Students’ work scales the heights of fashion

Rachel Holliday, Kate Harrod, Sarah Naylor-Smith
Rachel Holliday, Kate Harrod, Sarah Naylor-Smith
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WHILE trendy glamour types are recovering from the excesses of London Fashion Week, three Sheffield students are quietly celebrating in the knowledge the Steel City has the edge when it comes to true elegance.

Sheffield Hallam University fashion students Rachel Holliday, Kate Harrod and Sarah Naylor-Smith have fought off stiff competition to be shortlisted for a prestigious design prize.

Their sketches are inspired by a mind-boggling variety of influences - but each shares imagination and grace that caught the eye of the judges.

The three girls, all in their third year at Hallam, are in the running for Best Student Designer at this year’s Bridal Buyers Awards. No other university has more nominations.

Sarah, who is from Penistone, Barnsley, was picked out for the short list after the board spotted her colourful designs, inspired by the tribal body art and headdresses of women in Papua New Guinea. She based her designs on the feathers of the Bird of Paradise - a bird found only on the Australasian island.

Sarah, aged 38, said: “It’s a great opportunity to have been nominated for this award. Taking inspiration from Papua New Guinea means I have designed a dress that’s totally different, which will hopefully appeal to the judges and industry experts at the awards.”

Kate, 22, from Ecclesfield, Sheffield, spent time researching the history of the Russian tsars and their dramatic demise.

She based her designs on royal wedding dresses of the time, using red leather and black chiffon.

Kate said: “I work at a theatre in my spare time and I love theatrical costumes. My dress is very dramatic and will hopefully appeal to brides looking for something less traditional.”

Rachel, 21, took inspiration for her design from a new iconic leisure complex in her home town of Scunthorpe.

She said: “I am so pleased my unique designs relating to my home have been recognised. I am really excited and looking forward to seeing my designs come to life.”

Now the race is on for the students to turn their drawings into dresses in time for the awards ceremony in Harrogate on Monday March 14.

After the ceremony their dresses will be displayed at the British Bridal Exhibition in Harrogate.

David Morrish, Hallam lecturer in fashion design, said: “We’re delighted our students’ talents have been recognised in this way. These awards attract the top people in the bridal industry and are excellent exposure for our students’ work.

“But now the real hard work begins - turning their fabulous designs into real, wearable gowns.”

The three girls’ designs will be displayed alongside other examples of final-year work during the Hallam’s Creative Spark exhibition from June 10 to 25.