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London fashion students win Retail Futures Challenge

May '09
Lisa Storrier, Arianna Wright, Julia Shipton and Michelle Hammon from London's Fashion Retail Academy were named the winners of the Retail Futures Challenge at the World Retail Congress in Barcelona last night (7 May 2009) during a prestigious ceremony at the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya.

The London team faced fierce competition from students at the New York Fashion Institute of Technology and the Hong Kong Polytechnic but wowed judges with their post recession retail concept of updatemywardrobe.com. All three colleges gave strong and innovative presentations to leading industry experts at the Congress, including the judging panel which consisted of Phil Wrigley, Executive Chairman of New Look, Jim Stengel, CEO of Jim Stengel LLC and Former Global Marketing Officer at Proctor & Gamble, Vittorio Radice, CEO of La Rinascente and Bernie Brooks, CEO of Myer.

With 80 per cent of 18-21 year olds using social networking sites, updatemywardrobe.com would be developed as a one stop social networking site allowing customers to shop across retailers whilst chatting to friends and swapping outfit ideas. The concept also includes a swap shop for the environmentally friendly consumer which aims to reduce the amount of good clothing sent to landfill every year.

As with facebook, www.updatemywardrobe.com will be available as a mobile phone application and with near field technology it will allow shoppers to take pictures of garments in store and upload them onto their profile whilst out shopping to find out how the garment looks like with other garments in their wardrobe via their 'virtual me'.

Sir Philip Green, who spearheaded the launch of the Fashion Retail Academy in London, said: "The team's innovative retail concept 'updatemywardrobe.com' shows real understanding of how fashion retail is becoming increasingly interactive, and must be exciting with a point of difference, as well as ever changing great product, to keep ahead in a very competitive and challenging market.

Well done to them, and the tutors and industry mentors who helped them - it's a great credit to the Academy, less than three years since it launched, to win against such great institutions as those competing from Hong Kong and New York. This is an important example of how business working alongside education can nurture new talent into the Retail Industry worldwide."

Terry Green, chief executive of clothing for Tesco who mentored the London team added: “Their ideas are innovative, exciting and have great commercial potential.”

Karen Dennison, Principal of the Retail Fashion Academy said: “At the Academy our main aim is to engage with the industry to help our students begin their careers and this competition has been a real platform to help springboard their careers.

What is great is how the industry has really engaged with the students, we've had CEO's, Managing Directors and Chair's coming over to speak to theteam about the concept, how it was researched and how they arrived at the concept presented. The real success of this competition is that the team has been listened to and valued.

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