Five Contour Fashion students from De Montfort University have won a competition launched by global lingerie brand Triumph.
Set by Sian Thomas, global head of Creative Design at Triumph International, the brief was to reinvent the flower from a fashion perspective and to innovate new concepts of lace.
All 58 final year Contour Fashion students had the chance to take part in the competition, and after submitting a collection of six designs each, 23 finalists were selected to make one of their designs and present it in front of a judging panel led by Sian and Gillian Proctor, the Contour Fashion programme leader at DMU.
The high standard of designs inspired by wide-ranging elements – from Venus flytrap plants at Kew Gardens to the intricate metalwork on churches found in Prague – compelled Sian to pick five students to collaborate with on upcoming Triumph projects.
Ffion Piper and Abi Osborne won the fashion category, while Beatrice Russell and Catherine Lovick were picked in the innovation category, and Mollie Falkingham was offered employment as a freelance CAD designer.
Following praise for the sophistication, colour balance and proportions of her laser-cut suedette – an imitation suede fabric – design, Ffion said: “I really wasn’t expecting my name to be called out, but it felt amazing. Especially knowing that Sian thought my design could appeal to the wider Triumph client-base.”
Abi’s intricate hand embroidery was selected for reinventing classic black lingerie with a statement neckline. She said: “The hand embroidery took so much longer than I imagined so it was great that all my hard work paid off.”
The innovative use of laser-cut silicone banding in her designs is what got Beatrice noticed.
She worked on her idea together with the research and development department at Stretchline, a global elastic manufacturer and sponsor of DMU’s course. She said: “It’s very surreal to be selected, but I’m excited to take my prototype further with Triumph.”
Meanwhile, Catherine’s clever use of heat-activated liquid crystal ink resulted in an offer from Triumph to collaborate on a sports collection and Mollie, who takes great pride in making her two-dimensional computer designs appear three-dimensional, looks forward to freelancing “as soon as possible”.
Sian said: “These are my favourite kind of days – getting out of the office and discovering new talent. It’s been very inspiring and I’m impressed with the range of designs the finalists presented and by the variety of skills they displayed.
“I’m always looking for people who are willing to push the boundaries and I feel I’ve found that at DMU.”
Gillian said:“Triumph has a long-standing reputation for their innovative and technologically defined methodologies and we’re pleased that DMU has developed a strong relationship with them.
“This has been a challenging experience for our students who have stretched their conceptual, technical and manufacturing capabilities. It’s great that a brand of their standing has continued for a number of years to underpin the development of the emerging talent for our industry.”