David Nieper Awards Gray’s Finest for Putting the Spotlight on 50+ Fashion Design

Two third-year BA (Hons) Fashion Design students from Robert Gordon University’s Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, have been recognised for their talents in designing for women aged 50 and above – an age range that is all too often ignored by the fashion industry.

David Nieper, the Derbyshire-based fashion house, which is celebrating its 50 anniversary this year, rewarded Ashley Duncan, 20 from Peterhead with a special David Nieper trophy, £250 and a fast-track place into the final of the David Nieper Fashion Academy competition – a highly prized and fought for competition to find the best student fashion designers.

A further Aberdeenshire local, Jamie Johnstone, 20, from Kinellar picked up a runners-up certificate for her collection entitled, ‘Night Owl’.

Ashley will now follow in the footsteps of another award-winning Gray’s School of Art fashion design student, Kayleigh Archibald, from Orkney, who went on to take the runner-up crown and £1,000 in the 2010 national David Nieper Fashion Academy competition.

Ashley was presented with her award by Professor Paul Harris, head of Gray’s School of Art, after her ‘Meryl’ collection hit the catwalk at the School’s Graduate Fashion Show 2011 on Thursday 2 June, at The Academy Shopping Centre in Aberdeen in front of an audience of over 200, including representatives from the local academic, business and fashion communities.

Christopher Nieper, managing director of David Nieper, said: “We design and manufacture all our collections in our Derbyshire workshops and are passionate about supporting great fashion talent – just like that of Ashley’s and Jamie’s.  The fashion students at Gray’s School of Art always impress, and we are eagerly awaiting more entries from Gray’s into our national search to find the very best young fashion designers.”

Inspired by the actress Meryl Streep, Ashley’s collection was selected for the David Nieper award for being trend aware but also realistic for the mature woman to wear. The cut and silhouette of each piece flatters the body, while co-ordinating with confident prints and quality fabrics.

The David Nieper 2011 Fashion Academy competition is open to all fashion students across the UK.  A variety of cash prizes are on offer and the overall winner will receive £1,000 and attend a six-week David Nieper masterclass.

To enter, students need to design a collection of five garments aimed at fashionable and professional 50+ women.  All entries should also be accompanied by a marketing strategy and plan to introduce and sell the collection direct to customers both on and offline.