Sophie Hallette champions graduate innovation in lace at the University Design Challenge 2014

hannah donkinHannah Donkin

Renowned French lace and tulle suppliers, Sophie Hallette, held their second University Design Challenge in June, with top talent from several award-winning UK universities showcasing graduate collections that incorporated innovative and creative use of lace in a bid to win first prize and £1,000.

Sophie Hallette’s president, Bruno Lescroart, and his wife, Florence, were joined by an illustrious panel of judges to cast their eye over the entries, including their daughter Maud, marketing director at the family company, as well as Stella McCartney’s Veronica Potocko; couturier Bruce Oldfield; editor of You magazine, Amy E. Williams; journalist, broadcaster and author, James Sherwood; and Oriole Cullen and Clare Browne, respected fabric curators at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

The judges were looking for standout creativity and technical abilities, as well as fully integrated collections, both of which winner Hannah Donkin from Northumbria University delivered in spades with a glamorously dark collection that utilised flashes of grey across a moody palette to magnificent effect.

Runner up went to Grace Weller from Bath Spa for her intricate and delicate collection that also received high praise at Graduate Fashion Week. Finally, menswear designer Tamsin Pick from Kingston also claimed a prize for her streetwear collection that proved that lace can be ultra cool for men, too.

Bruce Oldfield commented: “Sophie Hallette’s Design Challenge gives students the chance to experiment wildly with exquisite lace and tulle at a time in their lives when their creative juices are high, but their budgest are low! Some of the results from this year’s competition are extraordinary and prove that UK design students still lead the world.”

tamsin_graceL: Tamsin Pick; R: Grace Weller