Fashion Design students impress Paul Smith with menswear design portfolios

Final year students presented their portfolios in response to a design brief set for the Paul Smith Japan collection

Amelia Hessian, Sian Drakard, Amber Osgood, Giuliano Martello and Robyn Pennant in the Fashion Design studios
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Amelia Hessian, Sian Drakard, Amber Osgood, Giuliano Martello and Robyn Pennant in the Fashion Design studios

Menswear students in their final year of the BA (Hons) Fashion Design course at Nottingham Trent University have recently devised innovative collection concepts for Paul Smith’s Japan menswear label.

As a global fashion company with Nottingham roots, the Paul Smith Japan collection is defined by a British aesthetic, pairing classic tailoring with eccentric prints. Renowned for its classic cutting and quirky detailing, the students worked on ideas underpinned by this design ethos.

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

Their work was required to culminate in a minimum of 30 designs and a final line up of 6 outfits, supplemented by fabric swatches and print samples, along with comprehensive concept research visuals and a professionally bound report.

Paul Smith Men’s Coordinator, Giuliano Martello, has been on hand to oversee the project from its outset in October last year. He returned at the end of November to review the students’ work and to provide feedback, before they presented their finished work to him this January.

Speaking about the students’ work, Giuliano was overwhelmed: “I was really taken aback by the effort and amount of hard work the students put into this project.”

Amber Osgood's winning line-up
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Amber Osgood's winning line-up

Amber Osgood was selected as the overall winner of the project, with Amelia Hessian placed second, and Sian Drakard and Robyn Pennant placed in joint third.

Amber’s concept, "Eel Pie Island", was inspired by the tiny island on the Thames which once housed the now legendary Eel Pie Hotel. It evolved into an eccentric 50s and 60s music venue playing host to the likes of The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and more. It went on to become a Hippie commune of sorts by 1970, until a mysterious fire triggered its demise and eventual demolition.

On selecting a winner, Giuliano found the decision to be very difficult. However, he explained why Amber was named overall winner: “I thought the Eel Pie Island idea was really quirky! I just loved it, and so would the Japanese market.” He also praised Amelia’s project: “The way she evolved her idea was brilliant,” he said.

Amber’s win will see her taking up a work placement with Paul Smith after she graduates this summer, as well as fabric sponsorship for her graduate collection. She said: “It was an incredible opportunity! I felt really overwhelmed and shocked when I won - I’ve never designed any tailored garments before, so it’s made me even more confident in myself and my work.”

She continued: “I’m going to produce a sportswear combined line-up, with the Paul Smith fabrics used for jerseys, denims, shirts and linings.”

Senior Fashion Design lecturer Dawn Eyre, who coordinated the project, said: “This is the second year that our menswear students have had a fantastic opportunity to work on such a high profile brief with Paul Smith. The standard of work was excellent and the students thoroughly enjoyed the project. We would like to thank Giuliano and Paul Smith Japan for their ongoing support.”

Fashion Design students impress Paul Smith with menswear design portfolios

Published on 14 February 2018
  • Category: Culture; School of Art & Design

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