09 February 2022

When pursuing a career in fashion, exposure is a key ingredient to success. Getting your designs in front of global audiences and your ideas embraced by industry experts is what sets you on the path to a productive and lucrative career.

University of East London (UEL) fashion design student Ivaylo Evtimov, and fashion marketing student Sindy Reyes have done exactly that. They have beaten tough competition to win the top prize in the Emerging Gorilla T 2022, a competition run by international fashion stable That Gorilla Brand.

Each season, That Gorilla Brand turns to up-and-coming fashion talent to find a new print/pattern design to add to its exclusive Emerging Gorilla T collection. The winning t-shirt is featured as part of its new integral collection, credited across its global platforms, with all proceeds from the sale of it donated to The Gorilla Organisation - a charity that works tirelessly to protect the great ape and its habitat.  And, the pinch-me-moment for any fashion student, the winning design is showcased at international fashion shows, including the illustrious New York Fashion Week (pictured).


That Gorilla Brand fashion students

Speaking about the competition, 22-year-old Ivaylo said, "Winning this competition means so much to me. It's absolutely amazing. Seeing people that I don't even know wearing something that I have designed is really satisfying.

"It has given me more self-esteem and helped me believe that what I am doing is good enough to be sold to potential customers. It's fantastic.

"I was really inspired by the whole idea of That Gorilla Brand donating money from sales to The Gorilla Organisation. It’s such an honour to be part of that awareness drive."

As part of the competition, fashion design students from the School of Arts and Creative Industries were asked to work in pairs to collaborate as a design and marketing team to create their Emerging T for the 2022 collection. The t-shirt design had to work with the brand's signature Gorilla outline. Alongside this, a collaborating marketing student had to create a marketing campaign and social media plan for the launch.

Working on the project taught Sindy some valuable lessons. She explained, "It made me realise that in this industry you have to think big. I believe that our design and marketing campaign was selected as the winner because our idea was not only to get the customer to like the design but also to get to know the brand and its values in depth. I learned that it is important to be confident.

"There were many times in the competition I was doubting about my work, thinking that it was not good enough, but as I went on, I realised that unless you believe in yourself and your ideas how can you expect other people to."

The winning design features a bold retro print design, which will feature in That Gorilla Brand's 2022 limited edition collection. The winning duo have also landed a cash prize of 3,000 euros split to spend on their studies.

That Gorilla Brand fashion

That Gorilla Brand's Mollie Anne Nathan said: "We were blown away by the efforts of each and every one of the pairs who took part. We can see how much time and creativity were put into the projects.

"We were extremely impressed with the vision and inspiration for Ivaylo and Sindy, we loved the exciting design and fresh colour palette and we feel this will work extremely well across our range of Men's, Women’s and Children's clothing. The marketing aspect of this proposal was very effective, enabling us to visualise this product and the exposure that could be created on various channels for the Emerging Gorilla launch this year.

"It was a tough decision to choose the winner, however we were very happy with our selection."

The winning tee is available to buy at

PHOTO: The winning design from UEL students' Ivaylo Evtimov and Sindy Reyes shown at last week's New York Fashion Week in a spectacular catwalk on the roof tops of Broadway

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