• UO Exclusive: ArtsThread

    For fashion graduates, the bridge between creative school work and seeing their clothing on the backs of people in the street is often a long (and very wobbly) one. It’s a competitive profession, and making a name for yourself in the industry can be a daunting prospect, yet there is such a wellspring of untapped talent that deserves to be seen. Enter ArtsThread, the world’s leading online network for young creatives. ArtsThread began life as a magazine that highlighted the best of graduate talent and, five years later, it's become a support system for more than 20,000 graduates, helping over 1,000 of them to launch their careers in the fashion industry.

    "I believe what we're doing here is correct, because it's coming from a level playing field," says ArtsThread co-founder Alex Brownless. "It doesn't matter who you are or where you're from—the talent shines through." This season, ArtsThread has teamed up with Urban Outfitters on Make It, a unique series of design competitions, aimed to launch the careers of emerging talent worldwide. For the first installment, we put the call out to fashion students across the globe to design a garment for Urban Outfitters Winter Holiday 2013 collection. Here, we introduce the winning designers, who just happen to be five adorable British girls who have created the perfect party outfits.

    Meet the Designers

    Name: Kate Hinchliffe
    Hometown: Manchester
    College: University of Salford
    The winning garment: Kate Chiffon Tunic Dress

    On seeing her finished design in-stores: It's bizarre! it's quite surreal, but really exciting at the same time. I've just recently graduated so it’s amazing. The dress has already sold-out online!

    On the ArtsThread experience: Everything's all a bit up-in-the air when you graduate, and you're like, Oh, what am I going to be doing now? ArtsThread has helped me know that I want to be doing this. I definitely need to be doing this. 

    On her winning design:
    The design for Urban Outfitters was taken from my final [university] collection, which was called Apartment Apparel. It was really inspired by me, because I'm quite a relaxed person. I like to just put something on and feel sexy in it, but not in-your-face.

    On dressing for the party season: I don't really do sequins. I'm quite simple. Like silk jumpsuits, silk dresses. I went into Urban Outfitters today and spent my winnings: I got a nice black leather pinafore dress from there, so I'll probably wear that out.

    Name: Joanne Miller
    Hometown: Liverpool
    College: University of Salford
    The winning garment: Joanne Silky Jacket

    On winning the competion: It’s overwhelming. I couldn’t take it for the first couple of weeks! I was just busy doing things, and then all of a sudden I’d be like, Oh my god! I’m going to New York! So yeah, it’s been really exciting.

    On coming to New York for the first time: I hadn't been here before, so this is really exciting. We’ve just been here a day. We got here yesterday but I was really jetlagged, so we went to bed and woke up early this morning and went to Urban Outfitters straight away. I want to do a lot of sightseeing and a lot of shopping.

    On choosing her winning design: I wasn’t going to pick that design, because it said on the brief that it should be a party dress, but then I spontaneously sent in the jacket design to see what would happen. And it won!

    Name: Nicolette Nadimi
    Hometown: London
    College: Ravensbourne
    The winning garment: Nicolette Plaid Dress

    On graduating college: It's quite overwhelming, but it's very exciting because you don't know what's coming. You have to keep motivated—it's all about keeping yourself going. ArtsThread is great. It gives you a platform, which is always wonderful, because you don't feel like you're on your own as much.

    On her winning design: I wanted it to be quite traditional, but something that really inspires me is embellishment, so that's why I added the lace and the layering. I imagined what I'd want to wear, and what other people may want to wear when going out to a party. I wanted something comfortable, that you could dress up or down. I quite like a ’90s T-shirt and I wanted to mix that with '80s punk.

    On dressing for the party season: I love to go to an underground rave, but I also like to get dressed up and put heels on and feel glamorous. Sparkles are always great and I love layering.

    On living in London: London is really exciting. I think it’s a place where fashion reaches out to a lot of young people. It's a place where, if you want to, you can express yourself, and be who you want to be, so it's really wonderful walking around and seeing everyone's different styles. It’s a great place to be if you're creative.

    Name: Natalie Deryer
    Hometown: Crowborough, East Sussex
    College: Manchester Metropolitan University
    The winning garment: Natalie Mesh-Inset Jumpsuit

    On finding out she'd won: I was on holiday and I got a voicemail from Alex, and he was like, “Hi, that competition? You’ve won!” I had to listen to it over and over again because I didn’t believe him. I was gobsmacked for about a week. 

    On seeing her finished design in-stores: We went to Urban Outfitters today, and then we had to find the items because they were dotted around everywhere, so we were running around and when we saw each others' we were like, “It’s here, it’s here!”

    On her personal style: I like shopping vintage but then mixing it with high street style. A sleek look mixed with something a bit different.

    Name: Charlotte Sowerby
    College: Northumbria University
    Hometown: Northumberland
    The winning garment: Charlotte Fringe Maxi Dress

    On choosing her winning design: I shop at Urban Outfitters a lot, so I really relate to the UO customer because I am the customer. I just designed what I wanted to see in there. I’m influenced a lot by music subcultures and cultural references. I think I was listening to Fleetwood Mac when I designed the dress, so there’s some of that in there, in the fringing.

    On seeing her finished design in-stores: We went to Urban Outfitters and in the first store mine was in the display at the front, so I got my picture taken next to it! It was amazing because I’d never seen my design in a store before. 

    On her musical muses: My university collection was based on The Birthday Party, which was Nick Cave’s band in the '80s, and I designed another collection at uni that was inspired by shoegaze: My Bloody Valentine and that psychedelic '90s kind of feel. I’ve got a very broad taste in music and I like to work all that in there.

    Want to see your design for sale at Urban Outfitters? Stay tuned for more details on our next ArtsThread competition, launching in December