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Talented DMU students rewarded by supermarket giant


On-trend designs by students have led to valuable placements at Sainsbury's Home, thanks to De Montfort University Leicester's (DMU) partnership with the award-winning team.


Glazed plant pot by Ellie

Ellie Barton and Jack Casey, who study Design Crafts, and Textile Design students Victoria Herbert and Amelia Hunt, are each set to complete a two-week work placement this summer at the company’s Coventry headquarters.

Their ideas impressed the team, which set students from both courses a live brief to design their choice of home accessories for autumn/winter 2018, based on one of three trends.

Students were required to present their research and initial ideas, alongside a group of objects or a selection of prints and patterns.

Last year the fruitful partnership led to Design Crafts student Alice Funge and Textile Design student Sophie Hingston displaying their work on the Sainsbury's stand at New Designers, one of the most important design events for emerging talent.


Victoria's mustard and navy knitted textile

This resulted in Alice winning the New Designers National Trust Artisan & Craft Associate Prize Opportunity and being commissioned to create a four-piece product range (144 items in total) exclusively for the National Trust Artisan & Craft Collection.

Sophie won the W’innovate and Wilko Award with a £1,000 prize and two-week work placement, landing her a permanent job.

This year, Ellie wowed the design team with her glazed ceramics, which started life as slip cast tableware and evolved into hanging planters.

"I couldn’t believe I won a placement at first, but I'm looking forward to seeing what it will be like in a real workplace and what a full-time job involves. It's just the opportunity that I was looking for and it will look brilliant on my CV," said Ellie.


Woodland animals screen-printed on cotton by Amelia

“The design team is big, which could have been intimidating, but they’re all so nice. I was impressed that they made the time to come to our studios to see our visualisation boards and product ranges before picking their winners.”

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Victoria caught the team’s attention with a range of five woven textile samples designed for interiors such as cushions, rugs and throws.

She said: “They really liked my mustard design and it was a massive compliment to hear that it’s the kind of thing they are looking to stock next season,” she said.

“I’ve never done anything like this before and it was extremely rewarding, earning me my best grade to date. The experience also confirmed that I'd like to do more interior designs rather than fashion, even though I've always enjoyed both.”


Jack's ceramic range with copper details 

Claire Lerpiniere, Senior Lecturer in Textile Design, said: "Our partnership with Sainsbury's Home confirms that what we teach is absolutely relevant to industry and provides amazing opportunities for our students to translate it into real world applications.

"The design team have been incredibly generous with their time and feedback, from briefing students at the start to visiting mid-project and returning to pick winners."

David Hutcheson, a designer at Sainsbury’s Home, said: “Sainsbury’s Home is proud to support British design at a grass roots level by partnering with DMU’s creative programmes.

“This relationship is continually strengthened by the quality of work and high level of craftsmanship we see each year, as well as the leadership and skill delivered by the tutors and staff.”

After Design Crafts won the Best Stand Award last year, DMU is returning to showcase its top talent at New Designers from Wednesday 27 to Saturday 30 June.

Posted on Wednesday 23rd May 2018

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