Student wins 'Fashion with a conscience’ award

April 18, 2008 - United Kingdom

A budding fashion designer from MMU has won the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) annual Student Award for his womenswear designs.

22-year old Nabil El-Nayal, a final year BA (Hons) Fashion student, beat over one hundred entries to take the £1,200 prize.

The competition brief - entitled ‘Fashion with a conscience’ - tasked students to design a capsule collection of 12 outfits that reflected current environmental and social concerns.

Four students from MMU were amongst the 13 finalists selected for the final in London, where they were grilled by seven industry judges, including Wendy Dagworthy (Head of Fashion at the Royal College of Art) and British fashion designer Sylvia Ayton (Vice Chairman of the Costume Society).

Nabil based his award-winning collection on the theme of longevity, in contrast with today’s throw-away approach to fashion. Taking his inspiration from the Elizabethan era and the dark days of the Black Death, Nabil designed a black and white range with simple, clean, flowing lines and a timeless quality.

A passion for fashion
Nabil said: "I'm passionate about creating clothes – I’ve never wanted to do anything else – and I'm passionate about the concept behind clothes. I love looking at historical clothing to rediscover styles and techniques that have been forgotten over time. The idea of bringing back ideas from history and using them in a contemporary context really excites me. I also don’t believein a fast fashion, so the competition brief was perfect for me."

He continues: "I thought my designs might not be commercial enough for the judging panel, but they really seemed to understand what I was trying to achieve. I never dreamt I’d win, so I was really shocked when I found out!

"I can’t believe how far I’ve come since my first year and I think my garments are now both commercial and eccentric. I love the idea of shaping the way people look in the future."

A bright future ahead
Nabil is currently working on his graduation collection and waiting to hear if he’s been selected for the prestigious Graduate Fashion Week in London. One voluminous dress, which took Nabil 10 weeks to create, has a high neck piece sewn entirely by hand, six sleeves and uses 16 metres of fabric.

The talented fashion designer joins the Royal College of Art in September to study for a MA in Womenswear and plans to use the RSA prize money to help fund his studies. Longer term, Nabil dreams of working for a high end designer and one day running his own fashion label.