It’s the video sharing app that has become a staple of internet culture and social interaction for Generation Z, spawning thousands of ‘influencers’ as well as millions of users.
Now global phenomenon TikTok has entered the world of design with its own range of exclusive merchandise, featuring pieces by Contour Fashion student Megan Cornhill from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).
Megan with her tennis skirt and holster which has been sent to three TikTok influencers
Megan, who has just been awarded a 2:1 in Contour Fashion, entered a competition set by TikTok and graduate support charity Graduate Fashion Foundation, to come up with a design that the social media platform’s influencers would wear.
Her drawings, for a pleated tennis skirt complete with holster belt accessory to carry your phone and tripod in, were picked out along with 57 other fashion students’ designs from around the country.
Megan was put up in a hotel for a week and given £500 prize money, all courtesy of TikTok. She was then taxied in each day to the Fashion Enter factory in Haringey, North London, where she met TikTok bosses, attended workshops, selected her fabrics and created three versions of her outfit.
The sheer size of the prize has not been wasted on Megan, who naturally captured all her week’s work on her TikTok account.
“This is obviously something that could lead to really big opportunities, so, yes, I was naturally a bit nervous when I arrived. TikTok is such a huge name,” Megan said.
The exclusive label stitched into Megan's pieces
“I am also a Contour Fashion student rather than a Fashion Design student and we work in very different ways, using different terms and references, so I was a bit anxious. I use fabrics in a different way to how a Fashion Design student might use them but the teams were so helpful and explained anything I didn’t understand.”
Megan’s three outfits have now been packaged and sent to TikTok influencers to wear as an exclusive piece. What’s more, if the people at TikTok, the Graduate Fashion Foundation and the unnamed influencer, like what they see, there is the opportunity for Megan’s design to go into production and get sent to other influencers and VIPs as exclusive TikTok merch.
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Megan said the tennis skirt and holster, which also included strips of coloured fabric based on the colours of the TikTok logo, attracted a lot of attention on the factory floor.
“One of the TikTok people said they loved the holster and wore it around the factory space saying they would love to make something like it,” she said. “I’ll just have to wait and see what happens but that was really nice feedback to hear.”
A close up of the holster created by Megan
Megan, who is returning to DMU in the autumn to study a master’s degree in Contour Fashion Innovation, added: “Everything was so professional. The people from TikTok and Graduate Fashion Foundation couldn’t do enough for us. They brought us our lunch every day, they sourced the fabrics we wanted to use and got them for us…it was so well organised. I can’t thank Graduate Fashion Foundation enough for the opportunity.”
There was one last surprise for Megan and her fellow students when fashion guru Henry Holland visited on the Friday with TikTok bosses, and everyone had to do a presentation to explain why they created each garment.
Megan, from Corby, Northants, had been looking forward to completing her final year collection at DMU which was nightwear influenced by Renaissance art, but lockdown put an end to that, as it did for thousands of other fashion students in the UK.
She said: “I think with lockdown meaning we had to end our courses early, it was really nice to go back into a room full of fabric and sewing machines for a week. I immediately thought ‘Yes, I’m back’. I had such an amazing time that when we left on the Friday there were more students coming in for a second week of designing. I wanted to say ‘Can I please stay for another week?’”
Hilary Alexander, President of the Graduate Fashion Foundation, said: “TikTok have helped our new graduates to experience manufacturing and we know that this experience has put them in a stronger position as they enter the competitive job market.”
Posted on Wednesday 29th July 2020