LONDON, July 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
The biggest annual event in the Fashion Retail Academy's Calendar, the FRA Awards Ceremony took place yesterday and was attended by Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education. Nick Grimshaw also made a guest appearance to present the Commitment Award. The Awards acknowledge the success of FRA graduate students and pave the way for them to begin their careers within the Industry. Sir Philip Green (Arcadia), Jason Tarry (F&F for Tesco), Christos Angelides (Next) and John Dixon (Marks and Spencer) all presented at the event as key sponsors of the FRA.
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Founded by Sir Philip Green in September 2006 together with M&S, Tesco, Next and Experian, the FRA has gone from strength to strength, building on its significant industry contacts to enable students to have that crucial link between education and the employability skills needed for enterprise.
Year on year, statistics have proven that more than a third of graduate vacancies available are expected to be taken by people who have relevant work experience within their chosen industry. The FRA has a clear focus and strategy on the amalgamation of the two, ensuring student relevance and employability is at the top of their agenda.
As well as three week Industry Placements where students are given the unique opportunity of working alongside their peers and gleaning invaluable real-life experience within their chosen roles, the Academy also sets up a number of Industry Projects throughout the year which are set by the Brands themselves. The brand-relevant and often authentic briefs are then judged by a panel of employees who give valuable feedback to students whilst getting the opportunity to see their capabilities first-hand.
The Industry Project Briefs this year have included:
Topman - Shirt & Trousers - ND Fashion Clothing
Concentrating on the trends for AW14 & SS15, the students developed a range of menswear interpreting emerging trends. The design development originated from the androgyny research, developed to include trend influences for AW14 & SS15.
The students were also required to develop a professional pitch to present to Gordon Richardson, Design Director of Topman which included their concept and ideas, fabric samples, haberdashery samples, costings, spec drawings, patterns, photo-shoot, online/offline marketing campaign and one full outfit from the range styled on a model.
Topshop Window - L4 Visual Display & Branding
Working in pairs, students were tasked with designing and developing a window display for the Topshop spring/summer collection. Following mood and concept boards that were presented to the creative team, they had to research and develop a strong commercial idea for a window display, in line with the Topshop brand identity. They had to consider materials, colour and graphics.
Ideas were professionally presented in either physical sketches or by using computer design software.
The Topshop Creative Team judged the work and the winning pair was chosen to work with the Topshop team to finalise ideas and work overnight to install the window.
River Island - L4 Buying and Range Planning
River Island set our students a brief focussed on choosing a new brand ambassador that would complement the retailer and what it stands for, whilst creating a fashion-forward collection for AW14. This had to take into account sourcing, launch date and potential costs for a full clothing range. River Island was incredibly impressed with all entries and offered work experience to the winning team.
Accenture - FdA Fashion Retail Management year 2
The challenging and detailed brief aimed to test students understanding of omni-channel retailing and the future of technology in the store environment. The team were given the task of evaluating how they could improve the in-store experience through technology on the shop floor and had to present their ideas to Accenture senior executives.
Experian - FdA Fashion Retail Management year 1
The company briefed our students to plan and 'open' a concept pop-up store for a specific fashion brand focusing on 'the next big thing for Christmas 2014'. Working with mentors from different areas of Experian, they analysed in-depth research and information to choose their location and put together a convincing business plan, whilst giving the students the opportunity to work with real-time data.
Next Childrenswear - National Diploma Graphic Design
Students were briefed to create an exciting range of new branding graphics for either boys or girls clothes for Next, with the opportunity to apply this branding to a range of children's clothing. They were challenged to achieve a balanced collection in terms of style, colour, variety and end use.
M&S - L4 Garment Technology
This project was initiated by M&S to review and modify a Menswear formal jacket specific to the brand and target customer. The students had the responsibility of working with the design and technical team to analyse existing product, research the target market and review the competition.
The brief also included the need to consider construction techniques, fit, new fabrics, suitability and how 'fit' has changed with trends & fashion.
The winning jacket is currently in production for sale in the Marble Arch store for AW14.
M&S - Shwopping ND Business Retail
The objective of the project was to drive greater interest, awareness and participation in Shwopping amongst M&S employees and customers to generate new interest in the campaign and expand the M&S customer base.
FRA students worked collaboratively in groups of four to create a new way of promoting Shwopping, considering how to make the concept appeal to a younger audience, what barriers currently stop young people Shwopping and how these could be overcome. They could choose between two options for their projects; to create a one time in-store PR event promoting the existing campaign in a new way, or explore how they would introduce Shwopping to a new commercial venue to promote it and encourage participation.
SOURCE The Fashion Retail Academy