DMU student wins Lepel swimwear competition

A contour fashion student from De Montfort University could see her designs sold in major high street retailers, after winning a competition with British brand Lepel.

The brand opened the competition to all second-year students, who were briefed to create a small collection that could sit viably within the Lepel range in terms of brand profile, target market and sizing structure.

Twenty students were chosen to present their designs to a judging panel, made up of Lepel head of marketing Steve Hazlehurst, head designer Michelle Pretty-Smith and Lingerie Insight editor Sarah Blackman, before 19 year-old Poppy Spinks was chosen as the winner.

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Spinks will now work with the team at Lepel to put her designs into production. Her prize also includes an internship with the company and £500.

The student’s ‘Game On’ collection was inspired by the caged helmets and uniforms worn by American football players and includes a bikini and swimsuit made with blue Lycra, layered with white stretch mesh.

Each piece has a sporty, tomboy edge but features rulo strapping details and low neck-lines for a touch of femininity.

To complete the range, Spinks also created a simple, oversized, raglan t-shirt made with a fabric similar to neoprene and the same stretch mesh used in the swimsuit and bikini.

Hazlehurst commented on Spinks’ designs: “Poppy really impressed us with the direction she had taken with her collection. Her concept was very simple and incredibly clever, which made it all the more unique because it offered mass appeal with the use of colour blocking."

“Equally impressive was how Poppy had taken a different direction to all of her peers – it showed a great strength of character,” he added.

Reacting to the win, Spinks said: “I still can’t believe I’ve been given this incredible opportunity by Lepel. Working on this project has really helped me to develop confidence in my work and I am now thinking about a career focused on swimwear. This year has been fantastic, as well as working with Lepel I will also be interning at designer swimwear brand Biondi Couture – I’m so excited for the future.”

Second and third places were awarded to Alice Neves and Alison Hunt, who were also awarded valuable work experience.

Neves created a collection of swimwear inspired by music festivals, manipulating photographs of artists to develop a subtle print, while Hunt took inspiration from Islamic art to design a high-neck swimwsuit, bikini and kimono using a palette made up of blue and orange tones.

The judging panel also highly commended Harriet Cronin and Emily Storor for creating impressive prints and incorporating structure into their designs.

Pretty Smith said: “Overall, the level of talent was excellent, from creative concepts to the garment make-up."




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