designs, which combine the two fabrics in a unique aesthetic.

After becoming inundated with orders from her thousands of Instagram fans, she launched Elissa Poppy as a brand.

The judges of the ASOS Fashion Discovery competition – from the leading online fashion and beauty store itself, as well as representatives from the British Fashion Council, i-D and Graduate Fashion Week – were amazed by Elissa’s ‘innovative’ brand.

The 22-year-old said: “My inspiration for the brand comes from many different places, including the artwork of Roy Lichtenstein which is really brought out in different products that I have.”


As well as £50,000 to develop her brand, winning the competition also entitles Elissa to mentoring from the judges, and will see her designs featured in ASOS’ 2017 Spring/Summer collection.

She said: “Finding out I had won was amazing! I was so emotional and just so happy.

“To have the support of ASOS is incredible, as well as all the other judges that were involved. It’s really given me the confidence to push forward and achieve the goals that I have.”

Elissa is also supported by The Crucible Project, DMU’s initiative helping graduates to get their business ideas off the ground.


The project offers a £5,500 grant to support living costs, free shared office space in The Innovation Centre, personalised mentoring and training workshops, and much more.

“The support is really beneficial. I work from a home studio at the moment, so being able to look into increasing my productivity and branching out is great,” said Elissa.

Among many other successes, Elissa has been recognised with a Young Designer Award in the St Andrews Charity Fashion Show - made famous in 2002 when Prince William reportedly fell for his future wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, after she modelled a see-through dress on the catwalk.

Ellie's Tommy Hilfiger career takes off before graduation
Design inspired by trip to local quarry wins Rachael top prize from H&M
Talent scouts from Gossard, ASOS and M&S among packed crowd at DMU fashion shows

Her work also took centre stage during the launch of rock legend Brian May’s latest book, a 3-D exploration of the history of the crinoline.


In addition, bespoke Elissa Poppy pieces are stocked by luxury labels across the world - Beautifully Undressed in the UK, Brigade Mondaine in France, and Anya Lust in the US - and her designs have featured in high-profile magazines like Vogue and Off the Rails.

Elissa would love to see stars like Rihanna and Beyoncé wearing her designs, saying: “They have such a presence and great style – to see them in Elissa Poppy would be a dream-come-true.”

About her time at DMU, Elissa said: “Contour Fashion has great links with industry and equips you with the skills employers are looking for.

“I got to work with lots of different brands and had the chance to make contact with industry experts.

“The tutors really get behind you, helping you gain publicity and instilling a strong sense of professionalism in you.”

Posted on Tuesday 15th November 2016

Search news archive

DMU Open Days