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Fashion students win prestigious Old Navy Design Award

16th March 2020

Two students from Northumbria University are making their mark in the world of fashion after winning a prestigious design award run by a major American clothing company.

The third year Fashion BA (Hons) students were awarded first and second prize in the Old Navy Design Award.

Old Navy, which is part of Gap Inc., ran the competition with the three universities from which they receive the highest numbers of UK interns, Northumbria University, Manchester Metropolitan and Kingston in London. Each programme had a prize fund of $5,000, to be split between the first and second winners at each university.

Northumbria University has collaborated with Old Navy for almost 10 years, with a significant number of the company’s Creative team being Northumbria University alumni. In the final year of their studies, many competition winners are tracked as part of Old Navy’s recruitment programme and offered graduate training contracts with the company upon graduation.

The competition brief from Old Navy asked students to design a collection of outfits for two family members to wear in summer 2020. They were invited to build on the heritage of Old Navy to create fun and fashionable casual clothing that incorporated current fashion trends.

Northumbria University’s winners were third-year BA Fashion students Victoria Archer and Sally Stephenson. After researching fashion trend forecasts, the Old Navy brand and their current collection, the students each built a strong portfolio of designs, complete with sketches, moodboards and technical elements such as colour palettes, print, pattern and fabric direction.

Commenting on her win, Victoria said “I definitely found it was a good fit for my personality and quite refreshing to put as much 'fun' into it as I could”. She based her collection on Girl Scouts and summer camps, both staples of American culture, to add a sense of adventure and appreciation for the outdoors. She developed a range of prints, logos and accessories for two sisters aged eight and 17 to pack for their summer camp holiday (pictured below).

Sally, who won second prize, said “I genuinely can’t believe I won.  It’s such an accolade and the comments and feedback from the Old Navy team were greatly appreciated”.

Her response to the brief was a collection of outfits for a pair of eight-year-old twins to wear while on a trip to Boston, including while carrying out activities such as going to the beach and seeing baseball games. Her designs (pictured at top of page) focused on heavy patching and colour blocking with modern twists on jeans and t-shirts. Sally plans to continue developing childrenswear in the final year of her degree.

BA Fashion Programme Leader Ann Marie Kirkbride added “Fashion at Northumbria is world-renowned for its collaborative partnerships with the global fashion industry. Our relationship with Gap Inc., in particular with the Old Navy brand, has been a very rewarding experience for our students. Not only have the students' employability skills been greatly enhanced by this, and the generous support and feedback from Old Navy's creative talent team, but many have joined the Old Navy creative team on graduation. Victoria and Sally were worthy winners and will be proud to add their award to their CVs!”


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