Four students awarded internships with international fashion company Ascena in New York

Final year students Phoebe Bonnell, Georgina Chase, Katie Culpin and Katie Small will embark on Ascena’s Global Graduate Design Internship programme this September

Textile Design students Katie Culpin, Phoebe Bonnell and Katie Small
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Textile Design students Katie Culpin, Phoebe Bonnell and Katie Small

Four final year students from the School of Art & Design have recently been awarded internships with international fashion retailer Ascena. Phoebe Bonnell, Katie Culpin and Katie Small, all BA (Hons) Textile Design students, and Georgina Chase, a BA (Hons) Fashion Knitwear Design and Knitted Textiles student, will join Ascena's Global Graduate Design Internship programme this September, offering them a world-class opportunity to work in the company's offices in New York.

This year only a handful of internships were on offer to UK students, so for NTU students to have been awarded four of these is a true accolade to the Fashion, Textiles and Knitwear Design courses here at NTU. This year also marks the first time the company have selected talent to support a number of their brands; Lou & Grey, LOFT and Maurice.

The application process was again rigorous, with students being required to complete brand-based projects. These were followed by presentations and interviews with senior Design and HR staff from Ascena. The selection process aims to identify and appoint highly talented graduating students to work as temporary Design Assistants, to provide specialist support to critical design categories.

We chatted to the students about their success in this competitive project. Katie Culpin told us: “I was completely in shock when I was awarded the internship. It has always been a dream of mine to work abroad, especially in New York! I‘m really excited to learn more about designing a product from scratch and seeing it in stores.”

She added: “The course really focuses on preparing students for employability after graduation. There is a lot of support with portfolio construction and interview preparation, making me feel far more prepared for the interview with Ascena.”

Fashion Knitwear Design student Georgina Chase's winning project
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Fashion Knitwear Design student Georgina Chase's winning project

Georgina Chase said: “I really enjoyed the Ascena project; it gave me the chance to understand each brand and to learn more about the company. When I got the phone call, I was so excited! It’s such a great opportunity and I cannot wait to start. I’m looking forward to developing insights into how the company works, and how the fashion industry works more broadly.”

Discussing her time at NTU, she added: ”The most valuable thing I’ve learned whilst studying at NTU is to believe in yourself. If someone had told me when I started here that I would have achieved everything I have so far, I wouldn’t have believed them. Being at NTU pushes you to do your best, and makes you want to always try your hardest. You gain a really strong work ethic and this is something I will draw on in every job.”

Natalie Coffman, Manager of Ascena's Talent Strategy, commented: “We are always extremely impressed and pleased with the students from NTU. When recruiting for this program, we look for students who are not only extremely talented, but also who embody our brands and culture. The students from NTU always prove to be top notch talent and when they come to New York City for the program, our teams have a hard time letting them leave after their fellowship ends.”

Tina Downes, Principle Lecturer for Textile Design, shared her thoughts: “Each year, our students are very motivated to take part in the design project set by the Ascena brands. This is for a number of reasons: It gives our students the opportunity to show off their multi-disciplinary (weave, print, knit and embroidery) textile talents; develop commercial briefs for their final portfolio collections and compete for the opportunity to work internationally with these well-respected fashion brands.”

She added: “We now have a strong network of NTU/Ascena alumni. They report back on what an amazing learning experience they have working with the design teams in New York, developing their confidence and experience for the next opportunity. It is hard not to be inspired!”

Four students awarded internships with international fashion company Ascena in New York

Published on 12 June 2018
  • Category: School of Art & Design

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