Fashion students studying at University Centre, Wigan & Leigh College are working on a project with retailer Matalan to design children’s nightwear.

First year Foundation Degree (FdA) Creative Industries Fashion and Textiles students will compete against each other in a competition to be judged by Matalan Children’s Wear Designer, Sarah Edwards.

The industrial link between the College and the store has been a yearly occurrence for the last decade and provides a unique opportunity to gain invaluable commercial experience.

Following a project brief, they will aim to design a caption of children’s nightwear and select which age range and gender they want it to appeal for.

The aspiring fashion designers will produce a set of hand drawn designs before creating on CAD Design software and produce a written report to submit for judging in early February.

They met Sarah at the Matalan store in Robin Park, Wigan to discuss ideas and interview the designer, who highlighted what a good opportunity this was.

“It’s a really good opportunity that provides reality and a taste of what it’s like to work in commercial design which gives a real insight into actual physical design and getting to know the background of a company," said Sarah.

“I want to see something a bit different, with great use of colour, great graphic skills and a bit of everything really. Most people lean toward girls wear whereas there’s so much you can do with boys wear.”

Over the years, students who have impressed with their designs have been invited to interview for work placements at the company.

Second year (FdA) student, Natalie Halliwell is currently working with designers at their Knowsley base, after catching the eye with her Christmas themed designs in last year’s competition.

Natalie is getting real hands on experience working with all designers and seeing all aspects of the process on her six week placement.

Former HND Fashion and Textiles alumni student, Madara Namike gained employment with Matalan as a Junior Designer and has since progressed to a Nightwear Designer with the retailer.

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