Edinburgh students taking fashion world by storm

Lilly Archibald with one of her designs. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Lilly Archibald with one of her designs. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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AN Edinburgh art student is proving she’s a cut above the rest after getting to the finals of a competition ran by Savile Row.

Talented Lilly Archibald, 21, who is studying at the Edinburgh College of Art, beat hundreds of entries to get into the top 20 of the National Tailoring and Design Awards 2014.

She spent weeks sketching her unisex designs in the hope of wowing top industry experts.

“I’m really interested in tailoring so it seemed silly not to enter but I was really shocked I’ve got to the final,” she said.

“Savile Row has a world-wide reputation for bespoke tailoring and a superiority of craftsmanship that is unparalleled to any other.

“I have been enormously inspired by their uncompromising use of traditional tailoring techniques and high quality of finish which I hope to show in my own designs.”

Lilly designed two outfits, one based on traditional tailoring, and the other a more conceptual design to “push the boundaries”.

A panel of experts will judge the designs and the overall winner announced later this month, with a range of prizes including fashion shoots with industry giants Dugdale Bros & Co, Cad & The Dandy, Bladen, Menstyle Fashion and Savile Row Training Academy.

Savile Row Training Academy was designed to support students and graduates by increasing their tailoring and sewing skills with the desired outcome to bring tailoring back to life.

A spokesman said: “Being able to see the new generation’s ideas for tailoring is something which is very exciting and being given the chance to see these first hand has been an honour. There has been a large variety of entrants all with brilliant aspects to offer the fashion industry and I hope to see these ideas coming through into the fashion world in coming years, giving tailoring a fresh look.”

‘I’m so excited to be representing the UK’

Budding design prodigy Nilufar Islam, 23, is also flying the flag for Edinburgh’s burgeoning fashion talent scene – having been picked to represent the UK in a prestigious international competition.

The would-be textile queen – who has already worked with Swedish furniture giant Ikea – will compete with other young designers from across Europe for top spot in the Bemz Design Award.

Bemz, a funky Swedish company which customises plain Ikea furniture fabrics, will showcase triumphant work on products it sells in 35 countries worldwide – a prospect Nilufar relishes.

The Heriot-Watt student said: “I am so excited and just very grateful they saw the potential in my work. I’m not nervous and love to represent the UK.

“I take great pride in being a Scottish-Asian designer. It’s a competitive programme and I’m pleased to have made it to this stage. There is a lot of tough competition though.”

To further hone her skills, the Bangladesh-born former Trinity Academy pupil will spend an exciting stint working with top designer Julien Macdonald, 42, this month. Macdonald – better known for his recent appearance on Strictly Come Dancing – is considered one of Britain’s hottest design tickets.

A college source said his studio was “very impressed” with hand sewing Nilufar did for a range of sexy embroidered tights and bodysuits as an intern last summer.

In the run-up to London Fashion Week, they hope the experience she gains with Macdonald will push her to victory in the Bemz showcase competition. Nilufar, in her third year at Heriot-Watt’s School of Textiles and Design, is the toast of classmates.

Mark Parker, studies director at the school of textiles, said: “We’re delighted one of our students has made the shortlist of this prestigious international competition.”