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Boots set NTU fashion design students a uniform challenge to take them into the future

Boots, the largest pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer in the UK challenged second year fashion design students to develop a future-focused working wardrobe.

All fashion students taking part in the Boots uniform project

2019 marks 170 years since Nottingham-based Boots opened their first store, and with the UK high street and beauty industry rapidly evolving, the company plans to further transform the high street by reinventing its beauty experience.

As part of this vision, Boots alongside corporate workwear supplier Dimensions, challenged second year students of BA (Hons) Fashion Design to develop a future-focused working wardrobe for employees in their new stores. The design brief, given to students by Lavinia Moxley, Senior Manager and Global Advisor Talent and Education at Boots and Clare Du Mughn, Design Director at Dimensions, outlined a rigorous and challenging set of considerations. Concept collections for both male and female wearers needed to take on board a range of ages and sizes, be future-facing yet mindful of Boots' heritage, hard wearing and practical, as well as culturally sensitive, sustainable and cost effective.

Over the course of several weeks, twenty five students undertook extensive market research, designing concepts and mood boards, developing fabric and print ideas, culminating in the visualising of a final line up of six garments to bring all elements of the brief together at a presentation review in the NTU Design Studios.

Al the NTU Fashion Student Finalists
NTU Student Finalists

Following a detailed assessment of all the submitted designs, the Boots team selected a total of five finalists to go forward with the project with all finalists being given an opportunity to present their concepts to a selection of Directors at Boots. Announcing the selected finalists, Lativia of Boot thanked all the students who took part in the project, noting the impressive level of research and detailed consideration of the brief.

Introducing the projects and students to a gather of Boots Directors and projects leads, as well as additional colleagues, Lativia emphasised the learning and development partnership Boots shares with NTU, highlighting the company's relevance to the challenge and the 170 year heritage, as well as paying a fitting tribute to the 175-year anniversary recently celebrated by the university.

Winning Designs by Agnes Abelson

After an inspiring set of presentations and a chance to look at the students' development work, fabric samples, collection visuals and research, a designated team of judges from Boots, including Nathan Clements, HR Director for Boots UK and Republic of Ireland, and Kevin Alavoine, Store Operations Director, decided upon a winner, a difficult task due to the high standard of work and strong range of showcased ideas.

The overall project winner was announced as Agnes Abelson who was awarded a prize of £600. Natalie Sit took £300 for second place and Ciara Pontin £100 for third. Joint fourth place went to Emmy Eves and Kimberly Maskell who who took home £50.