UCLan students tick all the fashion boxes

20 July 2020

Talented duo win national competition and awarded first-class honours degrees

Two talented students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) are celebrating having won a national design competition organised by the Graduate Fashion Foundation on behalf popular video messaging app TikTok.

For Chelsea Barker, 22, from Southport studying fashion design and Bethany Redhead, 23, from Lancaster studying fashion promotion, it was a double success; both have been awarded first-class honours degrees.

Inspired by a brief which was to produce the company’s first-ever range of merchandise that was fashionable, ethical and distinctly TikTok, fashion designer Chelsea produced the blueprint for a sports jacket.

The talented UCLan graduate won a £500 prize and participated in a five-day creative TikTok residency in London where her designs were finalised and then manufactured.

Fashion promotion specialist Bethany Redhead won a parallel competition which involved the creation of a range of packaging for the TikTok garments. She received a £250 prize and also travelled to London to see her design ideas turned into reality.  

Commenting on the experience Chelsea said: “Winning this competition and then seeing my design ideas come to life through the creative residency at TikTok has been really exciting. It’s given me a real boost to know that my work is now part of a professionally manufactured collection that will be gifted by TikTok to its staff, partners and consumers across Europe.”

"For both Chelsea and I to also be awarded first-class honours degrees is a tremendous reward for all the hard work we’ve put in during our time at UCLan and to win this competition is an amazing bonus."

Bethany, who took inspiration from rave culture in designing the competition packaging, added: “I wanted to produce something which conveyed the ethos of TikTok while creating anticipation and excitement for the recipient. It’s a brilliant feeling to know that my design will be shared on social media across the world as people unbox this TikTok merchandise.

“For both Chelsea and I to also be awarded first-class honours degrees is a tremendous reward for all the hard work we’ve put in during our time at UCLan and to win this competition is an amazing bonus.”   

Hilary Alexander, President of Graduate Fashion Foundation, said: “I’m incredibly impressed with the standards and the variety of designs. It’s really inspiring and I’m so thrilled we’ve been able to bring TikTok and our graduates together in this amazing project. TikTok is fun, it’s about youth, creativity and being happy and all of those things have been reflected in the clothes created for merchandise. TikTok have made a hugely positive contribution not only to our graduating students but to our charity. We are delighted that they have helped our new graduates to experience manufacturing in this way and we know that this experience has also put them in a stronger position as they enter the competitive job market.”

Cassandra Russell, Brand Partnerships, Fashion & Retail at TikTok added: “TikTok is a platform with creativity at its heart, so working with the Graduate Fashion Foundation to provide financial and educational opportunities for final year fashion students was a no-brainer. The need to overhaul brand merchandise is long overdue and we are excited to see what the most talented fashion students in the country can bring to TikTok’s first collection. Supporting the UK creative industries has never been more important and we believe the scale of our community and platform can open up new audiences for fashion students and give them a head start where it’s most needed.”

L-R Chelsea Barker and Bethany Redhead
L-R Chelsea Barker and Bethany Redhead