University students revealed their final collections at the 2024 Derby Fashion Show

Models in outfits from first-year students being shown how to wave a flag and walk.
Models wearing outfits made by first-year students' inspired by the Olympics, representing various sports and countries. Photo: Lucia Koscova

This year’s University of Derby Degree Show started off with a bang – courtesy of the annual Fashion Show hosted by the School of Arts at the university’s Chandos Pole Street building.

Each year, fashion and textiles students have the opportunity to share their work to a full audience at the event, which sees their creations appear on display and showcased on the runway.

The Fashion Show is part of the university’s end-of-year Degree Show, held for students from the School of Arts and College of Science and Engineering to celebrate their time studying and to promote their work across a series of exhibitions at the Markeaton Street campus, Chandos Pole Street building and Britannia Mill site.

Proceedings for the Fashion Show kicked off with a private, taster viewing at the Old Library in The Wardwick, Derby, on Wednesday, June 5, where students showcased four outfits from their final collection.

The show – then held on Friday, June 7 – is normally dedicated to final-year students but, this year, the fashion event also featured some outfits from first-year students based on the themes of Olympic sport and country.

Students work with samples and concepts during their first semester, finalise their collection during the second semester and work on their final seven outfits from January until May.

Sarah Zechner, 23, a third-year Austrian international student, said that everyone was able to choose their own theme for their final collection.

Fashion student Sarah Zechner standing beside a rack with outifts from her collection.
Third-year fashion student Sarah Zechner beside her final collection of outfits. Photo: Lucia Koscova

She said: “I have chosen the theme of female empowerment through prioritising shapes, structures and materials – empowering women without using words by letting the clothes speak for themselves.”

The Derby Fashion Show is mainly aimed at students, lecturers, family and friends but afterwards, students get to showcase their work this week at Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) London (Monday, June 10 until Thursday, June 13).

While there, students will present six of their final outfits together with their portfolios – having the opportunity to go to the stands of fashion companies like ASOS and River Island and introduce themselves.

Fiona Hawthorne, the organiser of the Fashion Show in Derby and senior lecturer on the BA Fashion Studies degree, said: “Several of our current third-year students have been shortlisted for a variety of awards and will be interviewed by the industry specialists at the Graduate Fashion Week event in London.”

One of the students, Shaojing Zhu, has already won a competition run by the brand Ellesse and Graduate Fashion Week and part of her collection is being made by Ellesse for the GFW finale show in London.

You can learn more about her win in this Instagram post and look at all her winning designs here.