River Island set Fashion Accessory Design students a creative collection challenge

Second year students create accessory design collections in response to River Island’s A/W18 design brief

Fashion Accessory Design students at the River Island presentations
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Fashion Accessory Design students at the River Island presentations

Two groups of second year students on the BA (Hons) Fashion Accessory Design course have been involved in an exciting live project with high street fashion retailer River Island. The students presented their design ideas to senior River Island designer Tara Holt when she visited NTU this December, to see the collections they had developed for the brand’s winter range.

The project required the students to research the brand and their target customer base, and to develop their ideas in line with forward trends and style predictions. The groups presented concept work, research outcomes, sketchbooks and full size samples of their designs to Tara and course tutors Lee Mattocks and Maria Stafford, as well as fellow students.

Team 1 presented Crystal Wonder, a bold collection of futuristic geometric designs in metallic, pastle and reflective leathers. Consisting of Ellen Carter, Nick Lewis and Mengwei Gui, Tara was highly impressed.

She commented on their approach and consideration of the customer: “You’ve shown a very mature approach to your collection and referenced the River Island customer really well – you have some lovely creative ideas, but at the same time you’ve been mindful of costing and manufacturing implications. Your sketchbooks and development work are inspiring and you have some amazing ideas.”

Team 2 based their collection, Opulent Aurora, on a baroque, rococo style, featuring lavish velvet, embroidery and feathers on rich colour bases. The team members were Sophie Roberts, Tara Plummer, Elle Royal, Wai Ming Sze, Yurim Noh and Wanzhi Pang.

Design work from the Crystal Wonder collection
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Design work from the Crystal Wonder collection

In response, Tara commented: “The overall look is great – I particularly love the embroidery and surface texture details. You’ve also correctly identified that our customer is a style follower, not a trend setter, so the influence of trends and the aspirational brands you have outlined is very important.”

After careful consideration, Ellen Carter was named as the overall project winner. She will have the opportunity to undertake a summer placement at the River Island head office, working alongside the design team.

Course leader Lee Mattocks said: "River Island support our students through summer paid placements, industry projects and employment after graduation and these real life work experiences are invaluable in helping our students  to secure jobs as designers."

On Ellen being named winner, he was extremely pleased for her. "The winning student Ellen Carter is a huge fan of the brand and hopefully this will eventually lead to a paid role at this market level when she graduates.”

He added: "River Island really enjoy and appreciate the standard of 3D manufacture our students achieve and love that our students fully understand the manufacture processes."

River Island set Fashion Accessory Design students a creative collection challenge

Published on 20 December 2017
  • Category: Culture; School of Art & Design

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