University of Derby Students Win David Nieper Scholarship

University of Derby Students Win David Nieper Scholarship

In front of crowd of fashionistas at the University of Derby’s Big Fashion Show event, two students from the University of Derby have been crowned winners of this year’s David Nieper scholarship. Maddie Forester took first prize in the textile design category, and Freya Whittaker was awarded first prize in fashion design. Fellow students Emma Fenton, Annabel Eaton and Lucy Francis were all presented with runner-up places.

Over 100 students competed to win the prestigious David Nieper scholarship which challenged them to design a fashion collection to dress the older woman, a market often neglected by the fashion industry. As part of their mandatory portfolio project, students were briefed to create a sample collection of four garments one each for nightwear, evening wear, day wear and travel wear.

As part of the scholarship challenge, Maddie and Freya along with other students from their year spent a day at David Nieper in Alfreton, Derbyshire touring the design studios and meeting the Made in Britain fashion house’s  staff – gaining a rare and real-life insight into a company that designs and manufacturers all its clothing in the UK.


Winner Freya said:

“I am thrilled to be given this award! A massive thank you to the team at David Nieper. The brief for our project has been really interesting, as we needed to think about tailoring clothes for real women with different body shapes rather than models.

In my research I focused on the garments that David Nieper already produced and used them to influence my designs. By re-interpreting current designs to fit the 70s era that I looked at, I was able to design appropriately but creatively for the customer. I really enjoyed looking at fashion over the decades and how it has changed. I am hoping to be a designer when I finish Uni, and this work will be great in my portfolio.”

Christopher Nieper, Managing Director of David Nieper, said:

“We were very impressed with the level of imagination, originality and commercial understanding from the students in both the fashion and textile categories, however Maddie and Freya’s collections really stood out.  They both demonstrated exceptional creativity and technical ability. Congratulations to them both!”

The David Nieper scholarship is just one of the initiatives David Nieper runs 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.

Professor Huw Davies, Dean of the College of Arts at the University of Derby, said:

“The University of Derby is extremely proud of its relationship with David Nieper, which has grown from strength over the last four years. The opportunity for our students to gain real-live experience with such a high profile company based in the region, has been enormously beneficial in giving them the professional skills to thrive as the future generation of designers.

We are particularly pleased at the challenge presented to our students through the David Nieper Scholarship, as reflected in the high standard of work that it has inspired.”