South Shields fashion student in running for top award

Lois Sleightholme with her collection
Lois Sleightholme with her collection

A fashion student from South Tyneside is in the running for a prestigious industry award after wowing judges with her collection.

Lois Sleightholme has been shortlisted for the YKK Accessories Award after creating a series of quirky designs featuring berets, backpacks and a shopping trolley.

One of Lois Sleightholme's designs

One of Lois Sleightholme's designs

The 23-year-old from Westoe, South Shields, will find out if she has won when she attends Graduate Fashion Week - which is taking place at the Truman Brewery in Hanbury Street, London tomorrow.

During the event, the Northumbria University student will have her work sent down the catwalk where it will be placed under the spotlight by industry experts, fashion brands and well-known designers.

Lois, who is studying Fashion BA (Hons), said: “I’ve visited GFW before but never with my own collection. It’s now my time. It’s a great opportunity and even better that I’ve been shortlisted for an award.

“I have my fingers crossed and I’m looking forward to seeing what opportunities the event brings.”

I studied textiles at school and that really inspired me to get into fashion

Lois Sleightholme

Former Harton Technology College student, Lois has based her designs from two inspirations her grandma and the work of Irish photojournalist and artist Richard Mosse, titled The Enclave – an infrared military film journeying through eastern Congo’s humanitarian disaster. Throughout her designs military and colourful details feature, mixed with aspects from her beloved Grandma’s style. The result includes intricate sunray pleats on skirts, with jazzy sequin details in camouflage shapes.

She added: “I studied textiles at school and that really inspired me to get into fashion – I did really well in the subject and knew it was the avenue I wanted to go into. Also, both my mum and grandma are very creative and always loved art – my mum has even helped me out with my final year collection.

“I would love to carry on designing. I love the portfolio side of the process and I think that is where I would like to specialise. It would be great to work for a brand or a designer, and gain some experience in the industry. I’m looking forward to Graduate Fashion Week, which will hopefully open a few doors.”

The Fashion, Fashion Communication and Fashion Design and Marketing BA (Hons) programmes at Northumbria have seen many graduates going on to careers at brands and agencies across the globe, including Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren and Nike.