Student Design Competition
Last year marked a very important milestone for us here at Hawes & Curtis as we proudly celebrated our centenary. One hundred years of shirt making is no mean feat, so we asked final year fashion students from Nottingham Trent University and Leeds College of Art to design a shirt to reflect our rich heritage, while also mirroring modern trends. We never said it would be easy.
Hawes & Curtis was established in 1913 by Ralph Hawes and Freddie Curtis with the intention of creating high quality, exclusive clothing for gentlemen. Today, we cater for men and women alike and offer our customers a variety of fits and styles to suit all tastes. Throughout the years we have remained loyal to our exceptionally high standards and these winning shirts are exemplary of our uncompromised quality. They are the perfect addition to our premium Men’s Fashion Limited Edition range and our exquisite Ladies Pink Label collection.
The ‘Design a Shirt’ competition has been running since 2011 after receiving backing from our chairman Touker Suleyman who was keen to help students promote their work and gain valuable commercial experience. Students from Nottingham Trent University and Leeds College of Art are given a different brief each year and are expected to research the Hawes & Curtis brand along with our customer base. The aim is to come up with a shirt which demonstrates an awareness of our style, while keeping in mind the commerciality and production viability of the chosen design.
The competition brief for 2013 sparked interest from 23 talented designers all studying at the institutions. Entrants were asked to support their design with trend boards showing their inspiration behind the idea, while also maintaining the vast historical heritage of the brand. Back in December 2012, final design sketches were submitted along with suggested fabric and colour swatches.
Hawes & Curtis’ Brand Manger Edward Smith, along with Area Manager Sarah Meese and Designer Myfanwy Morgan reviewed the designs and selected six finalists. The chosen finalists were then asked to submit a sample of their design, which was displayed in windows of the local stores for two weeks. Customers were able to choose their winner by a secret vote and the head office team also judged their favourites. Winners were then offered the opportunity to complete a work placement at our Head Office in London before their shirts were put in to production.
Congratulations to our worthy winners Lewis Heath and Toni MacFarlane from Nottingham Trent University and Samantha Gatman from Leeds College of Art.
Lewis Heath – Nottingham Trent University
Joint winner Lewis combined the H&C emblem with the classic Prince of Wales check in different scales for this striking digital print. Traditional formal colours blue and white were given a modern touch with red trims and multi-colour button detailing. This 100% cotton shirt features a detachable white rounded collar, which allows the wearer different styling options. The Hawes & Curtis crest is embroidered in red on the double cuffs of this this slim fit fashion shirt.
Lewis Heath, 23, from Chesterfield, Derbyshire is now working as a production and design sample cutter for Blue Clothing, supplying fashion brands such as Topshop and Phase Eight.
He said: “I decided to take the brand back to its roots, looking at one of the most iconic gentlemen of the century, and the Hawes and Curtis role model, The Duke of Windsor. The detachable collar, cuff and bib detail was popular in the early 1900s, and so I brought it into the 21st century.
“I felt winning the competition was fantastic, as I wanted to really understand how a renowned company makes men’s shirts. To be voted as one of the winners by the public is such a sense of achievement.”
Toni MacFarlane – Nottingham Trent University
Joint winner Toni used historical detail in lace collars and bibbed fronts found in 1900s female costume. She combined this with a beautifully soft delicate oyster colour in our statement satin, with a unique bold placement print on the front. Black grosgrain ribbon details add a modern touch, and the ¾ sleeves make this the perfect day to evening shirt.
Toni MacFarlane, 24, from Sherwood, Nottingham is now working as a women’s formal tops designer for Marks & Spencer, employed by their largest jersey supplier.
She said: “My winning shirt was designed to celebrate the centenary of the company, so I chose to look back at fashion at the time the company began. I took inspiration from the fashion of 1913 for shapes and details. Using the Nottingham Lace Archive, I created lace prints for my shirts, based on lace used in 1913.
“Winning the competition helped boost my confidence for the rest of my 3rd year at university. It was also exciting knowing this was the first ever garment I had designed that was going into shops.”
Samantha Gatman – Leeds College of Art
Winner Samantha picked up on ideas from the era of one of our most famous customers – the Duke of Windsor. She reflected this in soft cream and pale green colours, with double collar detail and pretty lace trims to sit with the lace inspired floral print. The contrast cream single cuffs are stylish and fuss-free while the lightweight satin drapes beautifully for a romantic summer shirt.
Samantha Gatman, 24, from Selby, North Yorkshire is now working as a visual merchandiser for Hackett.
She said: “The main inspiration behind my shirt was the Duke of Windsor and the Windsor collar. I was also inspired by the romance trend for Autumn/Winter 2013, which is reflected in the fabric print design and the lace details on the collar.
“Having the opportunity to design a shirt for Hawes & Curtis has been really rewarding and is something I will cherish for a long time. This competition is an experience I won’t forget and winning was a great reward for the time and effort I put into the competition brief.”