Students realise long-held ambitions seeing their fashion designs hit the London catwalk

Every final year Fashion Design student at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) will be quick to tell you how tough and demanding their degree can be - it goes with the territory when you are studying such a prestigious course.

But ask any of them how they felt when they saw their final collections appear on the catwalk in London and they will all agree the late nights, stress, and even the occasional tears, were absolutely worth it.

 GFW19 - emily

A total of 59 of the third years joined the celebrations at this year’s Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) to see their final collections paraded down the runway.

Professional models, hair and make-up guys, lighting rigs, booming soundtracks and a capacity audience of 500-plus fashionistas, in the very cool surroundings of the Truman Brewery in London’s East End, all added to making the occasion such a rewarding one.

GFW19 edyta


Edyta Kalisz, from Nottingham, certainly knows about making sacrifices when it comes to being selected for the London show.

She was pregnant in her first year, commuted daily from Nottingham to Leicester to attend lectures and then, once little Constantine was born, mixed childcare with putting together her final collection.

Edyta, whose garments were created using clear PVC and metallic fabric, said: “It was really hard for me but I had lots of support. If you believe in yourself and what you can achieve you will do it. And if I could do this all again I would.

“I feel amazing. I was really happy seeing my collection on the runway. I will remember this for my whole life. This does not happen every day.”

GFW19 phoebe


Phoebe Hope Lister upcycled old World War II garments, such as an old poncho, which was laser cut to create lace.

She said: “I started crying when I saw my collection on the catwalk. I have been waiting for years for this to happen.


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“I went to college in Leeds before I came to DMU and back then I wanted to see my creations on the London catwalk.

“I have been at GFW since Saturday and the feedback I have had from designers and journalists has been amazing. I would love to start my own fashion business.”

GFW19 eleftheria


Eleftheria Stylianou hand painted the garments that adorned her lingerie-inspired collection.

She said: “I studied Fine Art and then I thought I would like to study fashion. I really wanted to incorporate the two talents into my final collection. I was so amazed when I saw the clothes that I had designed, on the runway. I did not believe I would be chosen for this.

“This is the greatest achievement so far in my life.”

GFW19 footwear

Footwear Design student Dimitri Gabellier was attracting a lot of attention on DMU’s stand in the Brick Lane venue. The stand was built by DMU fashion lecturers and students over the weekend and is manned by them from 8am to 7pm every day.

Dimitri’s trainer-influenced designs have been shortlisted for the YKK Awards, the Clarks Award and the Cordwainers’ Footwear Student of the Year award at GFW.

He said: “I am really happy about being here. I am not normally that confident about talking to lots of people about my work. I have learned more about promoting my designs in two days than I have in the last five years!”

Dimitri, who is originally from Montpellier in the south of France, added: “I came to the DMU Open Day and spoke to the tutors for hours. I got a really good vibe about the place and I am working in an amazing building (Vijay Patel Building) with amazing equipment.

“In a city like London, if you want to do some laser cutting you have to get on a tube for an hour and get charged a lot of money for someone to do it for you. At DMU I just go downstairs and use the equipment.”

GFW is one of the largest international shows for graduate designers and is seen as a springboard for students to make their way into the industry.

More than 40 universities with fashion courses take part and it attracts more than 30,000 guests each year.

Posted on Tuesday 4 June 2019

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