Top draw! Graduate’s design skills wow major store chain

“The design flair of a talented University of Huddersfield student has caught the eye of one of the biggest names on the high street.

Not only has retail giant Wilkinson’s awarded a £1,000 prize to new graduate Laura Davenport, after she exhibited her work at a major show in London, but it has also begun talks with the 22-year-old, aiming to use her designs and develop new ideas.

It means that within months, Laura could see designs from her award-winning portfolio reproduced on fabrics and ceramics in some of the UK’s most popular stores.

“It would be absolutely fantastic to go into a branch of Wilkinson’s and see some of my designs on sale. It feels great to be recognised and rewarded at the same time!” said Laura.

She describes her style as illustrative with a quirky edge and likes to incorporate different themes into her designs – nautical and floral influences have recently found their way into her work.

Laura has just graduated from one of the University’s most popular courses, in textile design for fashion and interiors. It might be a cutting edge course, using computer technology, but it has deep roots in Huddersfield’s long tradition of education and training in textiles, to meet the needs of local industry.

Every year, a group of the most promising students on the course are chosen to take their work to a London showcase event named New Designers. Laura had some of her latest designs on display, in a category sponsored by Wilkinson’s. She was awarded the first prize and the company immediately began to discuss future projects.

“Laura has beautiful drawing skills, which Wilkinson’s immediately picked up on,” said her course leader, Nicola Redmore. “She had a lovely, fresh collection on display and Laura is a very commercial designer, in the best sense of the term. She is very grounded and knows what will appeal to the public. She is definitely one of our most promising students”.

A feature of the textile design for fashion and interiors course is that students create their designs – using both computers and traditional skills – and then follow them through to production and accompany the finished product with a marketing statement.

Also, the majority of the students take up the opportunity to go on work placement for part of the course. Laura Davenport had placements with two Cheshire-based textile firms and she is convinced that the experience is a factor in her success.

Nicola Redmore said that the emphasis on work placement was an important element in high employability rates among ex-students and those who took up the option tended to come out with the best degrees.

Laura, who lives in her native Stockport and comes from an artistic family, is now embarking on her career as a designer and after her early taste of  success she might consider working as a freelance designer.”

via.hud.ac.uk  see also the report on the New Designers Website 

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