Designers from Vivienne Westwood sing Mariah's praise as she's shortlisted for fashion award

A student at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has been shortlisted for an international fashion accolade, after she wowed a panel of expert judges with her innovative garments.

Third-year Fashion Design student Mariah Esa has made it through to the next stage of the PCA Vision 2019 awards, after impressing industry leaders from the likes of Vivienne Westwood with her alternative clothing designs for construction workers.

This is the second time this year that Mariah has been named a finalist for a prestigious award - she was also shortlisted in the coveted Golden Shears awards.

Maria Esa, Fashion Design Student

“It’s so overwhelming to be shortlisted for such amazing awards,” said Mariah, 22. “It is a massive accomplishment for me to be recognised amongst some of the best up-and-coming talent in the fashion industry.”

For the PCA Vision 2019 awards, which invite students to showcase ideas of stylish and functional workwear for an industry of their choice, Mariah has designed a drawstring top and a pair of trousers for construction workers, using a retroreflective spray that makes them reflective when light hits.

“I couldn’t believe it when I got an email to say that experts from Vivienne Westwood, the Home Office and YKK had not only seen my work but that they really like it and had marked it highly,” she said.

As a finalist Mariah’s designs will go on display at the PCA Vision 2019 gala, hosted in London this June, where the winners will be announced.

Meanwhile last month, Mariah was invited to showcase her work on the catwalk at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall in London for the Golden Shears awards, which recognise students and apprentices throughout the country who demonstrate technical skills in design, cutting and tailoring.

Maria Esa's garment at the Golden Shears 2019

“The Golden Shears are known as the ‘Oscars of the tailoring world’ so it was a huge achievement for me to be shortlisted, especially because bespoke tailoring isn’t part of the course I’m studying,” she said. “Luckily I had great support from my tutors at DMU.”

Mariah designed an oversized woman’s trench coat, accompanied by a tartan skirt, which was modelled in front of hundreds of people and a panel of judges, including famous models Jodie Kidd and David Gandy.

“It was such an amazing experience and a great new challenge as a student,” she added. “I had no experience in bespoke tailoring and I was one of only two Fashion Design students shortlisted for the awards - the other 22 finalists were all interns and apprentices working in tailoring.

“I think that shows that hard work really can pay off.”

As well as preparing for the PCA Vision 2019 gala, Mariah is also gearing up for DMU Graduate Fashion Week in June, for which her collection is centred around reducing the amount of waste in the fashion industry.

Posted on: Friday 12 April 2019

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