Paul Smith sets a unique creative challenge for final year Fashion Design students

As one of Britain’s leading fashion companies, Paul Smith continued its support for NTU’s School of Art & Design students this year by creating a specific brief for final year students of BA (Hons) Fashion Design.

Matthew Lucas with his portfolio in the Bonington Studios
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Paul Smith Competition winner Matthew Lucas

For the Autumn/Winter 2017 brief, students were asked to devise a collection concept for Paul Smith’s Japan Collection menswear label, taking into account how Paul Smith’s design signatures of classic tailoring and bold print are reflected within the Japanese market.

In developing their concepts, students were asked to undertake full research of the market and customer base in order to build a comprehensive market report that assessed Paul Smith Japan Collection’s market level, demographic, price points and overall design style.

The visual element of the brief challenged the students to produce a minimum of 30 designs including illustrations, fabric swatches and print samples. This was then refined to six final outfits that needed to be fully illustrated and styled.

Paul Smith Men’s Coordinator, Giuliano Martello, was involved with the BA (Hons) Fashion Design students from the outset of the project in October 2016. Giuliano returned at the end of November to review their work and provide feedback, before the students finally presented their finished work to him two months later.

Matthew Lucas was selected as the overall winner at the project finale in February, with fellow students Sarah Rafferty and Tiffany Rabett placed as joint runners up.

Matt’s concept, titled "The English Gentleman" was inspired by a visit to Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. The contrast between the ornate style of the house and the contemporary sculpture surrounding it set the framework for his project.

Speaking about the project, and Matt’s win, Giuliano Martello said: “Being involved in a project like this is a first for me; it’s been a great experience and the overall standard has been really good.

“Selecting the overall winner was a challenging decision, and that’s why we also named two runners-up, but in the end Matt’s work was selected for his excellent attention to detail, the quality of his research and his market focus. He really took on board the specifics of the brief and the Japanese market, which is very important for us as a brand.”

NTU fashion design tutor, and former Paul Smith designer, Dawn Eyre, said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity for our students. To work with such an established designer on a challenging, market-led brief for Paul Smith’s Japan Collection is an invaluable experience. We are also very grateful to Giuliano for the time and input he has given to the project, and to the company for their generosity in donating the fabric for Matt’s collection, and the opportunity of a placement in the summer.”

On being named overall winner, a delighted Matt said: “I’m so happy to have been selected - the whole experience has really made me grow as a designer, as the brief really allowed me to push my design skills. Working for an unfamiliar market, I enjoyed seeing through the research process to the end product. I think my strengths in this project were bringing together sampling and developing a strong understanding for the market. I’m really looking forward to my placement at Paul Smith in July.”

Matt’s win secured him a work placement with Paul Smith after he graduates, as well as fabric sponsorship for his final collection. This will be showcased on the NTU catwalk as part of the final year fashion design show on May 25th in the Newton building on City Campus.

Paul Smith sets a unique creative challenge for final year Fashion Design students

Published on 17 March 2017
  • Category: School of Art & Design

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