Abbie Killen shortlisted for Young Designer of the Year 2013
Cleveland College of Art & Design student Abbie Killen, 17, took on nine of the best young designers in the country, at the Clothes Show Young Designer of the Year Awards, after being shortlisted from over 50,000 entrants
The contest was judged by Clothes Show Live’s educational ambassador and fashion commentator Caryn Franklin, celebrity stylist Karl Willett and managing director of Haymarket Exhibitions Gavin Brown.
“It was an enormous shock just to make it as far as the finals,” said Abbie, of Hartlepool.
“I hadn’t set myself up to think I would win so it wasn’t a massive disappointment not to get first place. I was just so happy to see my dress up there on the catwalk.”
The competition, which supports the future of British fashion, was open to students from universities and colleges across the UK, all competing for the prize of £1,000 and a week’s work experience with a top London-based fashion designer.
Abbie’s dress was modelled by a contestant from this year’s hit TV show Britain’s and Ireland’s Next Top Model at the live event at the NEC Birmingham. But it almost missed out on a place in the final after a computer glitch.
“I hadn’t heard anything back after submitting my design illustration to the competition so I just assumed that was the end of it,” she said.
“What I didn’t know was that there was an e-mail saying I’d made it to the final sitting in my spam box for nearly two weeks.
“It was only when my tutor saw my name as a finalist on The Clothes Show website that I knew anything about it.”
Having lost almost a fortnight’s preparation time Abbie was left with just 10 days to make her competition dress from scratch based on the theme gigantical botanical.
“I’d taken inspiration from a leaf patterned damask material and images from the Palace of Versailles to make my knee length cream design,” said Abbie.
“The collar and cuffs area were all hand-stitched with thousands of tiny beads and the sleeves were inset with laser cut gold leather floral patterns.
“I was sewing every day, working 24/7, just to make sure everything was ready in time to be sent away for judging.”
Abbie’s success at making it to the final ten follows in the footsteps of former The Northern School of Art fashion students Sarah Gaw, of Hemlington who made it to the finals in 2012 and Charlotte Wood, 20, of Redcar, who won the competition in 2011.
“I was up against some very stiff competition, but the whole experience of just being a part of The Clothes Show Live was absolutely incredible,” added Abbie.
“My plans are now to go to Westminster University, London, to study fashion design and hopefully one day get to show what I can do at London Fashion week, just like Claire Barrow who is a graduate of this course.”
For more information on opportunities at The Northern School of Art contact (01642) 288888 or log on to www.ccad.ac.uk.