Richard Maynes at his sewing machine

Fashion undergraduate could be on his way to Canada

Undergraduate Richard Maynes from Somerset College has won bronze in UKSkills and is within touching distance of a trip to Calgary as part of the UK team going to World Skills.

Second year BA (Hons) Fashion undergraduate Richard, from Stourbridge, and five other finalists had to cut, sew and construct a parka jacket in just two days as part of an ‘outwear for 21st century adventurists' brief.

Over the course of the weekend Richard's work was marked to strict UK Skills criteria, with the jury accessing everything from the accuracy of the pattern to the quality of technical drawing and innovation of design.

Richard said: ‘I was really pleased to reach the final three as I was up against so many good designers. It was a long and tough competition that needed a lot of concentration.

‘I have now gained experience of a national competition and come in the top three. Not many students at my level can say that when they go for a job interview.'

Richard's design was inspired by the idea of a jacket which provides the wearer with a protective barrier against the urban world, and also against harsh environments. He was particularly inspired by protective wear such as high visibility vests and gas masks.

Richard said: ‘The brief allowed me to be very creative and stretch my imagination. My course allows me to be creative so I really liked this brief. I was up against some very tough competition, and I am pleased that I have got this far.'

Richard's Tutor, Gary Mills, said: ‘Richard has done really well to be within touching distance of going to Calgary. We are all so proud of him. He is one of many highly talented undergraduates completing their degree here. We are really looking forward to how they develop and seeing their designs going down the catwalk.'

Richard faced competition from across the UK to reach the final six. He is now up against undergraduates from the UK's two leading fashion universities, Central Saint Martins and the University of Huddersfield, to make the trip to Calgary. The final decision is made in July 2009, and Richard has already started preparing for the competition through a series of education days.

Somerset College has recently had two students win a gold medal at EuroSkills, the leading skills competition in Europe. Victoria Griffiths and Hilary Wells won first prize in the fashion competition against style leaders from the continent.

Somerset College deliver degree level courses through a partnership with the University of Plymouth. For more information on the fashion degree courses at Somerset College click here.