Monday, 14 April 2014

Fashion student Lizzie Atkins shows her National Tailoring and Design Award work

One of the greatest pleasures of writing a blog is being able to take an interest in emerging menswear design and retail talent. Regular readers will have seen my posts on new and young fashion entrepreneurs, but I haven't yet looked at the work of fashion students.  

Lizzie's design for a coat inspired by a military dispatch rider's jacket

I was intrigued when I heard about fashion student, Lizzie Atkins, who won the Bladen prize in the National Tailoring and Design Awards. 

Hundreds of students and recent graduates from across the country entered the competition; twenty were chosen as finalists and a final six won prizes from fashion companies in the UK. Lizzie, a student studying Fashion Design at the Arts University Bournemouth, won the Bladen award, a £500 cash prize.

Lizzie was kind enough to meet and show me her beautiful winning designs. She gave me much insight into how the best menswear is created. 

Here is part of our discussion - 

GF: Well done on winning a National Tailoring & Design award; how did this come about?

LA: Thank you! I am so excited to be part of the Savile Row National Tailoring awards and be selected as a winner for the Bladen award. I joined The Arts University Bournemouth with the intentions of graduating a womenswear designer, but after a spontaneous decision to try menswear, my interest in tailoring grew and became a passion and something I want to pursue as my career. The skill, craftsmanship and traditions are a few of the many things that draw me to this specialism.

GF: Tell me about the award.

LA: The competition is organised by The Savile Row Training Academy. My particular award was given by Bladen. I'm a final year student and the prize will help me fund the costs of a final collection. I visited the Bladen team at Wensum Tailoring in Norwich in March and was very excited to see the work which they do.

GF: Tell me about your winning entry.

LA: I designed two suits inspired by a World War II 1945 dispatch rider's coat using traditional simple tailored aesthetics. I found the coat at a car boot sale in the summer. Not knowing its story I was soon to discover through a bit of research that it was more than just the old rotting coat I paid £7 for. 

For those interested, the design process has been recorded in more detail here.

GF: What next for you? 

LA: I am creating my final collection, which is a collaboration between me and an artist (my father) David Atkins still incorporating traditional tailoring techniques and shapes. I have some interesting silhouettes developing so far and lots of colour! My father's work has always inspired me and the way I work so I'm very excited for this project. 

GF: What do you see yourself doing in the future?

LAAfter university I intend to move to London, improve my tailoring skills through in house training and continue working very hard to kick start my career in the menswear industry. In ten years time I would dream of having the admirable skills of a Savile Row tailor and applying these skills in a job were I can design with my own personal creative style. I will continue to work hard and take as many opportunities and experiences as possible. 

Some of Lizzie's designs for her final collection

With many thanks to Lizzie Atkins, whose final collection I hope to feature in a future post.

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