David Nieper Scholarship in Fashion with Nottingham Students

Students at Nottingham Trent University have been awarded more than £5,000 for designing Made in Britain fashion for older women.

Jess Barry, a second-year fashion design student at Nottingham Trent University has been awarded £3,000 and been crowned the winner of the highly contested David Nieper scholarship prize.


Jess Barry, winner of the David Nieper scholarship prize

Knitwear design student, Charlotte Yates won £1,000 for her designs in the knitwear category with fashion communication and promotion student, Laura Oliver picking up £1,000 for her entry.

Students Danielle Sykes, Guy Dempster and Kellie Hooper also picked-up highly commended awards for their entries, with David Nieper also providing £500 towards the awards presentation that took place on Friday 14 November 2014.

The David Nieper scholarship challenged more than 200 Nottingham Trent University students to design a Made in Britain clothing range for stylish older women. Fashion and promotion students were also tasked with developing a marketing plan that fitted the scholarship competition brief to design a collection for a woman to take on a cruise holiday.

As one of a very small number of Made in Britain fashion houses that design and manufacture women’s fashion and knitwear in the UK, David Nieper launched the scholarship to support promising students and provide them with experience of designing for stylish and fashionable older women. The scholarship also provides much-needed funds for students to use towards costs and furthering their careers in fashion.

Jess Barry, 21 from Manchester, said: “It was a nice change to design for this audience range. I’ve never designed for an over 50s woman before so I considered shape and also the fact that this market is more affluent so I could use high quality materials. From my research, I also wanted to include an element of the flamboyant and colourful which I saw was something that there was a market for.”

Jess and her award-winning designs

Jess and her award-winning designs

To meet the brief of designing a collection for a woman going on a cruise, Jess chose to base her designs around the concept of a single woman going on an Alaskan cruise, using luxurious fabrics with pops of colour to create designs for an evening dress, nightwear, casual wear and a trouser suit along with a coat which could accompany all outfits. Following the experience, Jess has said it has made her want to design for the older woman in the future – “designing clothing for people who still want bright and yet sophisticated clothing.”

Christopher Nieper, managing director of David Nieper, said: “This is the second year we have worked with Nottingham Trent University. They understand the importance of working with industry and giving their students much-needed real-life experience in designing for real customers. Jess is a worthy winner and we were all very impressed with her designs and the talent of all the other winners and runners-up.”

The David Nieper scholarship is just one of the initiatives David Nieper has launched to encourage the growth of skills in the UK fashion and textiles industry. Employing 230 highly skilled people in Alfreton, Derbyshire, the company is passionately committed to UK manufacturing and up-skilling the next generation of fashion designers, pattern cutters and seamstresses, so that the industry can thrive and has a skilled workforce for the future.

Julie Pinches, Associate Dean of the School of Art & Design at Nottingham Trent University concludes: “This is a fantastic project for students to work with a company with such an international reputation. It is also an opportunity for students to develop their understanding of the fashion industry and to respond to a creative design brief. David Nieper has extended the project this year to other fashion promotion and knitwear design students and more winners have benefited from their generous support. We would like to extend our thanks to Christopher Nieper for offering this opportunity to our students.”

Christopher Nieper and the winners. L-R Kellie Hooper, Laura Oliver, Christopher Nieper, Jess Barry, Danielle Sykes. Photo ©  Georgina Godfree, final-year photography student at Nottingham Trent University

Christopher Nieper and the winners. L-R Kellie Hooper, Laura Oliver, Christopher Nieper, Jess Barry, Danielle Sykes. Photo © Georgina Godfree, final-year photography student at Nottingham Trent University

Quotes from the Students:

Runner up in the fashion design category was Danielle Sykes, 20, from Doncaster. She said she had enjoyed designing for a company which flies the flag for British clothing manufacture.


Danielle Sykes, fashion design category runner-up

Danielle, said: “I want to specialise in British bespoke bridal wear so when I got the chance to go to the David Nieper factory with the other finalists it was a fantastic experience. It is sad that a lot is made overseas and I think that’s why our course at Nottingham Trent University is so good, because we get taught true manufacturing skills and I think that’s brilliant – it teaches us far more than we would get if we just did designs and then sent them off to get made.”

The students had just four days to design their concepts, a process which has helped them as they enter their final year.

Danielle continues: “It’s certainly helped us to learn how to focus our ideas in a short space of time which is really useful for our final year collections.”

For the first time the project was opened up to students in their second year of the Fashion Knitwear and Knitted Textile Design course and the Fashion Communication and Promotion course at Nottingham Trent University.

Winning the Fashion Promotion and Communication category was Laura Oliver, 21, from Darlington.

Laura Oliver receives her prize from Christopher Nieper. Photo © Georgina Godfree

Laura Oliver receives her prize from Christopher Nieper. Photo © Georgina Godfree

Her brief was to create a promotional strategy with consumer insight for David Nieper, focusing around the Fashion Design course’s cruise-wear interpretations, but also, to create something that could be applied generally to the brand values.

Laura began by looking at the current brand ethos of David Nieper and its key competition and unique selling points.

She, said: “Working on a brief for over 50s was really interesting. I had recently attended a trend briefing based on the mature consumer that added a real level of insight for me to further explore. I actually really enjoyed designing for an older consumer group – ultimately they have a far larger disposable income than that of my own generation, the Millennials. They typically appreciate the finer things in life and this meant that my concept and strategy was able to take advantage of this and create something far more luxurious than perhaps I would have been able to for a younger demographic.

“When originally researching the brand, it was clear that handmade and designed in Britain added a real level of authenticity and class. This was evident in my promotional strategy as I celebrated the consumer; a lady of style and sophistication – selling not only clothes but a lifestyle.”

Winner of the Fashion Knitwear prize was Charlotte Yates, 21, from Leicestershire, who designed a knitwear range on the concept of a River Nile cruise.

Charlotte, said: “I aimed to design a range of garments that were both flattering yet comfortable and always suitable for the occasion. It was important to keep in mind that David Nieper is a 100% British brand and to try and reflect this in my design ideas. I tried to stick to garment silhouettes that are classic and clean whilst being more adventurous with colour and knitted patterning.”

She added: “This project really showed me the importance of the customer and their needs and also made me realise the scope for design possibilities even within a tight brief with a very specific target customer.”


L-R Kellie Hooper, Laura Oliver, Christopher Nieper, Julie Pinches (Associate Dean of Nottingham Trent University School of Art & Design) Jess Barry, Danielle Sykes. Photo © Georgina Godfree