BA (Hons) Fashion Contour student, Lucy Yardley, wins Ann Summers internship
As part of a curricular project, BA (Hons) Fashion Contour students were given the opportunity to design a spring summer 2023 multifunctional, contemporary contour collection for Ann Summers brand KBX Planet (Knickerbox) - a range aimed at the GenZ consumer. Students designed a collection of 10 pieces across 2 or 3 ranges for SS23, focussing on products that could be multifunctional. Lucy Yardley was crowned winner of the project, securing a two week internship including mentoring, a product gift bag and a personal selection from current in store ranges. Alongside Lucy, the 2 runners up, YeuAn Quach and Isabella Prichard caught up with LCF to tell us more about working on the project.
Congratulations, Lucy, on being crowned the winner of the project! How does it feel?
L: I am delighted to have won the competition during my Professional Practice Initiation project with Ann Summers. I was required to create a collection for Ann Summers's sister brand, Knickerbox Planet. The brand is intended for Gen- Z consumers and focuses on sustainability. The brief called to design a multifunctional contour collection focusing on athleisure.
To appeal to a Gen-Z consumer, I conducted consumer research and studied WGSN trends for SS23. I learnt that Gen-Z are confident, forward-thinking individuals who embrace change and are planet-aware. They are also inclusive, gender-aware and pro hybridisation. The WGSN research indicated that butterflies are critical for SS23, from prints to buttons, to hardware and laces.
Therefore, my concept was inspired by the intricate structures of butterfly wings and honeycomb. The collection aimed to generate conversation about endangered pollinators and highlight what we can do to stop the extinction of pollinators. I thought this concept would lend itself perfectly to the eco-conscious Gen-Z consumer and be on-trend for SS23. I learnt invaluable skills during the project, such as how to design for a customer and collate imagery for concept boards, pattern development skills, and manufacturing skills. I hope to build on this knowledge during my internship at Ann Summers and gain a 'behind the scenes' insight, and immerse myself into their product lifecycle while acquiring an understanding of buying and design.
Congratulations, YeuAn and Bella, on being crowned joint runners up of the project! How does it feel?
Y: A dream come true! It was the first industry project I have ever competed in, so I was very happy to be a joint runner up and represent London College of Fashion.
I: Honestly, I was in total shock. The opportunity to work with industry whilst still studying and being at university is part of the reason that drew me to applying for BA (Hons) Fashion Contour at LCF and it’s been a very exciting experience. Being joint runners up for a project that was a big step up after first year being in lockdown was just a great push for the future.
Tell us about the project – what were you required to do and how did you approach the task?
Y: We were asked to design a multi-functional collection for Ann Summer’s Knickerbox (KBX) Planet range. This entailed three ranges with four outfits in each range. I researched sportwear and athleisure as well as sustainable fabrics. I also researched Ann Summer’s consumers, competitors and fashion trends. This gave me the foundations to develop the key shapes of the range.
I: For this project we worked with lingerie brand Ann Summers to create a collection aimed at the Gen Z consumer target market, under their sustainable collection KNICKERBOX Planet. I approached the brief, by initially researching Ann Summers and then the history of KBX, before beginning to explore the consumer demographic and what is vital to them. This is how I decided on my final concept: the digital escape.
What skills gained on the course, were you able to put to use during this project?
Y: I’ve used some much of the skills I’ve gained from the BA (Hons) Fashion Contour degree, for example: garment construction techniques, range planning, CAD, understanding of fabric choices, including design development all the way through to realisation. We work in millimetre’s with very delicate fabrics so we develop a tacit understanding of what fabrics would work well, paying attention to the smallest details.
I: The greatest skills I have learnt on this course are probably not what people expect: organisation and preparation. Within the fashion industry you have to be able to run with deadlines and create critical paths to meet everything as needed. This project, timing really was everything due to the Christmas break and a very short time period between submission and presenting to the brand. Other skills that have been essential are the use of pattern creation from scratch, modelling on the stand and seeing practical skills.
Tell us about your concept and where you have drawn your inspiration and research from.
Y: Being an avid swimmer, my concept took inspiration from scuba diving key shapes as I found the aesthetic to be highly versatile. I then explored construction techniques and patterns to develop the collection. My look was based on a combination of athleisure and lingerie. It encompasses bold geometric shapes and lines to create an original and visually striking aesthetic.
I: My concept is called The Digital Escape. It derived from the idea that the target consumer are known as the Digital Age. I really wanted to embody and consider the consumer from start to finish and I think this was a great way of doing so. Through this concept, I explored digital design in fashion, circuit boards, gold wiring and shape and line. A big element of my collection was a custom circuit-board embroidery which is prevalent throughout several of the designs.
What did you find the most interesting element of working with a brand such as Ann Summers?
Y: I found it very interesting to apply your creativity to a real industry project. The challenge of interpreting the brief and making sure it is ‘on brand’ and fits with the client’s requirements is something that all designers must have at the back of their minds. So, this was a great project which I thoroughly enjoyed every moment!
I: The most interesting element of working with a brand such as Ann summers was the need to bend your own design vision to fit to work with someone else's. We all have our own individual design journey and making sure it coincides with the brand aesthetic can be a real challenge.