NTU fashion students collaborate with WildBrain’s Teletubbies in competitive design exercise to create innovative apparel collection designs
The winner and runners up took home prizes after impressing judges with their work.
WildBrain’s Teletubbies was first launched 23 years ago, and has since transcended its status as a beloved children’s TV show to become a pop culture phenomenon. WildBrain’s leading licensing agency, WildBrain CPLG, partnered with design agency Watermelon Creative, to give NTU students the opportunity to work with this iconic brand.
Students studying BA (Hons) Fashion Design in the School of Art & Design were tasked with tapping into the nostalgia of Teletubbies to create apparel collections for teens or young adults that would be suitable in a real industry environment for a limited production run at a fashion retailer. Although the contest was a non-commercial learning exercise for the students, the submissions were nonetheless judged in “real world” terms by industry professionals. The judges were looking for fresh, innovative and fashion-focused designs that keep in mind the fun, colour and individuality of the Teletubbies brand, as well as the distinct personalities of each of the four Teletubbies, Tinky Winky, Dispy, Laa-laa and Po.
The judges were amazed at the quality of the work overall. Lucy Pearce, Product Development Manager, WildBrain CPLG, comments: “It’s been so refreshing to work with these students, to explore the ideas they brought to the project. Everyone hit the brief so well, and the collection designs succeeded in terms of accessibility, inclusivity and fun, really capturing the Teletubbies brand.” WildBrain CPLG, is one of the world’s leading entertainment, sport and brand licensing agencies and is owned by WildBrain, a global leader in kids’ and family entertainment.
Students Mia Fowler and Beatrice Falconi were announced as joint third-place finalists, receiving £500 each as their prize.
Mia Fowler says: “I’ve loved being part of the competition and taking third place is so exciting. I grew up watching the show and now it has been part of my course progression, as well as helping me develop a range of innovative designs.
“This project allowed me to explore elements of design I otherwise wouldn't. I approached the brief wanting to create an inclusive range catering for a non-binary customer. I looked at how all the Teletubbies love to wear tutus and encourage everyone to be themselves, as well as the nostalgic elements of the show incorporating childlike details into the collection. I enjoy how this course allows us to expand our design knowledge and encourages us to go a step further to fulfil our potential.”
Joint second place went to Lily Logan and Stella Ollus, who each received £1,000 for their stunning designs. Lily Logan comments: “I wanted to create a collection which really tapped into that Gen Z demographic by channelling the nostalgia of the late ’90s and early ’00s. The viral popularity of Weirdcore/Dreamcore was a huge inspiration for me and allowed me to combine the nostalgia of the first series of Teletubbies with bizarre and vivid colour and pattern combinations. I found the project to be very freeing creatively as my line-up became something totally different from what I usually design. It goes without saying that this was a project, which was ridiculous and playful in the absolute best way possible, and it’s been amazing to be able to be a part of it. I'm ecstatic with coming second place, and I'm also very proud of my peers who placed in this contest. It was really brilliant seeing everyone's hard work pay off during the awards presentation, all of the line ups were absolutely stunning.”
Stella Ollus added: “This project really pushed me outside my comfort zone, and I've seen myself develop as a designer throughout the process of creating my collection. I enjoyed researching the Teletubbies and noticing all the important things they represent and how they relate to us as humans. I also loved going in a direction, and embracing a concept, I wouldn't normally; it was a good challenge. The fun atmosphere and energy of the Teletubbies inspired me a lot. My concept was unity and togetherness, so I took a lot of inspiration from the Teletubbies' relationship and related that back to the real world. It feels amazing to have come second place and I'm proud of myself. I'm very grateful for my tutors for supporting me and for Watermelon Creative Ltd and WildBrain CPLG for the opportunity.”
Bilal Delair was announced the overall winner for his designs after a unanimous decision from the judges, winning a cash prize of £2,000. He was praised by the judges for his work, which pushed boundaries and captured the brief. Bilal told us how he approached the project: “Initially when I approached the designing stage, I had a few ideas in mind, but I wondered how I was going to design a collection for Teletubbies and most importantly how was I going to make it look cool, appealing, and fresh. It was not until I did my market research and looked at other designers that I realised there was a whole world of collaborative fun fashion!
“My inspiration started from the most recent series of Teletubbies which had incorporated the Tubbie phone. I took this idea, as well as the TVs on the Teletubbies stomachs and ran with it. Technology is often ‘demonized’ but it has played a crucial role during the pandemic, so I chose to celebrate it. I thought of creating new edgy Gen-Z Teletubbies. It was exciting and I had a lot of fun designing the range.
“Winning this competition came as a shock to me, I didn’t know how to react and had a huge case of imposter syndrome. It took a while to sink in, but I can now proudly say I won the Teletubbies design competition. I am super grateful to the Teletubbies brand, WildBrain CPLG and design agency Watermelon Creative. I am also very thankful to my tutors who helped me and challenged me throughout the competition and to all my amazing friends! What I really enjoy at Nottingham Trent University is the creative environment, it’s nice to submerge yourself with other creatives. I am a creator and a designer and NTU is helping to shape me into the best designer that I can be.”