THE future of the fashion industry is in talented hands, according to an Alfreton fashion house which challenged local schools to design and make garments using only recycled materials.
Nearly 100 entries were received for David Nieper’s Fashion for Free! competition and winners were chosen in four age groups at the firm’s workshops.
Company managing director Christopher Nieper said: “It is essential for us to engage with children at an early age and enthuse them about fashion. This year we were truly stunned by the response to our Fashion for Free! competition and the incredibly high standard of entries. It shows just how much talent and creativity there is among our local young people, and we are delighted to be able to celebrate it.”
Andrew Hitchcock of Crich Junior School and the team of Jack Easom, William Maycock, Jozsef Bihari and Max Whetton from Wessington Primary School were the joint winners of the junior ‘Wearable Art’ category.
Chloe Massey and Megan Hodgekinson, from Years seven and eight of Belper School, won the It’s Party Time category. Simona Grintina, of Alfreton Grange Arts College, came top of the Making Mum Feel Special category for Year 11 and over.
Runners-up included pupils from Heanor Gate Science College, Ripley’s Mill Hill School, Swanwick Hall School and Tibshelf School.
Youngsters were given a company tour and spent time with experienced seamstresses.
A spokesperson for the firm said: “The winning schools will have the opportunity to embark on a long-term liaison programme with David Nieper, involving regular tours of the design studios and manufacturing facilities.
The aim is to encourage and inspire young people to consider a career in manufacturing and to make them aware of the opportunities available on their doorstep.”
The company runs a series Fashion Academy programmes, which include competitions and work placements. The winner of its inaugural 2010 Student Fashion Competition is now working full-time for the company, he said.
Dr Juliet William, the academy’s director, said: “Who could not be encouraged by the passion and enthusiasm that has already been shown by schoolchildren as well as university students, and it is the boys as much as the girls!”