A FASHION student from Bournemouth saw her designs paraded on the catwalk at London Fashion Week after reaching the final of a competition.

Sophie Whatling, a third year student at Arts University Bournemouth (AUB), was one of 20 undergraduate fashion designers to take part in the prestigious FAD competition, organised by creative charity Fashion Awareness Direct.

Her colourful menswear collection saw her scoop the runner-up prize of £500, presented by Holly Mirza, director of Fabric PR. The 23-year-old was praised for her ‘adventurous and creative interpretation of the brief which translated into cool, modern streetwear.’

Sophie said: “It felt amazing to see my designs on the catwalk, I was so overwhelmed. I didn’t expect my name to be called out after the show. I was very scared, but really excited.

“I had to walk the runway with the models and pose.”

Now in its sixteenth year, the event was hosted by Fashion Scout as part of their official schedule for London Fashion Week.

The show took place at the Freemasons Hall in Covent Garden and was presented by fashion retail mogul Jane Shepherdson CBE.

The event is the only national undergraduate showcase to take place on the London Fashion Week catwalk.

This year saw a collaboration between FAD and iconic knitwear brand Missoni, who challenged contestants to ‘take the Missoni approach’, drawing inspiration from European artists and ‘letting colour take shape.’

Sophie said three European artists influenced her designs - Fernand Léger, Jean Dubuffet, and Willem de Kooning.

She added: “It was my tutor who put me forward for the competition as a lot of my work is artistic.

“I made two outfits. The university was really supportive and helped me a lot by reimbursing me for the yarn.

“Menswear is a new and emerging thing. It’s becoming a lot more exciting, with more print and colour. In the past it’s been quite conservative.”

Over 120 entrants from 40 UK colleges and universities took part in the FAD competition, resulting in a shortlist of twenty finalists. On the night the catwalk hall was packed with industry professionals keen to harness the talent of tomorrow, with representatives from ASOS, All Saints, Inditex, Karen Millen and Uniqlo seated front row.

Liz Griffiths, head of creative textile and design research at Missoni said: “All the contestants had something to say, they are all talented in different ways and we can only hope that they will continue their path to success as future fashion designers.”