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Fashion graduate Nicci James

Fashion student wins top international prize

20 November 2014

Nicci’s bold designs scoop £5,000 award

A FASHION student from MMU has won a prestigious international design prize.

Nicci James, a BA (Hons) Fashion graduate, took the £5,000 Gold Award at the 2014 NingBo International Fashion Design Grand Prix in China.

Students from the BA (Hons) Fashion degree travelled over for the awards ceremony, but Nicci says she did not expect to win.

She said: “When my name was actually called out for the Gold Award and I was presented with the trophy I don't think I really believed it. The whole experience was wonderfully surreal and overwhelming. It took a while to sink in.”

Spaceage heritage

Nicci said the judges praised her exciting and innovative use of colour: “They were impressed with my collection because of what I had achieved with knitting in a contemporary, graphic way. There were very few collections that were brave with colour, pattern & texture so it was my strength with fabric and colour that made me stand out.

“My collection was placed first in the running order of the catwalk show so it must have made an impact if the judges remembered it well after 25 other collections!”

The collection takes heritage performance wear and traditional fabrics and pushes them into an alternate future inspired by Sci-Fi Comics from the 1950s and children's predictions of the future.

Nicci said: “My key reference points were 1950s ‘space age’ performance wear, early Everest expeditions, sci-fi landscapes and traditional tweed patterning.”

Strength and depth

Four other students from the course were also praised for their work. Natalie Dawson won the best use of fabric award and Owen Hughes won the best visual effect award. Amelia Ashley won an award for excellence and Sam Newton was also commended.

Joe McCullagh, Head of Design at Manchester School of Art, said: “We are really delighted for Nichola and also our other highly successful students who have won top awards for this internationally prestigious fashion competition.

“Our fashion art school students won awards in five out of the six categories. This really highlights our great strength and depth in fashion. This is a really great international platform for our students who are working within an international competitive market and at this stage of their careers; they are truly world class in their chosen field.

“We would like to thank all the fashion team, technicians and students, as we know such competitions are a collective effort. I would especially like to thank Robin Kerr senior lecturer in Fashion who has developed excellent links within the fashion industry in China and has enabled our students to gain such fantastic international work experiences.”