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Making it personal for students from Belfast Met

Each year the SDC International Design Competition attracts hundreds of entries worldwide.

However, not everyone who is interested in the competition is eligible to enter. We were therefore excited to be contacted by tutor Claire Concannon from Belfast Metropolitan College who had read this year’s brief ‘Making it Personal’ and thought it a great project but her students were too young to enter. Claire asked if we would consider supporting an ‘in-house’ competition working with the brief. 

Around 40 first and second year BTEC Diploma Fashion and Clothing students worked on the brief and twenty five exhibited their designs at Belfast Met Titanic building for the judges to view.

students working croppedThe judges were Anja Alexandersdottir and Julie Hall (Head of Design) from Bedeck, one of Ireland’s leading bedding and homeware companies. Founded in 1951, it is still a family run business. The final judge was Duncan Neil, Creative Director at Ireland’s oldest linen fabric mill William Clark & Sons Ltd.

It was a great opportunity to meet up with former SDC International Design Competition finalist Anja Alexandersdottir. We first met Anja when she was a student at Heriot Watt University. She won the Scottish heat of the competition in 2014, and as a result she also joined SDC as a member. Since then Anja has also been the recipient of an SDC bursary.

Judges scroppedMore recently Anja (who can be seen in the photo on the left) has been based in Belfast where she is doing a design internship at textile company Bedeck learning all aspects of the commercial design process. Anja remarked “I would highly recommend any recent graduate to take a six month or longer design placement, I was lucky to be offered one that was funded, as it is really important to experience life in the industry as it is so different from university, and you can find out about the different job roles that are available to you. Being in Northern Ireland I was asked to judge the SDC competition at Belfast Met. It was really interesting to be on the other side; being a previous finalist in the SDC colour competition I was used to being the one being judged! The judging was a great experience and the students and staff at Belfast Met had really put a lot of effort into the work and the competition. The competition looks really good on the CV, as well as future job interviews – having connections in the industry is always positive when looking for a job.”

Julie Hall commented “it was a great privilege to be invited to judge and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting SDC Ireland region Chairman Paul Santokhi and learning more about the SDC. It was super to see the work produced, both students and staff were wonderful – very enthusiastic and passionate about the course and the work they do”.

students croppedClaire Concannon, Fashion Associate Lecturer and Course Coordinator at Belfast Met said “the SDC’s design brief with the theme ‘Making it Personal’ was incorporated into the assessment brief for a unit on the Btec L3 Art and Design Fashion and Clothing. The students researched and then generated ideas and concepts inspired by the brief guidelines. Each of the students made the project personal to them by producing individual art work ideas inspired by the theme. They did so by looking at historical and contemporary influences in art and design and fashion trends, evidence of which they presented in sketchbook journals as mood boards, textile samples and fashion illustrations. As the majority of the students are under 18 years old and are therefore not eligible to take part in the international competition the students displayed their work at the Belfast Metropolitan College campus, this exhibition was attended by the SDC representatives who very supportively viewed, judged and marked each of the students work. The students were overwhelmed at the wonderful opportunity of having their work seen by designers from industry and the SDC. Three students received accolades and a prize as overall winners, this has had outstanding positive results for all of the students to take part in a live design brief competition. The Belfast Metropolitan staff from the Art and Design – Fashion Department would like to extend their appreciation to the SDC for their ongoing support in education and links to industry”.

Congratulations to the overall winner, Matthew Lenehan, and to the runners up Eve Gordon and Rebecca Dalton.

For details of the SDC International Design Competition 2016, please take a look at the website.

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