Fashion Design students impress alumna Linda Leaver in design challenge

Fashion Design students awarded prizes by alumna Linda Leaver in a challenge to design adaptable clothing collections

Fashion students with Linda Leaver
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Linda Leaver Competition
Fashion students with Linda Leaver

Year Two students on the BA (Hons) Fashion Design course at Nottingham Trent University have been challenged by alumna Linda Leaver to design adaptable clothing collections for fashion conscious physically disabled people.

Based on Linda's personal experience of struggling to find suitable clothing after spending time in a wheelchair following a skiing accident, students were set the brief to explore the challenges faced by physically disabled individuals, and to create a range of practical garments without compromising style.

40 students undertook thorough research to help inform their designs, completing a sketchbook of research including visual imagery, design development and potential fabrics. The cohort was then shortlisted to 10 students, who each presented their ideas to Linda in May.

Following the presentations, Linda said: “I was exceptionally pleased by the number of entries to my fashion competition this year.  All were original, of a high standard and it was obvious that a great deal of research had been done into the fashion difficulties faced by young disabled people. I'm also very pleased to hear that the students enjoyed this challenge and that it increased their awareness of a sector of the population they might not have previously considered designing for.”

She continued: “As in the previous year, it was difficult to reduce the entries to 10 and then an incredibly difficult decision to choose the final 3 winners. It was a delight to present the prizes to such worthy winners.”

After a lengthy final selection session, Amber Osgood was named winner and awarded £5,000 for her project ‘Man on the Move’. Describing the inspiration behind her project, Amber said: “I decided to look at 1950’s motorsports, and designed a collection for a ‘man on the move’ – someone who can’t wait to get outdoors, get on the go, and doesn’t let their disability stop them from doing so.”

On winning, she said: “It was such a surreal experience! I was shaking and couldn’t believe it – after they called out third and second prize, I thought I didn’t have a chance! Everyones’ presentations were amazing and so much effort was put into the project, I felt so shocked but so happy knowing that what I had designed might actually help someone in the future.”

She continued: “It’s really opened my eyes more in terms of fashion as well as disabilities – before doing the project I would never have thought that clothing for wheelchair users would be any different until I actually did research and interviews on the subject.”

Andra Nistor was placed second and awarded £3,500 for her collection, and Amelia Hessian placed third, winning £2,500 for her designs. Andra said: "Being awarded second place in this competition was completely unexpected. I am really grateful for this opportunity and I think that everyone saw it as a real challenge. It is something that everyone who entered the competition can be proud of adding to their portfolios."

Dawn Eyre, Senior Lecturer in Fashion Design and the academic involved in the project, said: “This is the second year that we have ran this project, and the students have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of designing for the physically disabled. I would like to thank Linda for the ongoing support and the kind scholarship awards over the past two years."

Fashion Design students impress alumna Linda Leaver in design challenge

Published on 16 May 2017
  • Subject area: Art and design
  • Category: School of Art & Design

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