DMU's top talent revealed for Graduate Fashion Week


Cutting-edge Fashion Design students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) will be showing their collections at the world’s biggest platform for young talent – Graduate Fashion Week (GFW).


Hoping to follow in the footsteps of their predecessor Hazel Symons, who last year won the Christopher Bailey Gold Award for her innovative collection created with bolts, the 13 finalists were chosen from a total of 33 entries following a rigorous selection day.

They will be showing their designs on the GFW catwalk at London’s Truman Brewery at 5pm on Tuesday 6 June, in front of industry talent spotters, leading fashion houses and journalists. All 33 students will also have the chance to display one outfit each on DMU’s stand, F6.

Inspired by working men and women - particularly painters and decorators - Allarna Webb’s womenswear collection combines linen, vinyl and acrylic paints.

The 21-year-old from Leicester said: “I was so relieved to be named as a finalist. Up until now I’ve been focussed on getting my collection finished and putting GFW to the back of my mind. Now I feel I can finally take in what an amazing opportunity it is.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing my full collection and everyone else’s, on models and on the catwalk. It will be quite a surreal experience, but such a good end to the course.”


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Having worked one day a week at retail giant Next, helping to design girls-wear jersey collections, Allarna is hoping for a more permanent role there after graduating.

“It’s been brilliant working in such a different area to what I’ve been doing on my course. I’ve enjoyed learning about proper work life and working on real briefs with real clients.”


Darren Scott’s menswear collection tells the history of hip-hop, mixing robust fabrics such as neoprene and with more traditional wool and jersey.

“Being older than most of my course mates has given me a different perspective, but this opportunity is definitely a good stepping stone and I’m looking forward to seeing the reaction my collection gets from industry professionals,” said the 36-year-old from Birmingham.

After graduating, Darren hopes to dedicate more time to growing his clothing label - MRC 9480 – which he launched while at college. He said: “Setting up a business in general is always tough so I wanted to give myself the best start I could.

“When I started Fashion Design I couldn’t sew, but now I definitely feel better equipped for the industry. I’ve learned a great deal including that fashion is an art – you get out what you put into it.”

Created with latex crinoline imported from Italy, Raabia Arif’s womenswear collection is digitally printed with her hand-drawn illustrations.

The 22-year-old from Leicester said: “It took a while for the good news to sink in, but it feels like what I’ve worked towards for the last three years has been realised. Designing a collection can be a private and intense process, so I’m really happy to be finally unveiling it on such a public platform.”

Originally set to study medicine at university, Raabia decided to pursue her creative passion instead, saying: “It’s ironic that I went from one demanding discipline to another, but I have no regrets.

“I love design and illustration is a big part of it for me, so whatever comes next I hope I have the chance to incorporate it into my future work.”


The 13 students whose designs will be showcased at Graduate Fashion Week are: Darren Scott, Sophie Lock, Allarna Webb, Rosie Allenby, Hannah Barnett, Ahnees Butt, Bethany Griffiths, Imogen Weller, Charlotte Cox, Lauren Nisbet, Eleanor Bandey, Raabia Arif and Abisola Akanni.

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

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 Friday 2nd June 2017

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