Debenhams' delight as department store giant sponsors DMU's contour catwalk show

Department store giants Debenhams – which is one of the largest lingerie retailers in the world – added further prestige to a De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) catwalk show by being named as headline sponsors.


The stunning London show, in the exquisite surroundings of the Grand Temple at Freemasons’ Hall, Covent Garden, featured cutting-edge designs created by DMU’s Contour Fashion students and marked the 70th anniversary of what is the oldest course of its kind in the world.

The show had some of the biggest names in the industry waxing lyrical about the special event and Debenhams’ bosses were equally generous in their praise while expressing their delight at being main sponsors of the event.   

Sharon Webb, Debenhams head of lingerie buying and design, said: “I can honestly say this was one of the best shows I have seen.

“I thought each individual collection was well considered and some of the technical detail at this level was very strong.

“I was excited to see that there is this amount of fresh young talent in the industry.”


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Susie Calvert, trading director for lingerie at Debenhams, added: “I thought it was a fantastic show. The standard was exceptional and the variety of collections was amazing.

“Every range we saw seemed to have something very specific to the student who designed it and they all showed excellent technical abilities.”

The sponsorship deal was struck between DMU Contour Fashion course leader Gillian Proctor and Debenhams’ head of menswear Julian Fuller.

Julian said: “I am incredibly proud that we sponsored the show. I have been friends with Gillian for some time and have guest lectured at DMU for a few years. It might seem a strange connection between a head of menswear and contour fashion but I see in this course a template that should be copied in every aspect of fashion from menswear to children’s wear.

“Gillian’s course bridges that gap between industry and education seamlessly and that is something to be admired. So when I heard it was the 70th anniversary of the DMU Contour Fashion course – and because Debenhams is one of the leading retailers in lingerie in the world – it seemed foolish not to jump on such a well-established event.”

The students, whose collections ranged from lingerie and swimwear to corsetry and nightwear, had been selected to take part following a tough selection process the previous week, involving industry experts who have formed links with DMU via course leader Gillian.

Aliza Reger is daughter of the legendary Janet Reger, and took over her mother’s luxury brand in 2005. Janet Reger was among the first students to study Contour Fashion at DMU before setting up her world famous business which has since gone on to retail Reger by Janet Reger at  Debenhams.

Aliza said: “We had the most magnificent venue, the whole staging of the show was superb and the talent was exceptional. I can’t single anything out as it wouldn’t be fair. I really did love the whole show. My mother was among the first to study Contour Fashion at the university so I am very proud to be here.”

Contour Fashion at DMU was established in 1947 by the British Corset Industry to support the rise of innovative and technical local designers.

Today it is a course dedicated to intimate apparel design and is widely regarded by industry experts as one of the best in the world.

Over the last 70 years, thousands of DMU students have dared to be different and created stunning designs which have earned themselves prestigious positions within the industry.

Course leader Gillian has built strong links with the contour industry and was this year recognised for her work nurturing the next generation of talent by being named in the Lingerie Insight Power List. She also has a lifetime achievement award from the UK Lingerie Awards.


Posted on Tuesday 20th June 2017

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