Trendsetter Abigail Panton was going for gold at Graduate Fashion Week.


Trendsetter Abigail Panton was going for gold at Graduate Fashion Week.

The Northumbria University student travelled down to London to show off her designs at the annual showcase and impressed judges so much she was nominated for a gold award.

Her “rude boy” collection was also picked to feature in the prestigious finale show and delighted Abigail said: “I am overwhelmed!”

Her menswear creations were chosen from more than 400 collections to feature alongside just 24 others in “best in show” and “gala” viewings to representatives of the fashion industry and press.

Kristen Pickering, the university’s programme leader of fashion, said of her success: “We’re thrilled Abigail was nominated for a gold award. It’s a real honour for her collection to be signalled out.”

Abigail’s fellow final year fashion students also proved a hit in the capital.

Abigail Panton's line-up

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Their collections were the ones picked for London from Northumbria’s recent graduate fashion show at Baltic in Gateshead where they made their debut.

And the group returned to Newcastle with a total haul of 20 award nominations, as well as interviews with fashion labels.

The university’s annual success at Graduate Fashion Week has seen it put its stamp on the world of fashion, with many talented graduates going on to work for worldwide labels such as Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Abercrombie & Fitch.

This year, which marks the 60th anniversary of its fashion course, is following the same trend.

Its Northumbria University Fashion stand in London featured exhibitions from students from three BA (Hons) fashion courses: communication, design and marketing and design.

And all saw students shortlisted for awards over the event’s four days, with more receiving job opportunities during the week.

On the second day, 23 students’ end-of-year collections took to the catwalk and were photographed by Newcastle-born photographer Chris Moor, known as The Catwalk King.

And on the final day the best catwalk collections were held backstage as judges chose the best of the week and it’s here Abigail’s rude boy-inspired menswear collection caught their eye.

Abigail said: “I am overwhelmed to have been placed alongside the best and I know I have developed a great set of skills which are valued in the industry.

“I’m proud of my collection which took a lot of determination to see through to the end.”

She was also grateful for the “amazing” support of Northumbria’s fashion tutors and technicians.

“They never say no and are always ambitious on our behalf. We’ve turned our ideas into real garments and I’ve learnt to harness my creativity when I need to.”

Kristen Pickering said: “We’ve had a great week.

“The judges noted catwalk impact and consistent creativity across Abigail’s menswear collection. We’re all very proud.

“Visitors to the stand have commented on the quality of manufacturing which is appreciated as our students do make all their garments in the university.”

She added: “Graduate Fashion Week is a celebration of talent but it is mainly about graduate promotion.

“The event this year had 30.000 visitors, mostly potential employers. We are very hopeful our fashion graduates will be successful in gaining employment as a result: we have a strong cohort of students across the three programmes.”

Fashion communication students were among those shortlisted for awards, with Kiera Muers and Emma Burke runners-up in the marketing and new media categories and a magazine by Angel Dimmick highly commended in the Drapers fashion publication award.

Isabella Lombardini was shortlisted in both the fashion photography and the fashion styling and art direction category.

Students Caroline Spratt and Olivia Pink had collections shortlisted for the Boohoo Innovation Award and had an interview with the company’s design director Caroline Evans.

And fashion design student Selina Lunn took second place for the Portfolio award sponsored by Karen Millen and was invited to interview for a position at the brand.

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