Leading fashion brands have praised designs by students on De Montfort University Leicester’s (DMU) world-renowned Contour Fashion course.
Designers from Tommy Hilfiger flew in from Amsterdam and were joined by representatives from Wacoal and ASOS to judge the outcomes of a brief they set more than 60 second-year students.
Students were tasked with devising a sub-brand for either Tommy Hilfiger, one of the world’s leading designer lifestyle brands, or Wacoal, a European leader in A-K cup bra designs.
They had to identify a niche in one of the brand’s ranges and develop a sustainable womenswear or menswear collection, defining key shapes for spring/summer 2020 across their choice of lingerie, swimwear, leisurewear, nightwear or sportswear.
The judges took in an exhibition of the students’ 3D concepts – ranging from pop-up lookbooks to scale models – which were accompanied by individual portfolios featuring their research, trend mapping and development work.
Finalists were invited to present their ideas to the panel in person and due to the high standard of work an unprecedented six runner-ups were picked. The two overall winners, one for each brand, were Raychelle Hall and Florence Stanley.
Raychelle wowed the Tommy Hilfiger designers with a retro menswear tennis collection inspired by 1980s casual fashion. She impressed them with her bold use of colours and imaginative ways of creating prints such as stripes and checks.
She said: “I work well with colours, it’s my forte. But you have to have a bold personality to wear my designs and not be afraid to stand out.
“I wasn’t expecting to win at all, so I’m both shocked and happy. I’m so pleased I got the chance to work with industry experts and learn from them.
“The experience has definitely broadened my horizons on how to present my work. I also got to explore different facilities and disciplines like digital printing and photography, as well as to develop my sketching and perspective work in DMU’s dedicated drawing centre.”
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Designing with Wacoal’s Elomi range in mind, Florence grabbed the judges’ attention with her fuller figure lingerie collection promoting inclusivity. Her pieces are fully adjustable with slides, rings and ties, and come in a range of skin tones with red, black and white accents.
“My idea is about body positivity and I wanted to create a range that could make anyone outside of society’s standards feel good about themselves,” she said.
“I never win anything, so I really wasn’t expecting this. It’s so nice to have my work appreciated by the industry and to get this recognition. We’re all winners though.”
Charlotte Davies, a senior designer for Wacoal’s Elomi and Goddess brands, and a DMU Contour Fashion graduate, was among the panel of experts.
She said: “The students really stretched themselves and came up with some great base concepts that we could work from.
“Florence gave an amazing presentation and she really grasped the ethos of what Elomi aspires to be. I particularly liked her notion that all bodies are good bodies.
“Speaking as one of the biggest industry recruiters in the Midlands, DMU is our main sources of recruitment, so I’m really grateful for our relationship and the opportunity to scout new talent.”