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Teaching Excellence in Fashion

Elisa's pattern of success PR Story

Coming up with creative designs which beat universities from across the UK in corporate clothing design is more than just a passing fashion at Bedford College.

In 2017, 2018, and 2019 the HND Fashion & Textiles team took the top prizes at the national Professional Clothing International Awards (PCIA) spotlight.

International fashion icon Vivienne Westwood is a regular judge, who offers a chance of work experience at her fashion house alongside prize money of £1,000, – demonstrating that this is a seriously competitive platform.

To add to the celebrations, for the first time this year (2019), students took part in the University of Northamptonshire’s Fashion Show – exhibiting work, which according to one outside examiner equalled the university standard.

Elisa's pattern of success PR Story

The Programme and Pathway Leader behind this success is Elisa Bratton who has worked at the college for five years and has experience at other colleges and industry. It was her inspiration and hard work that has ensured her students at Bedford College won “The Best University” plaque in 2017 at the PCIA.

Elisa commented: “These awards are a testimony to the continuous hard work and dedication of our students, they inspire me with their creativity and application.

Students benefit from university level training that is closer to home which combines creativity with practicality – as witnessed by the college’s success in the PCA where protective clothing has to combine ‘industrial strength’ with wear-ability.

Head of Department for Art & Design, Alan Parsons added:
The success of our students is rooted in the passion and dedication of our lecturers. It underlines the value of our approach to vocational education where skills and craftspersonship are valued equally alongside the notions of creativity and academic achievement that are often the prime focus for universities.  

At Bedford College, our curriculum model is a contemporary embodiment of the workshops in the Technical Institutes, where students’ creativity and knowledge is underpinned with a self-sufficiency borne through practical skills and the result, as you can see, is a designer who can most effectively meet a client’s brief with a creative solution for future design problems.”

This year, the work of our BA students has been outstanding. An external examiner judging our work was singing our students praises. We are putting Bedford on the map now in the fashion world and our students have portfolios which are ‘employer ready’ which means when they come to find work they are ahead of the game.

Students who took part in the show at the University of Northamptonshire were:

Megan Wallis, Poppie Robertson, Sophia Phillips and Holly Varney-Lonsdale.

Some of their work was exhibited at the Harpur Centre, Bedford over the summer.

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