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Fashion Design alumnus lends his expertise to contestants on BBC’s The Apprentice

2014 alumni Oli Royce, currently working as Creative Lead at Speedo, appeared on a panel of industry experts in the 2018 final of the popular BBC television programme

Oli Royce
Oli Royce

An alumni from our BA (Hons) Fashion Design course has recently appeared on the final of BBC’s The Apprentice. Lending his wealth of experience as a creative lead, designer and entrepreneur, 2014 alumni Oli Royce was invited to take part in the industry expert element of the 2018 final, in which the two finalists pitched their brands to some of the biggest names in British business.

As Creative Lead and Head of Design at Speedo, Oli was one of a number of swimwear design experts on the panel, brought in to address contestant Sian Gabbidon’s customisable swimwear brand. Oli’s question made the show’s final edit, and he was featured commenting: “It is really exciting that Sian has managed to get unique manufacturing in the UK – but my question would be around the scalability of the operation.”

Oli appearing on BBC's The Apprentice
Oli appearing on BBC's The Apprentice

Discussing how it felt to appear on such a high profile television programme, Oli explained: “Sitting on the panel and guiding Alan Sugar to choose the best business to invest £250,000 in was a great experience. With the cameras and the audience, it was potentially as nerve-racking for me as it was for the two finalists! On the TV, it looks like the two finalists only get asked a few questions prior to the investment, but they actually go through a pretty intense round of questioning from all of the 15 industry panellists.”

Oli has forged a successful career since graduating in 2014, progressing to a senior role in a very short space of time. He certainly demonstrated talent and entrepreneurial flair whilst studying at NTU, securing a paid internship at Abercrombie & Fitch in America, and gaining investment from The Hive, NTU’s dedicated centre for entrepreneurship and enterprise, to start a business focusing on semi-tailored shirting.

Oli Royce
Oli at the NTU Degree Show in 2014

He additionally scooped the Fashion Innovation Award at Graduate Fashion Week in 2014 for his graduate collection, which showed a strong commitment to pursuing new technologies in the fashion industry. The award exists to reward an original product or concept that confounds expectations and challenges existing methodologies and approaches.

On his experience studying at NTU, Oli told us: "I enjoyed the opportunity to focus on my own design practice for three years, guided in the right direction by experienced professionals. The technical staff on the Fashion Design course at NTU consistently went above and beyond - nothing was too much trouble - and their skills and expertise were priceless. Having a great set of tutors made a huge impact on my development as a young designer."

Published on 19 December 2018
  • Subject area: Art and design
  • Category: Culture; School of Art & Design