Fashion students dominate the shortlist for the a futuristic design project

Date 30.03.2016

Fashion students from the University of Northampton are dominating the shortlist for this year’s Project 20/20 Design Awards, a national competition focused on the professional clothing industry.

Gemma Stevens, Sharon Mensa, Bethany Martin, Lauren Jones and Mollie Crabtree are all second years studying BA (Hons) Fashion and make up five of the 12 students shortlisted from a number of leading fashion and textiles universities and college across the UK.

The competition brief was to create their interpretation of professional work clothing for the year 2020 and both finalists and winners will have the opportunity to showcase their designs on a live catwalk at the Professional Clothing Show in June.

Gemma Stevens commented: “For the Project 20/20 competition, I had initially decided to redesign the beautician’s tunic, but then decided to focus on the uniform that spa therapists wear. It was my menswear design consisting of a tunic, trousers and a coat, that make the shortlist and I took inspiration from 1940s tailoring as it was an era that saw much change to both women’s and men’s silhouette in fashion.

“I was very glad to hear that five of us had been shortlisted and even more excited that I was one of them!”

Bethany Martin’s submission comprises men’s trousers and a unisex waterproof coat, both of which are designed for outdoor wear and are catered for people who work in conservation, environmental protection or similar outdoor work. She said: “I chose to do this as I was inspired by my brother who volunteers for the Canal and River Trust and the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. As his work is based outdoors, I thought it would be interesting to design a range of clothing that takes into account elements, such as durability and weather protection and I have incorporated imagery and colours from the natural environment.

“I am very proud to have made the shortlist for this competition as I have found it very interesting and enjoyable to focus my skills on a different area of design to what I have previously experienced. This competition has revealed the potential in acquiring a career in this field which I had not considered before. I am thrilled to have made it this far!”

Mollie Crabtree’s design was corporate wear for Nationwide Building Society. She said: “I wanted to recreate a uniform that would be flexible and be able to be worn by all members of staff across the building society so it was easily recognisable. I used the colours from Nationwide’s logo as inspiration and plan to create a women’s jacket, a dress and a silk scarf. When designing, I conducted a questionnaire with some members of staff to find out what they would want from a uniform and took this on board with my designs.

“It is very exciting opportunity to be shortlisted for the project 20/20 Young Design Award as it is great to see that hard work does pay off and being recognised outside of the University is very rewarding.”

Lauren Jones used her current job at Domino’s Pizza as inspiration for her design. She said: “I re-created the women’s uniform based on mine and what my other colleagues liked and disliked about the uniform. I decided to make it all black and opted for fitted cigarette trousers for a smarter look, a fitted stretch top with the logo, including a hat and a bum bag. Another factor that inspired me was the understanding of the functions needed when being on the go, serving customers and how useful the bum bag would actually be to store pens, receipts and any cash from quick payments. My knowledge about working in this environment helped inspire and trigger key ideas of what kind of uniform would work best for this, helping me to improve the uniform itself.

“I was shocked to be shortlisted! A few days before the deadline, I was unsure whether to even submit it as I didn’t feel the design was good enough for the competition. Looking back I’m glad I did, as it was definitely worth sending off and taking that risk!”

Jane Mills, Senior Lecturer in Fashion at the University of Northampton commented: “’We are obviously thrilled that five of the 12 fashion finalists for the prestigious Professional Clothing Awards are from the University of Northampton. The competition has really opened their eyes to the enormous scope of opportunity that is available to young designers wishing to forge a career in the world of professional clothing.”

Find out more about the BA (Hons) Fashion course