Plastic waste is among textiles used by Doncaster student whose work goes on show at prestigious Graduate Fashion Week

Sustainability and nostalgia are the lynchpin inspirations behind one student’s collection that has been selected to appear on the catwalk of this year’s prestigious Graduate Fashion Week.

Friday, 31st May 2019, 9:29 am
Updated Friday, 31st May 2019, 9:37 am
Fashion student Emma Rigby

Emma Rigby, from Doncaster, is a Fashion Textiles student at Northumbria University and has had her final collection chosen to be featured at the prestigious event, which showcases the very best fashion talent emerging from UK universities in 2019.

In a bid to inspire adults to reminisce about their childhood, Emma has incorporated nostalgic themes into her designs, with prints influenced by the narrative of a children’s book she has written. She has also utilised plastic waste as a textile for some of her designs – creating sustainable nostalgia.

Fashion student Emma Rigby

As part of this year’s showcase, Emma has been nominated for three awards, the Mothercare Childrenswear Award, the David Band Textiles Award and the Design Portfolio Award. Winners will be announced as part of Graduate Fashion week, which takes place between June 2 – June 6. Emma also has an interview lined up for Texselect where she could win the opportunity to have her collection showcased at Première Vision in Paris.

With a background in fine art and textiles and a love for illustration, Emma took a natural step toward a degree and chose Northumbria University for its impressive textile studio and placement options. Emma secured a six-month placement at Urban Outfitters followed by a 6-month placement at H&M, as a Print Intern.

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Emma was then offered a Print Assistant role with H&M the following summer, working on the Divided girls’ accessories department, which at the time featured quirky animal prints – something she has developed throughout her own designs.

Emma said: “My placements at Urban Outfitters and H&M were the highlights of my degree – I learnt a lot about the kind of designer I want to be. My university lecturers were really helpful throughout the process and they have good industry contacts to help students find the best placements.”

Inspired by the bold patterns of designers such as Miu Miu and Marni, Emma has confidently combined contrasting prints to create her signature style, saying: “The best piece of advice I’ve been given during my studies is to keep being myself. It’s easy to be influenced by the designers around you, but it’s important to have your own personality and I believe my collection portrays that.

“I have loved the Fashion Textiles course. At times it is hectic but when you’re passionate about your designs, it’s work you’re happy to do. If I could give fashion students starting out some advice, I’d tell them to work hard from day one and get into the rhythm of being busy.”

For further information on Fashion at Northumbria, please visit the Graduate Fashion Week page of our website -

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