The Future of Fashion – Burnley College Student Wows Judges To Win Sustainability Themed Competition

Fashion Competition Winner -Finley Maguire

A creative Burnley College Student combined his design skills with style and sustainability to win the Gawthorpe Fashion Challenge.

The competition saw teams create, photograph and present fashion concepts around a theme, which this year was upcycling and sustainability.

Finlay Maguire, 17, from Bacup, was recognised for his bold, character driven pieces which featured reused clothing to ensure minimum impact on the environment.

Finlay describes his route into fashion as “unconventional”:

“I’m a student of A Level Graphic Communication, Media and Product Design which I’m studying at Burnley College.

“I’ve always been into design and creating and I undertook a project to highlight funding in the NHS. As part of that I started creating merchandise, experimenting with screen printing and gradients.

“An opportunity to venture into fashion came when my tutor, having seen the work I’d created, suggested I take part in a fashion show which really intrigued me.

“I view all art as a form of expression and think strong art carries a profound meaning. Themes of sustainability had already been part of my work for some time, using clothing from charity shops – which also provides a huge variety in the type and vibe of the garments you get to work with.”

The competition is an annual event organised by the Gawthorpe Textiles Collection, an internationally renowned collection of global textiles located in Padiham, Super Slow Way, a cultural development programme developing social spaces where people can express their own cultural identities and celebrate creativity, and British Textile Biennial, a Pennine based charity dedicated to creativity, innovation and expression in textiles.

Amanda Odlin from UCLAN is one of the people responsible for staging the competition.

She says the subject really resonated with the young designers:

“Fast fashion is a significant issue when it comes to sustainability and we wanted to see how young people would go about promoting slow fashion and environmentally conscious design among their peers.

“The competition is also a hugely educational experience for the participants who get to work alongside mentors from textile backgrounds who are experts in their field, passing on so much valuable knowledge.

“We’ve seen really strong creative relationships develop over the course of the competition, even given its fast-paced nature. That’s exactly the experience we wanted to create.”

Amanda says Finlay’s exceptional drive and dedication were just one part of the reason for his success:

“His graphics skills are evident, but what really impressed us was his open-minded approach on how to translate those skills into creating incredible fashion that really stands out.

“You saw every side of his personality in his process and his designs. He has a quiet dedication while working, but then a vibrant, playful side emerges during photoshoots.

“He brought these together to create a comprehensive look, even working with very tricky materials at times. Whatever he chooses to do, he will do it brilliantly.”

Finlay is also looking to the future:

“This win feels good in one sense as it’s nice to get recognition for your  accomplishments, but I always know there’s room for improvement. I’m always trying to elevate my work.

“I’m currently in the process of developing a lifestyle and clothing brand. I’m envisaging a unique marketing style with the use of characters to model the clothes in a cinematic universe and comic strips for each item of clothing, adding extra layers of detail and interest.”

Are you looking to the future? Do you have a passion for creating? Is sustainability something you want to learn more about? At Burnley College we have a wide range of courses for creative people and people who want to make a greener, cleaner future.

Come to our next Open Event, talk to our expert Tutors, explore your career options and discover our brand new fashion room.

Book your place now:

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