THE design flair of a talented University of Huddersfield student has caught the eye of one of the biggest names on the high street.
Not only has retail giant Wilkinson awarded a £1,000 prize to new graduate Laura Davenport after she exhibited her work at a major show in London, but it has also begun talks with the 22-year-old, aiming to use her designs and develop new ideas.
It means that within months, Laura could see designs from her award-winning portfolio reproduced on fabrics and ceramics in some of the UK’s most popular stores.
“It would be absolutely fantastic to go into a branch of Wilkinson and see some of my designs on sale.
“It feels great to be recognised and rewarded at the same time,” said Laura.
She describes her style as illustrative with a quirky edge and she likes to incorporate different themes into her designs – nautical and floral influences have recently found their way into her work.
Laura has just graduated from one of the university’s most popular courses, in textile design for fashion and interiors.
It is regarded as a cutting-edge course, using computer technology, but it has deep roots in Huddersfield’s long tradition of education and training in textiles, to meet the needs of local industry.
Every year, a group of the most promising students on the course are chosen to take their work to a London showcase event named New Designers.
Laura had some of her latest designs on display, in a category sponsored by Wilkinson. She was awarded the first prize and the company immediately began to discuss future projects.
Course leader Nicola Redmore said: “Laura has beautiful drawing skills, which Wilkinson immediately picked up on.
“She had a lovely, fresh collection on display and Laura is a very commercial designer, in the best sense of the term. She is very grounded and knows what will appeal to the public. She is definitely one of our most promising students.”
Laura, who comes from Stockport, had placements with two Cheshire-based textile firms and she is convinced that the experience is a factor in her success.
Ms Redmore said that the emphasis on work placement was an important element in high employability rates among ex-students and those who took up the option tended to come out with the best degrees.