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CLASS OF 2020: Striking knitwear earns Hannah widespread recognition


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From Graduate Fashion Week to Fashanne, Hannah Strike’s distinctive knitwear designs have been gaining momentum during the global pandemic.

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Hannah Strike

The Fashion Design graduate from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), who will be celebrating her First-class degree results at the online celebration of the Class of 2020, was initially recognised at the start of the year by the Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters.

One of just 18 successful designers from across the country, Hannah was presented with The Howard Ellis Award – a £1,500 bursary – after impressing the judges with her womenswear.

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Pleated knitwear adds texture to Hannah's collection

The 22-year-old from Tamworth said: “It was such an honour to be recognised by the experts at the Framework Knitters Company. The bursary gave me the opportunity to excel in the development of my final collection. It felt both surreal and incredible to have achieved this.”

Hannah’s final collection cleverly combines clashing colours, as well as knit and woven fabrics, to create different layers and textures. It’s based on a personal connection between Hannah and her two sisters, with each sister’s personality, individual style and hobbies being the creative driver.

The defining feature that sets Hannah’s collection apart is her pleated knitwear, especially the ways in which it enables her to breathe new life into second hand items.

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Hannah's final collection line-up  - Strike A Pose

Her techniques were inspired by a week-long internship with Ciment Pleating – the UK’s oldest pleating firm.

Since then, Hannah’s collection was nominated for three awards at Graduate Fashion Week, which showcases hundreds of emerging designers worldwide, and was shortlisted for the People’s Choice Award in the Fashanne Awards – run by BBC East Midlands Today presenter Anne Davies.

“With all of the physical shows that we’ve worked so hard towards being cancelled due to coronavirus, I’m really grateful for the online exposure,” said Hannah.

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Her bold designs are inspired by her relationship with her sisters

“The response I had in the Fashanne Awards was incredible. Even though I didn’t win, I am ecstatic with the hundreds of votes I received. It’s been such a positive experience and it’s definitely helped to get my name out there.”

Hannah has also entered the I-D and ARTSTHREAD Global Design Graduate Show and is eagerly awaiting the announcement of the finalists later this month.

She said: “I was disappointed that DMU had to close because of the national lockdown measures, as it meant I had to isolate at home away from my classmates and studio space. Finishing my degree in a global pandemic made it a very tough few months, but I am so proud of everything I achieved.

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An editorial image from Hannah's portfolio

“I’m heartbroken that I haven’t been able to make my full collection, but the university has offered us the chance to return to campus once it reopens to use the facilities, which I’m looking forward to.

“Our tutors have been so supportive in this difficult time and they even changed our whole final-year brief to make it more achievable with us all working from home.”

Maintaining her focus in challenging times is a skill Hannah developed during a year-long work placement as a design assistant at British women's clothing retailer Wallis.

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Hannah with her festive jumper designs for Wallis

One of her highlights was designing a range of eight Christmas jumpers that went on sale during the festive season last year. 

“Seeing my designs sold in stores and online was amazing, especially when I was told one of the jumpers was a best seller. My family made sure they each got one to wear on Christmas Day, which was so rewarding! The whole year gave me a really good insight into the industry,” she said.

“Working in a small team, I gained lots of experience across different areas – from researching new trends and presenting ideas to the team, to being involved throughout the whole creative design process and assisting established designers.

“My placement helped me grow as a person and I developed great confidence within my role. I’m excited to get back into the industry and start my new chapter as a graduate.”

Posted on Tuesday 18th August 2020

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