Legendary designer Zandra shows support for creative students

Legendary designer Zandra Rhodes paid a very special visit to graduates showcasing their final projects at London’s New Designers showcase.

Zandra, who was given an honorary degree at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) and donated her archive to the university, was there to support students from Design Crafts, Fashion Textile and Textile Design.

THUMB zandra pic

She said: “I was really happy to be able to visit the De Montfort stand at New Designers. It was impressive how each of the graduates were standing by the side of their work and could talk well about the aspect of textiles that interested them.

“They all had cards and postcards very professionally by their work. It was impressive that De Montfort had managed to get a prime visibility position in the hall.”

The prestigious show offers an opportunity for students to showcase their work to industry employers, media, buyers and trend predictors.

A collection of tableware by DMU Design Crafts student Sophie Wootton won a Habitat Loves award. Sophie’s collection of ceramic mugs, plates and bowls were inspired by the colour palette present in her late Grandma’s painting, and how she left a mark on Sophie’s life. Each piece of her collection contains a unique indent to show represent the metaphorical mark of the maker, which frames her whole collection.

She said: “I am feeling extremely grateful that Habitat have shown me their support, and that they really believe in me and appreciate my work.”

INSET olivia wood ND

A collection of wooden stools made from unwanted timber created by fellow Design Crafts student Olivia Miles also made the shortlist for the Creative Conscience Best in Show for Social and Environmental Impact award. Olivia’s collection was inspired by her passion for sustainable design.

She said: “All three pieces in my collection are made from one tree. I used unwanted, unused ash timber that contained disease, meaning the tree had to be chopped down anyway to stop the spreading of the disease. I used something destructive to create a functional product.

“I feel proud to have been shortlisted for this prestigious award and that I have accomplished something, and that I am getting positive recognition for my work...as a designer you always want to be sustainable, that’s the goal, so it’s great to be recognised for this”.

INSET sophie nd

Among the students exhibiting was Printed Textile Design Student, Callum Hall, who displayed collection of wallpapers based on Greek architecture.

“My girlfriend is Greek and we have been to Greece a lot of times. Walking around and looking at all of the bold buildings really inspired me, and it made me appreciate the architectural value of the infrastructure.”

Callum also received a Habitat Love award for his collection at the exhibition. Speaking of his gratitude, he said: “You spend so much time questioning your work and when you get industry coming up to you and giving you an award, it confirms that the negative thoughts and doubts that you have about your own work are not true.”

DMU’s Design Crafts course won the prize for Best Stand at the show. Edmond Byrne, programme leader of BA Design Crafts, said: “We wanted to make the stand as interactive as possible by displaying samples and look books alongside the finished products. We’re really excited to show our students work in such a dynamic way.”

New Designers is a two-part show that highlights the work of more than 3,000 students from across the UK. Part 1 promoted the Design Crafts and Textile Design degree courses, whilst part two features the work of DMU students on Product Design courses.


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Posted on Tuesday 11 July 2023

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