Lincoln student wins fashion award

University of Lincoln student Carly Squire picked up an award for designing clothes for women aged 50 and above, an age range often ignored by the fashion industry.

Squire’s Best of British collection hit the catwalk at the University of Lincoln’s Coming into Fashion catwalk show on May 20 at the Engine Shed.

The award comes from Derbyshire-based fashion house David Nieper, whose managing director, Christopher Nieper, presented Squire with the award.

The 22-year-old Fashion Studies student also secured a place in the final of the David Nieper Fashion Academy competition to find the best student fashion designers.

Squire follows in the footsteps of another award-winning Lincoln fashion graduate, Charlotte Bryan from Sleaford, who won the 2010 national David Nieper Fashion Academy competition.

Bryan’s prize included a six-month internship at David Nieper working alongside Julie Stone, the company’s head fashion designer. She is now employed full-time by David Nieper as a design room assistant.

Carly Squire said she was delighted to have won the award: “It was a challenging project as I’ve not designed for this market before but I undertook a lot of market research at the outset and talked to women in that age bracket.

“I opted for a nautical theme as I thought that could be worn by any age group and mixed it with the idea of Great Britain to create my colour palette and ideas for styles.

“I was then able to incorporate into the designs many of the elements I had learned from my research [which] were important to make the people in this market feel confident in the clothes.

“I think the key to the success of this collection was having respect for the target group and responding to what is important to them.”

Squire intends to put her prize money towards further study, having gained a place at Kensington and Chelsea College to study millinery.

Christopher Nieper said: “For 50 years we have been designing and manufacturing all our collections in our Derbyshire workshops and are passionate about supporting great fashion talent — just like Carly’s —so that we can encourage, nurture and retain fashion and manufacturing skills in the UK, especially within the East Midlands.”

The David Nieper 2011 Fashion Academy competition is open to all fashion students across the UK. A variety of cash prizes are on offer and the overall winner will receive £1,000 and attend a six-week David Nieper masterclass.

To enter, students need to design a collection of five garments aimed at fashionable and professional 50+ women.