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BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Technology

Using Technology, Creativity and Community to Succeed

Guest editor: Jordan Fergusson

In 2019, myself and Tia Alie won all-expenses-paid internships to Old Navy in San Francisco. Plans for the rest of my placement year at H&M in Stockholm were unexpectedly thwarted when a pandemic swept the globe. Following disrupted placements or second years, we were then thrown into cycles of lockdowns! Despite this, I saw myself and the Class of 2021 continuously overcoming obstacles.

Like everyone else, we had to adapt. This meant finding new ways of working as our physical community transferred to digital. Some of us re-located back to parents, even overseas. Others worked from home-studios or bedrooms in Manchester. Separation allowed us space to grow as individuals; we were still able to creatively collaborate, motivate and celebrate each other virtually. Students and staff hosted socials such as online drawing sessions and quizzes to boost morale.

Images: Big Gorgeous Drawing Session – FDT Instagram (1, 2)

Although we initially felt restricted compared to previous years, we developed new skills instead. Communicating digitally actually echoed what was happening in industry and allowed us to consolidate, working more efficiently. Some students embraced Clo3D (virtual prototyping), Gerber (digital pattern cutting) and/or innovative and more sustainable ways to develop physical garments such as working in 1/2 scale.

As part of a L5 optional live brief and ongoing partnership, students had the opportunity to collaborate virtually with Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology BIFT students. Work produced has featured in international publications, a film and garments will be exhibited in both Manchester and Beijing.

MFI X BIFT Collaborative Project Outfit WINNER 2020 – Sarah Duffy
MFI X BIFT Collaborative Project CLO3D WINNER 2020 – Natalia Siukstiene

Outfit by Sarah Duffy. Still from MFI X BIFT collaborative project, Direction by Amy Gwatkin
Outfit by Sarah Duffy. Still from MFI X BIFT collaborative project, Direction by Amy Gwatkin

We also had the opportunity to work remotely with professional sample machinists to realise the garments for our collections. This required preparing and communicating accurate technical information to industry standards using prototyping, specifications and CAD.

When campus opened for practical courses, we went in all guns-a-blazing, making the most of opportunities to use facilities. The ‘family’ network really came through, the camaraderie and determination supported us to adapt to changes. Completing our degrees during a pandemic is an achievement alone, but we have also secured acclaim through affiliations, awards and competitions!

Fashion Design and Technology is one of only 14 UK Fashion courses to be supported by the British Fashion Council and we were proud to be featured as part of London Fashion Week. Selected students will feature in the BFC 2021 Graduate Preview platform, an interface with industry and prospective employers.

There has been a growth in every single one of us, taking initiative and responsibility for our own practices to achieve the outcomes we might only have dreamed at the start. Many of us have been selected for upcoming competitions:

British Library x British Fashion Council Research Competition: Identity & Disruption FINALIST 2021 – Jordan Fergusson

Artsthread International Student Design Competition: Real Leather. Stay Different SHORTLISTED 2021 – Jonathan Ferris, Natalija Siukstiene,
Ruvarashe Claudia Torto, Naima Touray

Real Leather. Stay Different: Guntastölzl by Jonathan Ferris
Tropical Cowboys by Naima Touray

Graduate Fashion Foundation GFW21 Retail Trail: Twiin WINNER 2021 –
Shannon Woodward

Graduate Fashion Foundation Fashion Range Plan Award SHORTLISTED 2021 – Jennifer Shaw

Graduate Fashion Foundation Sportswear and Leisurewear Award Supported by Gymshark SHORTLISTED 2021 – Antalya Todd

Women’s Urban Run by Antalya Todd

Class of 2021 Womenswear student Sarah Duffy featured in Drapers ‘The Covid collections of Graduate Fashion Week’ 2021

“Distortion without distraction” by Sarah Duffy

We also won awards during previous years of study:

Old Navy (Gap USA) Placement in San Francisco, USA 2019 WINNERS –
Tia Alie and Jordan Fergusson

Gerber Ideation Student Competition SEMI-FINALIST 2019 – Kristy Yim

National Football Museum, STRIP How Football Got Shirty design competition FINALISTS 2020 – Claire Denvir and Amanda Townshend – Work scheduled to be exhibited following reopening

National Football Museum, Football Is Art design competition WINNERS 2019 – Masie Bowler, Kristina Candy, Rachel Man, Antalya Todd and Christian Hudson – Work exhibited in the ‘Football Is Art’ exhibition

National Football Museum, Manchester UK. ‘Football is Art’ exhibition 2019, photography by Sarah Collins

Fielding and Nicholson Tailoring Competition WINNER 2019 –
Ila Burton and Hattie Lofthouse

Prototype Exhibition, Holden Gallery, Manchester FEATURED 2019 –
Jewel Ka Sum, Sarah Duffy. Award WINNER – Natalija Siukstiene

Outerwear Lookbook publication, photography by Tanzaro Creative FEATURED 2018 – Jonathan Ferris, Lilly Harris, Isabelle Johnson, Elizabeth Kynaston,
Ciara Mcclay, Jacob Mbaki-Whitaker, Hannah Robertson, Jennifer Shaw, Naima Touray, Elise Turner and Kristy Yim

The results are something to be amazed at and I strongly believe that as we progress into the industry, this skill set that we have obtained from persevering will continue to be recognised, commended and set us apart to future employers, collaborators and/or business partners.

I continue to be so proud of myself and my classmates of the Fashion Design and Technology Class of 2021.

Thida Hawkins, Programme Leader, BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Technology

Through a year of unprecedented ups and downs, this year’s graduating cohort have faced challenges like no others. Whether returning following interrupted placements or an interrupted second year, they have applied creative thinking and ingenuity to produce some outstanding work.

They have responded as professionals and conceived innovative solutions. They have embraced new technologies and re-visited traditional techniques and crafts in order to achieve their final outcomes. They have continued to collaborate with each other, external parties and engage with live briefs and competitions throughout all years of study.

Sustainable, ethical and cultural considerations underpin motivations more than ever and we are extremely proud as they take these principles forwards into industry and society. Onwards and upwards into the future!

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Maisie Bowler

Rebecca Molyneux

Jonathan Ferris

Meg Toal

Amanda Townshend

Saffron Greaves

Tayler Spring

Kristina Candy

Antalya Todd

Sarah Duffy

Isabelle Johnson

Emily Hale

Colette Castellon

Eloise Kingman

Issy Angier

Emily Woodman

Ruvarashe Claudia Torto

Jo Sillars

Elizabeth Wood

Natalia Siukstiene

Harriet Neill

Ila Burton

Ciara McClay

Rachel Man

Tia Alie

Lily Harris

Olivia Lupton

Libby Holland

Elise Turner

Meg O'Callaghan

Jennifer Shaw

Kristy Suet Ching Yim

Lillie Papworth

Taryn Muhanji

Kyra Newton

Isabella Pedersen-Vaern

Demi-Louise Munro

Sophie Walker

Jordan Fergusson

Stefania Lombardo

Jewel Sum

Hattie Lofthouse

Shann Woodward

Pascal Leonard

Naima-Tallah Touray

Hannah Robertson

Elizabeth Kynaston