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Thinking of entering our colour competition?

Each year 100s of fashion and textile design students enter the SDC International Design Competition. As we head towards the 2015 grand final, we thought we’d take a look back at the UK heats which took place earlier this year to give you a flavour of the experience.

It’s always a pleasure to attend the UK regional heats. They’re exciting events that take us the length and breadth of the country and give us the opportunity to meet the inspiring professionals and SDC members who give up their time to arrange the heats, judge the entries and share their love of colour. It’s also a great chance to see the work of the talented young designers.

The Midlands

P1020510This year’s Midlands heat took place in the light, contemporary surroundings of Nottingham Trent University. Judge Katy Percival, Head of Design at Nutmeg Children’s Wear gave a motivational talk about her career path. This was followed by a presentation on the history of the English silk industry by fellow judge Dr Brenda King. Also on the panel was Catherine Watkins, Responsible Retail and Sustainability Manager, George@Asda.

Naomi Ison from Loughborough University took first place and runners up were Katherine Taylor and Laura Thornley.

Runner up Katherine Taylor commented: “The brief for this year’s SDC competition has been especially interesting and stimulating… being part of this competition has pushed my work in the direction of considering consumption and the importance of longevity within my design process – I am excited to use this in the future”.
North of England

P1020636The North of England heat took place at Perkin House, SDC’s head office in Bradford. A busy day included the judging, a dye workshop, a Colour Experience presentation, buffet and guest presentation.

The judges were designer Linda Hodgson, lingerie designer Elyzzabeth Beswick and Sarah Jackson of Camira Fabrics.

The judges enjoyed a healthy debate before announcing the winner was Sarah Bimpson from Manchester School of Art with runners up Helen Mackay, Leeds College of Art and Astrid Martland from the University of Manchester.


IMG_0804After leaving Yorkshire in the snow it was wonderful to arrive in Glasgow to glorious sunshine, a great turn out from colleges and universities across Scotland and excellent hospitality from our hosts. The heat took place at the Cardonald Campus of Glasgow Clyde College and included presentations around the competition theme alongside some advice for the young designers.

The judging panel faced the tough task of interviewing and judging excellent entries from six institutions.

“It’s the Great British Design Off!” remarked judge Brian Hinnigan, Sales Director, Johnston’s of Elgin.

Also on the panel were Malcolm Campbell, The Cloth of Kings and Lyndesy Moore, Designer and Product Developer, Belinda Robertson Cashmere.

Lyndsey commented: “I really enjoyed the day and it was a pleasure to be involved… I enjoyed speaking to the students, it was very inspiring – I thought the standard of work was terrific!”

Laura Monaghan of Glasgow Clyde College was announced as the winner with runners up Jasmine Linnington and Hannah Minnock of Edinburgh College of Art.


P1020615The London heat took place at the Fashion and Textile Museum. This wonderful venue and a vibrant atmosphere contributed to the success of the day which began with a talk from former winner Laduma Ngxokolo about his international success since winning the global competition in 2010.

Our judging panel were Kathy Lewiston (Designer), Jane Duncan (Visual Artist), Laduma Ngxokolo (Designer) and Angela Wright (Colour Psychologist).

Emily Grieves, London College of Fashion, took first place with a stunning knitwear design. Runners up were Zoe Walker, UCA Farnham and Emily Land, University of Coventry.

West of England and South Wales

P1020694Set in the beautiful historic city of Winchester, our final heat was at Winchester School of Art. Many of the students had travelled a long way to attend including first time entrants Falmouth University who celebrated with a winner and runner up!

Our hardworking panel judged entries from 18 talented students. The judges were Alice Howard Graham – Freelance Textile and Print Designer, Susan MacDonald – Business Development Director, Cotton Connect Global and Anne Selby – Designer/Owner, Anne Selby Ltd.

Rhianna Parker-Yates, University of Falmouth, was delighted to be chosen as the winner with commendable runners up: Thea Maxted-Pettman (Winchester School of Art) and Jessica Ball (University of Falmouth).

The number of unique, creative designs interpreting the brief in different ways demonstrates the incredible diversity of this competition and also makes the job of judging a challenging task. It’s also a challenging but rewarding experience for the students to present their designs to industry experts. The heats offer an opportunity to take home some inspiration and positive critique about their work – excellent preparation for post-graduation and valued by the students:

“A wonderful opportunity to meet and present to professional designers – gave me a taste of presenting for my future career’. Charlotte Wildsmith, De Montfort University

“I have had a great day, I loved discussing my work with the judges and showing my designs with the chance to explain my ideas and collection” Dominique White, New College Nottingham

winner & judgesThanks to everyone involved, including the students who entered and all our judges. The five UK finalists all progressed to the UK final. More on this in a future blog.

And if you’re thinking of entering the competition, this is what one of the students had to say:

“The whole day has been informal and relaxed – everything explained well and any fears squashed. I highly recommend entering the competition.”

The grand final takes place at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London in November 2015 and will be attended by the 12 finalists from around the world. If you’re interested in entering the 2016 SDC International Design Competition, the brief for this is available now.

Want some guidance on how to win?  Check out our top tips.

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