Fashion student wins first prize in River Island competition

Amanda Abela A bright future in fashion beckons for University for the Creative Arts student Amanda Abela who has won first prize in a national competition run by fashion brand River Island.

Amanda (23) from Marsa Scala on the south east coast of Malta, studies fashion at the university's Rochester campus. She won the top spot in the River Island competition's menswear category judged by the chain's head of menswear earlier this week.

Amanda will receive a £500 prize for winning the competition that was open to fashion students at 50 universities across the UK. She has also been invited to meet the River Island design team with a possibility of producing a selection of shirts for sale in their clothes stores nationwide.

Her designs were inspired by the fashion department at the university where hundreds of different patterns and designs have left their imprint on a work desk. She saw many different ideas and emotions represented within the image and used it as the foundation for her range of shirt designs.

Shirt designs by Amanda Abela Amanda said: "I tried to capture many different emotions including euphoria, ecstasy, melancholy, panic and fear. Together they create a chaotic mix of colour and composition."

She added: "River Island was the first competition I entered that is fashion related. It was also the first time that I had even designed a menswear collection. I was pretty shocked but so happy to win; it took me four days to actually digest the news!"

Sheelagh Wright, Course Leader for Fashion Management said: "Amanda is such a great ambassador for us; she is bright, focused and very talented."

Amanda joined the university three years ago from her home in Malta and says she feels very much at home in Rochester.

She explained: "As soon as I came in the university for my interview I fell in love with the artistic vibe surrounding the building. As soon you enter you feel you belong to a creative community."

"I enjoy working in the fashion industry. It is fast, and there's never a chance you'll get bored. It is amazing how fashion forecasters can predict trends according to societal trends."

"After graduating, my plans are to work in the fashion industry, by doing so I would make a dream come true. I am also considering an MA at the university."

UCA Rochester students trumped the entire menswear competition with student Amy Forsyth awarded a runners up prize. Clive Allen and Loren Johnson also at Rochester were also commended in the competition organised by Graduate Fashion Week.

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