Northumbria University students scoop fashion awards

NORTHUMBRIA university fashion school is riding high after picking up four prestigious awards at Graduate Fashion Week 2009.

Charlotte Simpson receives her award (left) and one of her designs (right)

NORTHUMBRIA university fashion school is riding high after picking up four prestigious awards at Graduate Fashion Week 2009.

Hosted by Caryn Franklin, last week’s gala show at Earls Court celebrated its 18th anniversary and saw a glittering array of fashion luminaries lending their support to the event including Claudia Schiffer, Erin O’Connor, Zandra Rhodes and Jeff Banks.

Northumbria fashion students Nicola Morgan, Dulcie Dryden, Charlotte Simpson and Christina Duggan fought off stiff competition to win four of the 12 awards.

Charlotte, 21, and originally from Sheffield, was awarded the respected Zandra Rhodes catwalk textiles prize for her vibrant, patterned womenswear collection.

The criteria for this award was to find a directional and innovative collection created through the use of original design in either printed or constructed textiles, which explore the relationship between garment and textile.

The award was judged and presented by Zandra Rhodes, who said: “I chose the winner because her collection was very directional in a new three-dimensional way, with dramatic pattern, colour and handwork.”

Charlotte Simpson said: “Winning the award was really exciting. I was really surprised. My collection is inspired by a trip I took to Istanbul, especially Turkish architecture, colours, and patterns. I made a lot of my own fabric and used lots of leather, suede, and silks in bright colours. Seeing my collection on the catwalk made four years of hard work worth it.”

Dulcie, 22, from Stokesley in North Yorkshire picked up the Jon Adam Fashion Portfolio Award which was presented by Gary Gold and Melanie Laub of Jon Adam.

They said: “We chose the winner because it was a beautifully presented professional portfolio and the winner clearly has excellent design and illustration skills, coupled with a real commercial awareness.”

Dulcie said: “I was quite shocked when my name was called. We had to base our collection around a made-up story, and mine was about a man that became so depressed that he hunched over and his limbs fused together. I used some feminine floaty fabrics but in masculine colours, and lots of metallics. It’s a young collection that re-invents tailoring. It was very nerve-wracking but fantastic to see my work on the runway. The models really pulled it off.”

Nicola Morgan collects her award (left) and one of her designs (right)

Nicola scooped the Fashion Innovation Award for her “excellent combination of fashion, science and technology, together with a practical use of contemporary processes and flawless execution.”

Judged by Martin Raymond, The Future Laboratory, Gary Aspden from Adidas and designer Markus Lupfer, the award was created last year to recognise new endeavours within the field of fashion.

Christina, a fashion marketing student, picked up the Per Aquum Creative Marketing Award.

Fashion course leader at Northumbria, Chris Hodge, said:

“We are absolutely thrilled and still on a high. We are particularly thrilled that Charlotte picked up one of three big prizes. The standard was very high this year and Northumbria has had an excellent response from industry professionals, programme leaders from across the UK, and the media.

“We put out a very diverse show exhibiting a broad range of techniques.

“Our stand attracted a lot of attention from representatives from the likes of Nike, Paul Smith and the high street who were interested in offering potential positions. It’s been a great success all round.”

As well as a cash prize, all winners were offered invaluable future support from the GFW Mentoring Panel.

Northumbria fashion students will be showcasing their final year designs on three runway shows at the Civic Centre on June 25 at 1pm, 5.30pm & 8.30pm.

For tickets visit the website at


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