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Industry internship success for design students

American fashion retailer ANN INC, the parent company of iconic Ann Taylor and LOFT brands, has selected another Nottingham Trent University design student for a year-long paid internship in New York.

Textiles Samples
Samples of textiles created by Lynn Aldred

American fashion retailer ANN INC, the parent company of iconic Ann Taylor and LOFT brands, has selected another Nottingham Trent University design student for a year-long paid internship in New York.

The School of Art & Design at Nottingham Trent University is one of only three across the country which the women's speciality retailer has chosen to work with to recruit design interns. The successful partnership started over two years ago and in 2013, ANN INC. took on Textile Design student Jessica Wong from Nottingham Trent University.

This year, the company specified it wanted students working in the areas of embroidery, knits and textiles, as these are areas where schools in the UK excel in training.

From the CVs submitted, ANN INC. representatives chose a handful of applicants to interview and then selected five finalists who they asked to design a collection which matched either the LOFT or Ann Taylor brand.

After judging the submissions, they picked final-year weave textile designer Lynn Aldred. Lynn, 23, said she could not believe the news when her tutor told her she had been selected.

"I can't remember how I reacted actually but I think I asked if she was sure. The best part was knowing that ANN INC. enjoyed looking at the project I had created for their brands," she said.

Lynn will travel to New York in September, where she will work as a design intern on the LOFT design team. Lynn hopes the experience will help her to get a job at the end of her studies. "I would love to secure a position on a design team and further explore the potential of wovens in the fashion industry," she added.

"We have seen our partnership with Nottingham Trent University grow and are thrilled to congratulate Lynn Aldred on her acceptance into ANN INC.'s September 2014 programme", said Andora Whitfield, Director of Talent Resources for ANN INC.

“Jessica Wong, a recent NTU graduate, has been interning with our LOFT design team since September 2013 and has made strong creative contributions during her tenure."

Tina Downes, Acting Course Leader for Textile Design at Nottingham Trent University, said: "The partnership the University has with ANN INC. provides a fantastic opportunity for students. I was proud of the excellent project applications from all the finalists and a huge congratulations to Lynn for being selected."

The project is the latest in a line of Nottingham Trent University successes with industry partners.

Nottingham Trent University students have also this month been offered work placements at Sports Direct and Ted Baker following live projects and competitions the University has arranged through strong relationships forged with high-profile companies in the fashion sector.

Khairunisa Suhail will carry out paid work experience at Sports Direct and a group of students were given internships at Ted Baker after the firm's executives were impressed with the way they responded to a brief to create a menswear collection which they presented to representatives through a fashion show at the University.

The live student projects are a core element of many of the courses run from the University's respected School of Art & Design. The School this year celebrates 170 years of heritage, having developed out of the Nottingham Government School of Design, which was established by the Government to improve the design skills of industrial workers. That focus on employability for its students has remained at the fore and has helped the Fashion Textiles and Knitwear courses to achieve a 94.2% success rate of students going on to employment or further study.

Success stories of internships translating to full time employment include that of 2013 graduate, Kelly Walker, who accepted a permanent role as girls knitwear designer at Abercrombie & Fitch in Ohio following a three-month internship, offered due to a programme specially developed by the company for Nottingham Trent University.

Philippa Spoerry, Employability Coordinator, Student Employability and Enterprise at Nottingham Trent University, said: "The Art and Design Employability team works together to support the development of professional opportunities within the school. In addition to the two sandwich courses which provide a year in industry, all courses facilitate live experiences for their students, such as work experience, live projects, visiting practitioners and presentations from industry.

"We have also been actively sourcing opportunities with larger multinational companies for our talented students."

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Industry internship success for design students

Published on 8 April 2014
  • Category: Press office; School of Art & Design

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