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Fashion Knitwear Design student wins an all-expenses paid trip to Japan

Final year student Freya Butler impressed judges with her innovative designs at the prestigious Shima Seiki Student Competition.

Freya Butler
Freya Butler with her winning garment

Organised by leading computerised flat knitting machinery manufacturer Shima Seiki, the competition was open to all final year undergraduate fashion and textiles students in the UK and Ireland.

Students had to set themselves a theme and colour palette following research on current industry trends. They were then encouraged to think innovatively, mixing processes and experimenting with different knitting techniques and machinery, while considering a potential end product.

BA (Hons) Fashion Knitwear Design and Knitted Textiles student Freya Butler won joint first place, securing a two-week all-expenses paid trip in August to the Shima Seiki headquarters in Wakayama, Japan. There she will undergo a bespoke training programme and further develop aspects of her winning project, while honing her skills in the SDS-One APEX3 design software.

Freya Butler

Freya told us: “The Shima Seiki Student Competition was a fantastic opportunity to showcase my technical skills, which can often be overlooked in many design competitions. I always feel that it’s important for designers to have a good technical knowledge to ground the work, and for Shima Seiki to give recognition to that really feels like they’re pushing the industry forward in all areas.

“What was also really positive was the real sense of team spirit amongst those from Nottingham Trent University (NTU) that you don’t often see in a design environment. The technical staff and students sharing their knowledge really supported this.”

She follows in the footsteps of NTU’s previous year’s winner, MA Fashion Knitwear Design student Kate Morris.

Freya’s inspiration came from the Devonshire Coronet, and the way in which the real and fake tiara were displayed simultaneously.

She added: “My knitwear designs reflect a dual surface layer, showing one design from afar and the other close to the eye. Particularly in the commercial design aspect, I felt it was important to create pieces that would be statement knits, but still a favourite piece.

“This project has helped to reinforce my knitwear collection and to challenge what was capable on a standard Dubied machine. After spending so long using software where anything is possible, it became a rewarding challenge to see if I could create the same effects without power machinery.”

Beginning with the full automation of the glove knitting machine in 1962, Shima Seiki has shown great strides in research, development and production of original hardware and software.

NTU’s dedicated fashion knitwear design facilities offer students state-of-the-art digital and traditional equipment to support students with exploring the limits of their creativity. Our knitwear hand flat workshops include Dubied and domestic machines, while our knitwear make-up workshops house circular machines, overlockers, lockstitch and button hole machines.

Students are taught and have access to the latest technology in knitwear CAD programming and have their fabrics knitted using industry-standard Stoll and Shima Seiki power knitting machines. In addition, they also have access to dye and digital printing facilities, embroidery workshops, and more.

Published on 9 May 2018
  • Subject area: Art and design
  • Category: Culture; School of Art & Design