Work experience with Vivienne Westwood awaits at Bedford College fashion and textiles student who won the national Professional Clothing Awards.
Summer Gill, a HND student aged 21, beat all-comers to be selected as the overall contest winner with her airport ground crew outfit.
Summer, of Barton le Clay, has won £1000 and a six month placement at Vivienne Westwood.
Programme Leader Elisa Bratton said Summer and fellow student Holly Varney-Lonsdale were the centre of Press attention at the event demanding to know how Bedford College beat all the university entrants to the glittering prizes – for the second year running.
Summer’s design was judged to best meet the needs of the selected job over 10 other finalists from respected BA fashion degree programmes including; Northampton, De Monfort, Manchester Fashion Institute, Letterkenny Institute (Ireland) and Faculdade de Arquitetura (Portugal).
Her fellow Bedford College HND student Holly Varney-Lonsdale, 19 of Kempston, also made it to the last six in the national competition with her firefighter kit design.
Sponsors, the international company Cordura, has indicated that it is keen to support the college department by facilitating equipment sponsorships and further Press coverage will follow with a visit to the studios at the South Bank Arts Centre.
Head of Department Alan Parsons noted: “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 to the notions of creativity and academic achievement that are often the prime focus for universities.
“The success of our fashion students highlights a worrying national issue that we are seeing in the division of learning into either academic or technical pathways. We risk over simplifying our industries into binary interpretations that fail to understand the nuanced relationship between skills, knowledge and creativity.
“Here at Bedford College, our curriculum model harks back to the workshops of 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 her client’s brief with a creative solution for future design problems.”
Holly and Summer were part of a cohort of 16 students studying HND Fashion & Textiles. Those who have completed the two year course now have a chance to upgrade to a full degree with a third year at the Bedford campus, validated by the University of Northamptonshire – thus saving the cost of ‘going away to uni’ but benefiting from a great quality course.
Last year students from the Bedford College took 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes in the Personal, Protective, Equipment (PPE) category in the national Professional Clothing Awards, beating university students from across the UK. The course also took the prize for overall winning University.
Said Director of the Arts Toby Clark said: “The success of this course demonstrates how the riverside Bedford College South Bank Arts Centre is a hothouse for talent across the arts. Our students can stay here and gain degrees, win places at the best art schools and universities, or step into great jobs.”