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Talented young designers from Northumbria University, Newcastle, have received industry recognition; scooping two prestigious awards at the Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) event in London.

Final year fashion students from the North East university put their designs and portfolios under the spotlight in front of business experts, high street brands and top designers at the renowned industry exhibition.

Thirteen students on the Fashion, Fashion Design and Marketing, and Fashion Communication, courses were shortlisted for a variety of esteemed event awards – highlighting the vast creative talent studying on Northumbria’s fashion courses.

Fashion Design and Marketing students Daisy Ratcliff and Lucy Nolan caught the judges’ eyes with their imaginative and detailed designs; scooping the Fashion Marketing Award and the Boux Avenue Swimwear Award. They were declared the winners on the final day, at the Best of GFW show, and headed on-stage to collect their trophies.

York-born student Daisy said that she felt “over the moon, yet still in shock” after hearing her name declared the winner of the highly acclaimed Fashion Marketing Award.

The 23-year-old said: “I had to go up on to the catwalk and collect my award. It was so much fun but nerve wracking! I’m really happy that I’ve won but still in shock. When I was going into the room for the show with the fellow finalists, I was still thinking that I was up against so many other talented students.

“Straight after the show, I rang my mum and dad to tell them the news, followed by my brothers and sisters and then all my friends. They’re all so proud and couldn’t be happier for me.”

Daisy was inspired by her six sisters for her final year fashion brand idea titled Daisy Chain; based around the notion of a person’s first bra. Daisy held focus groups in schools, girl guide groups and drama schools across Newcastle, to learn more about the thinking process young girls go through when buying their first pieces of lingerie.

Daisy has already secured a competitive role within the industry, and after graduating will be starting in a Buying Assistant position at the Mothercare head office, in Watford.

Fellow Fashion Design and Marketing student Lucy Nolan was presented with the Boux Avenue Swimwear Award, with the judges praising the attention to detail on her colourful Japanese sushi-inspired collection.

The 23-year-old, from Lancashire, said: “I am still feeling very overwhelmed after winning the award, as I know how hard the competition was. It was a lovely end to my time at GFW, and the support I have received from everyone has been amazing – that’s what makes winning the award even better.”

Titled WAVAY, Lucy designed a luxury womenswear swimwear brand for her final year project, inspired by Japanese culture and the food, sushi. All the garments feature sushi inspired prints, with each swimsuit being hand screen-printed using three to four different layers of varying colours and patterns. The collection is also multi-functional; the swimsuits can be worn on their own or underneath a regular bikini.

The Fashion, Fashion Communication and Fashion Design and Marketing BA (Hons) programmes at Northumbria have seen many graduates going on to enjoy successful careers at brands and agencies across the globe, including Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren and Nike, with the University’s School of Design having an established reputation at the annual Graduate Fashion Week exhibition.

Three students were also announced runners-up of GFW awards; Penny Gibbs for the Visionary Knitwear Award, Amelia Wilson for the Boux Avenue Lingerie Award, and Holly Watson for the David Band Textiles Award.

Programme leader for Fashion Design and Marketing at Northumbria University, Hilary McGloughlin, said: “It is brilliant that two students from Northumbria have been recognised for their talent and taken home prestigious industry awards. The competition is high every year, going up against universities across the UK, so they both should be very proud. Here at Northumbria, we couldn’t be happier, and we are sure they will go on to enjoy successful and creative careers within the industry.”

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