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The University of Southampton

Fashion students have designs on Cowes

Published: 4 August 2004

Exciting designs by three fashion graduates from the Winchester School of Art are being showcased in a high-profile fashion show at Skandia Cowes Week on Sunday 8 August.

Sophia Hills, Patricia McDyer and Julia Smith, who all graduated this summer, have been chosen to show designs from their final graduation collections on the catwalk alongside up-and-coming young designer Hamish Morrow who has been commissioned by Skandia to create four concept pieces especially for Skandia Cowes Week. Hamish Morrow's recent collections have been inspired by sailing technologies and at Cowes he will be showing his Spring and Summer collection together with the four outfits at the Royal Yacht Squadron.

Underwater coral inspired Sophia Hills' colourful collection of glamorous swimwear mixed with large jackets and high heels. This inspiration has influenced the shape and silhouette of her designs, as well as the waterproof fabrics used in many of them. The 21 year-old, who lives in Poole, has used luxurious fabrics including quilted silk in yellows, cerise pink and white with gold piping to accentuate the silhouette.

Patricia Mc Dyer (22), from County Donegal, takes a warm and humorous look at the past's expectations of the future in her designs, nostalgically celebrating the spirit of future-gazers between the 1920s and 1950s whose visions were seldom realised. This has influenced fabrics and colours of the collection. The forms of the garments are suggested by movements of the body - a theme employed by early futurist artists to explore their concern with modernity and developments in technology. Patricia's work is lightheartedly tongue-in-cheek, with an emphasis on research, form and texture.

Julia Smith's elegant outfits draw their inspiration from water lilies and frogs legs which combine to create an airy translucent silhouette. Her collection is aimed at intelligent, wealthy women with taste and integrity and she hopes to sell her work in department stores such as Liberty of London. As part of her studies, Julia, who is 21 and from Kent, has undertaken a work placement with British fashion legend Vivienne Westwood.

John Hopkins, Head of Fashion at Winchester School of Art, said: "It's very exciting for our graduates to be invited to show designs from their final collections alongside those of Hamish Morrow. It's also a terrific opportunity for them as they move on to carve out successful careers in the fashion world. Winchester School of Art prides itself on producing professionally trained graduates of the highest calibre and these designs embody the creative and innovative approach we encourage our students to adopt."

The fashion show is one of the events being staged by sponsor Skandia to celebrate the tenth anniversary of its sponsorship of Cowes Week.

Related Staff Member

Notes for editors

  1. Digital images of Julia, Sophia and Patricia's designs featuring in the fashion show are available from Media Relations on request. Digital images from the show on 8 August will also be available on Monday 9 August.
  2. Winchester School of Art merged with the University of Southampton in 1996. Founded in 1860, WSA has an international reputation for research and teaching in art, art history and design, with overseas students in Barcelona and links with many other institutions in Europe.
  3. The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. The University has over 19,200 students and 4,800 staff and plays an important role in the City of Southampton. Its annual turnover is in the region of £250 million.
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