Tuesday 3rd June 2008 by C. Freeman
Year 10 student, Elin Carmichael has won a competition to design a dress for pop star Lily Allen. The bright pink polka-dot creation impressed the judges from the University of Northampton so much that she won first place in her age category.
Now Elin's winning design is to be displayed at the University's Graduate Fashion Show at the Royal & Derngate and she will receive VIP treatment, meet dignitaries and receive a trophy at the event on 18 June.
This is the third year that the University has launched a nationwide design competition for students from Years 10 to 13. This year's design brief was to create a size 12 fuschia outfit to be worn hypothetically by Lily Allen at Glastonbury. Elin won in the Year 10 to 11 category and Nicky Daniels, Deputy Director of Marketing at the University said: 'Elin did an amazing job, we were very impressed and her dress fulfilled all the design criteria.'
Elin first saw the competition advertised in the local paper. She said: 'I started sketching some designs. The dress is quite 50s inspired because it's got a big skirt and drop waist. It took a long time to make with the cutting out and it was fully lined with layers of net underskirt.'
Elin enlisted the help of her gran, Hilda Walker, to help with some of the technical aspects. She said: 'My gran used to make her own clothes and she told me all these stories about how she used to starch her skirts in sugar water and she'd make a dress on a Friday to wear on Saturday.'
She added: 'I was speechless when I found out I'd won! I had put a lot of effort into the dress so it was really lovely to hear it had paid off. I've always liked sketching designs of clothes I'd like to wear, but this was my first attempt to create something. For me, the competition was a fabulous opportunity to finally put together something I'd thought about for so long.'
Elin's family will accompany her to the Graduate Fashion Show in Northampton where students from this year's BA degree course will have their designs paraded down the catwalk by professional models from top London agencies. The fashion department at the University of Northampton is well established and internationally recognised with many graduates going on to work with top designers.
About 1600 people will attend the matinee fashion show with students from as far afield as Barnet, Buckinghamshire and Peterborough gathering to view the glitzy catwalk show and Elin's winning design which will be displayed on a mannequin.