David Nieper Scholarship gets Grads Work Ready
Nottingham Trent University fashion design student Mel Uskuri, 21, from Cannock, Staffordshire, has a won a £3,000 industry prize as part of the first-ever fashion scholarship awarded by Derbyshire fashion house David Nieper.
With the UK fashion industry facing a shortage of design for manufacturing skills, David Nieper is working with Nottingham Trent University’s School of Art & Design to up-skill the next generation of designers, pattern-cutters and dressmakers with the knowledge and industry experience employers look for.
The company, which designs and manufacturers its entire women’s fashion and knitwear collections in Alfreton, Derbyshire challenged more than 70 second-year fashion students in a week-long competition to design garments for stylish and professional 40+ women.
The finalists visit the David Nieper factory
Mel secured the top industry prize and support for her final year, thanks to her winning portfolio based on modern classic styling with a focus on cut, fit and the use of high quality textiles.
She has also been invited to take part in work experience at David Nieper alongside runners-up Chanel Folkes from Birmingham and Aimee Dunn from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, both aged 21. The students will work under David Nieper’s senior designer Elizabeth Edwards, who has worked with some of biggest names in the industry such as Betty Jackson and Mulberry.
Commenting on her success Mel, said: “The week-long project was very challenging as we were working to the tight timescales of a real-life brief, so it’s a real honour to have won.
“Spending time at David Nieper was also a real eye-opener as everything, from designing to dress making and photography happens under one roof, so I’m looking forward to picking up more experience during my work placement. I now plan to put the prize money towards attending galleries and exhibitions, as well as sourcing fabrics such as leather and high quality prints for my final year project.”
Christopher Nieper, managing director of David Nieper, said: “The fashion industry is fiercely competitive, but you’ll be surprised how many graduates apply to us for jobs without any experience of sewing or pattern-cutting skills.
“Nottingham Trent University understands the importance of working closely with industry. A good degree along with industry experience significantly enhances their students’ chance of securing jobs in the future.
“We were highly impressed with the quality of work produced by all ten finalists but Mel’s portfolio really stood out. She followed the brief and captured an element of ‘British’ in her portfolio with an emphasis on quality. We wish her all the best for her final year and look forward to having her back, with Chanel and Aimee, to complete their work experience.”
Ann Priest, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of Nottingham Trent University’s College of Art, Design and the Built Environment, concluded:
“We are very pleased to be working with David Nieper again on this excellent project and very grateful for their generous support for the prize-winners. Working with a local company with its international reach is exactly the type of project that we relish, giving our students the opportunity to further develop their understanding of the industry context, as well as enhancing their creative and critical skills.
“I know they enjoyed this competition immensely and our congratulations go to Mel, Chanel and Aimee, who I’m sure will make full use of the work experience being offered by the company.”
According to the British Fashion Council over 60% of workers in the textiles and manufacturing sector are over the age of 40. David Nieper has launched a number of initiatives, includingThe David Nieper Scholarship to promote British fashion manufacturing skills, and provide hands-on experience to get more young people into the industry.