Work experience with Hugo Boss and a £2,500 bursary make it a great year for Tara at DMU

It’s fair to say that a lot of hard work and determination is paying off for De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) Fashion Design student Tara Dickson.


Tara with some of her samples and designs

Tara, from Belfast, has completed a placement year which saw her working for Hugo Boss in Germany and high-end fashion label Peter Pilotto in London, who made headlines last year for designing Princess Eugenie’s wedding dress.

Now Tara has bagged a prestigious £2,500 bursary which will help pay for the top-notch yarns and threads she wants to complete her final year catwalk collection.

The bursary was awarded by The Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters, one of the City of London’s Livery Companies which dates back to the 16th Century.

Tara received the national award after a gruelling interview process by members of the Framework Knitters who, after being impressed by the materials that Tara knits herself and her vision for her final year collection, also matched her up with an industry-based mentor who is at the end of an email whenever she needs advice.


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Tara said: “I was so surprised to win the bursary. I never thought I was as good as other people in my class. There are a lot of good knitters at DMU. But I was the only one to go forward to the national interview stage.

“I think they liked how different my approach was to knitting. I cut up the materials I knit and create patchwork so it doesn’t look like traditional knitwear. I also incorporate neoprene into my work and use cover seaming that you see in sportswear rather than traditional knitwear which is fully fashioned.

“The money is going towards my yarn. I’m using organic Egyptian cotton. It’s really high quality and feels so different.

“My outfits are inspired by the markings on sports courts and I use repeated patterns based on, for example, the lines on a basketball court. I’m also inspired by the silhouettes of trainers and also body mapping – how the muscles move. The working title for all this is Back to School Gym Class.”

Tara says she ‘absolutely loves it’ studying Fashion Design at DMU.

“The facilities are amazing,” she says. “I have my own allocated desk to work from. There’s not many other unis that offer you your own space to work from day in day out. I also love the Vijay Patel Building and I love the knitting rooms.

“The fact I can make my own fabrics is fantastic. There is so much in knitwear fashion that has not been discovered yet. There are so many new yarns to experiment with. I want to be a knitwear fashion designer.”

Tara is delighted she spent 12 months of her course completing the placements with Hugo Boss and Peter Pilotto.

“I would recommend placements 100 per cent. My placement year was the best year of my life so far,” she says.

“I have made lots of connections and I am still in contact with Hugo Boss. As soon as you leave uni Fashion Design graduates have to start doing placements so I just thought I might as well do mine now.

“It also helps so much when you return for your final year and are working on your final collection. I am also pretty sure I would not have got the Framework Knitters bursary if it had not been for the experience I had on my placement.”

Tara and the other 54 students in their final year in Fashion Design are all working on final collections. They have to create four outfits. The best collections end up in a DMU catwalk show at Europe’s largest student fashion event Graduate Fashion Week, this June.

Posted on Tuesday 9th April 2019

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