London Fashion Week takes place this month, and although it highlights some of the biggest names in fashion, it alsoÂ acts as a springboard for new and emerging design talent. Perfect timing thenÂ to share one of the ways that M&S lingerie is inspiring the designers of the future. Paschal Little, Head of Innovation and Quality for Lingerie at M&S, explains…
We recently workedÂ on anÂ exciting and forward-thinking project with the second year students at De Montfort University Contour Fashion design course. We worked closely with the highly skilled and dedicated team of lecturers headed up by Gillian Proctor, David Morris and Rachel Toner and with the Stretchline Elastics team of Norman Collier and Barry Head. Collectively we set the challenge to look out into the future and design ideas that would fit the needs of what women would want from their lingerie wardrobe in 10 years time. Quite a challenge for the students who had not worked in this way before!
We helped initially by showing them a history of M&S Lingerie from the sale of our first bra in 1926 to some of the latest Design and Innovation launches. We also talked them through our process for researching and delivering new lingerie ideas for our customers.
The students responded brilliantly, splitting themselves into groups to look specifically at the needs of different age groups and changing lifestyle and trend needs. We provided a cash prize for the winning designs and the offer of a work placement in our Lingerie Design studio alongside Soozie Jenkinson and her team.
We had a hugely difficult task in choosing the winning designs and ideas as the quality and originality of thought was so high. We eventually narrowed it down to 10 shortlisted designs and let our Design and Technical teams in London choose the winners.
The winning entry was by Katy Menzies, taking an existing M&S best selling bra – the Total Support Bra – and redesigning it for the future with great style and originality. The runner up was Alicia Read who submitted a fantastic and original idea for sleepwear.
It was a great pleasure for me to visit the 65 year anniversary event of the De Montfort University Contour Fashion course in Leicester on Saturday 16 June to present the prizes to Katy and Alicia. Since then Katy has spent a number of weeks working with the Design team here in London and learning lots. Well done to both Katy and Alicia, it was a really great experience for all of us.
Soozie Jenkinson, Head of Lingerie Design adds: â€œNurturing future talent by supporting students has always been important to M&S and every year we take on Design Graduates and Business Placement Programme students. It was a pleasure to invite the winner of this prize into our studio and I hope the experience she has gained from it will prove invaluable for her future design career”.
The Total Support bra is available in a variety of different styles, colours and fabric finishes, including this top rated style.
What do you think women will want from their lingerie in 10 years time? If you were a lingerie designer, what would your ideal bra look like? Let us know by leaving a comment below.