It took three years of inspired teaching mixed with bucket loads of creativity and a fair share of stressful moments - and then it was all over in a barrage of catwalk photographer’s flashes.
A total of 13 of the Class-of-2017 from De Montfort University Leicester's (DMU) Fashion Design course saw their full final year collections paraded in front of an audience of major influencers, including industry leaders, journalists and fashion bloggers, during Graduate Fashion Week, the world's biggest event of its kind for students.
Another 19 students were given the opportunity to parade a single outfit from their collections in front of a packed audience at the Old Truman’s Brewery in trendy Brick Lane in London’s East End.
The students said they had the experience of a lifetime fitting their clothes on professional models, while make-up and hair was styled by experts from L’Oreal.
Each collection was strutted down the catwalk to thumping soundtracks while family and friends cheered and whooped as each collection was displayed.
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Darren Scott, whose collection was first down the catwalk, said: "It's a brilliant opportunity to showcase the work in front of people from the industry here today.
"The inspiration for my work has been hip-hop culture and its evolution from the 70s up to the present day with elements of the Bronx.
"During my time on the course, I've been sampling everything really, from formal suit wear to hip hop street designs.
"I was picked to showcase my work first, which is a fantastic accolade and is something I am incredibly proud of.
"I've had a lot of positive feedback today, which I am really happy about, as people are understanding and appreciating what's in my head.
"I already have my own machinery and a studio and my aim is to build that momentum and continue to replicate what I've already produced for the course and develop new designs."
Allarna Webb, whose vinyl and linen clothing was inspired by working men and women, added: "The feeling of being here today is really exciting and it's such a privilege to showcase my work on this scale.
"I'm so proud of what I've achieved and today is a day we've all been building up to so I have a whole bunch of emotions.
"This is the culmination of years of hard work and late nights and now that the show is over, it actually feels real and I'm excited for what's next.
"I've been on a placement with Next for one day a week over the past year and I will be going back there for two weeks now that I've completed my studies. I'm constantly learning every day and the experience at Next has given me further opportunities to develop my skills."
Hannah Barnett said: "Today has made me feel so proud to be a student at DMU and a representative of the course.
"This is what everyone works up to and it's a manifesto of your work to showcase to people from industry which is an experience which has made me feel sick with nerves, but it is all so worth it.
"I've enjoyed the course so much and I'm looking at doing a Masters to further my skills and get to where I want to be, to be a designer and showcasing my designs not just across the UK, but the world."
Rosie Allenby, whose knitted collection was inspired by the story of immigration, said "This is such an opportunity for us all and I feel so honoured.
"Not every course at DMU gets an opportunity like this, so it is a huge occasion and a platform for us all to shine.
"I want to be a knitwear designer, which is my niche really. It is really technical and I love a challenge."
Eleanor Bandey, whose work was designed to empower women by mixing men’s tailoring with a feminine feel, added: "This brings to an end four incredible years at DMU for me after the three year course and a year out between 2nd and 3rd year to do an internship at ASOS.
"Working there was a real eye-opener and gave me experiences which I never thought I would have.
"I was regularly producing designs which we were given, to go into sale, an experience which has benefited me so much in terms of designing my work this year."
Lauren Nisbet gave a contemporary look to tartans and knitwear. She said: “It was pretty intense back stage because you have worked so hard for three years and this is your moment – two minutes of your collection on a catwalk.
“The course has been stressful at times and full of ups and downs but I can honestly say it has been well worth it.”
Sophie Lock said her catwalk collection was inspired by all the best qualities you inherit from your parents and her mum and dad were there to see her London debut.
She said: “It all happened so quickly. I was watching backstage on a screen and I just wanted to cry. It was so overwhelming. You have been working all day every day for so long to see work personal to you appear on a catwalk.
“I have known for years I wanted to be in this industry – ever since I was a kid – so this meant a lot.”
Posted on Wednesday 7th June 2017