Fashion student’s design goes into production at Topshop

On the 12th December 2011, ethical fashion brand Annie Greenabelle hosted a ‘Design a Dress’ competition, offering one lucky winner the opportunity to have their design put into production and available to buy at Topshop.com and Anniegreenabelle.com.

Marketing and PR advocate for the brand, Maisie Troughton, says that it was difficult to narrow it down to one final winner, but University of Lincoln student, Ruth Parker, ‘stood out to us as she had sent over a small capsule collection of designs that all had the essential Annie Greenabelle signature look.’

'The Ruth Dress', Ruth Parkers winning design.
'The Ruth Dress', Ruth Parker's winning design

Ruth, 21, had previously been awarded second runner up for an alternative competition hosted by online retailer Freemans.com, and says winning the ‘Design a Dress’ competition has made her rethink her career prospects, “It’s certainly made me look at aiming to get work experience in smaller companies or considering freelance work as a designer.”

The competition brief required Ruth to design a jersey dress for spring 2012 keeping within the signature look of Annie Greenabelle, “It was quite a simple brief but I wanted to see if I could create something that reflected the brand well” says Ruth.

“The brand mainly use organic cotton and jersey, so this allowed me to understand how the fabrics would react to certain construction techniques -what would look good and what wouldn’t – the brief provided us with a select range of prints, and this is what we had to include in our design” she explains.

Ruth chose to incorporate an Aztec-style print with a plain blue fabric to create the self-titled ‘Ruth Dress’, “It’s very on trend for this summer and has been shown on many designer collections over the past few seasons … I included a flowing over-skirt and one-shoulder neckline to set it apart” she says.

With only weeks before the deadline, Ruth says that ‘the quickest and simplest design was the most commercially viable to the company’, “Each of their designs are unique, but they all encompass a certain style of being classy, youthful and fun, but in their own simple way. I tried not to over-design, just putting 1 or 2 interesting features into each dress.”

Ruth believes that Annie Greenabelle’s ethical ethos is becoming more widely understood and that ‘companies are beginning to understand its importance as well as British manufacturing in the fashion industry.’

The ‘Ruth Dress’ went into production on March 9th and is now available to buy at Topshop.com and Anniegreenabelle.com, retailing at £52.

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