Sunderland students are celebrating after their budget wedding dress designs went under the spotlight, as part of a nostalgic marriage exhibition in the city centre.
Groups of ten students studying Fashion and Clothing BTEC Extended Diploma Level 3 at Sunderland College were given £50 to fashion their own wedding gown, as part of a collaboration with the Winter Garden Museum’s Something Old, Something New exhibition which took a step back in time to look at how weddings and attitudes to marriage have changed over the centuries.
The exhibition, which ran over the summer, allowed students aged 16 to 19, to put their creative skills to the test as part of their first year practical learning assessment, and saw members of the public attend to judge the designs.
Louise Barber, 18, from Tunstall in Sunderland, Rachael Simpson, 18, from Newbottle, Houghton le Spring and Latasha Rice, 17, from Thorney Close, Sunderland were chosen as the winning group for their imaginative gown, which was sourced from a local charity shop and embellished with cuttings of different garments. The trio were awarded vouchers on behalf of high street book specialist Waterstones for their artistic efforts.
Rachael Simpson, said: “I really enjoyed working as part of a team but we each had our own task for different aspects of the dress, which allowed us to use our individual skills. We had to change and adapt our ideas part way through the project to fit in with the timescales we were working to, but it did not compromise the final design of the dress. Not only was it an honour to be chosen as the winning team but working together on a creative brief and on such a tight deadline has helped to prepare us for university and the challenges ahead.”
Helen Willey, fashion and clothing lecturer and tutor has been delighted with the success of the course since its first intake in 2011 and believes the exhibition was a perfect platform to showcase the student’s skills.
She said: “The Something Old, Something New exhibition allowed the students to study century-old traditions and attitudes to incorporate in a bespoke piece by bringing an old garment to new life, inspired by the plants and leaves in the Winter Gardens. At the college, we’ve been delighted with the intake of students looking to excel in fashion and clothing and this was more than evident during the exhibition assessment. Some students showed great initiative by customising their mother’s wedding dress in order to better spend the assigned £50 on extra embellishments and trimmings, and the final pieces were simply fantastic.
“The collaboration also allowed students to work on a live brief to a tight deadline, complete with budget constraints giving them a realistic idea of how they would need to work within the fashion industry.
“The winning design was a collective effort and was chosen for its artistic design, interpretation and creative use of fabric manipulation. The design has even been entered for a student competition at the Knitting Stitching Show at Harrogate International Centre, which is a real honour for the students and the college.”