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Fashion students design for NHS Trust

students in class

In a unique fashion competition that married the practical with the glamorous, employees with a London hospital trust have chosen a new uniform from nearly a dozen designs presented at the University of East London.

The entries were created by fashion students and alumni from UEL and South Essex College. Participants have spent months creating a range of clinical and administrative options for staff at the North East London NHS Foundation Trust.

South Essex College student Alanah Smitten won the competition.

Alanah could now see her ideas put into mass production for as many as 4,000 Trust nurses and other workers.

The runner-up was UEL alumnus Aimee Ward. Her clinical uniform was designed in two-way stretch organic cotton/lycra fabric tunic with a collar inspired by First World War Red Cross nursing uniforms.

“I’m really passionate about charity and helping people,” said Aimee. “Knowing I was designing for such a good cause and people working for such a good cause made it that extra bit special,” Aimee said.

NELFT provides mental health and community health services for people living in the London boroughs of Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham and Havering, as well as community health services for people in southwest Essex.

Stephanie Dawe, NELFT Chief Nurse and Executive Director of Integrated Care (London), said Trust employees wanted work options that were new, exciting and looked towards the future. Ms Dawes dreamt up the competition after NELFT’s discussions with more conventional uniform manufacturers yielded rather uninspiring options.

“It’s really been a true partnership, the students working with our staff,” Ms Dawe said.

“We fundamentally believe as an organisation that we work with people from the cradle to the grave and this is a group of people that really are the future for us. It really was a no-brainer,” she added.

Trust and University officials and employees, were joined by other guests, to see a catwalk presentation of the designs at UEL’s University Square Stratford.  Nearly 100 NHS Trust employees then voted on their favourite design. A panel of judges selected a winner from the top three finalists.

Fashion expert Caryn Franklin, a writer, broadcaster, director and producer, hosted the competition.

Notes to Editors

The University of East London (UEL) is a global learning community with students from over 120 countries world-wide. Our vision is to achieve recognition, both nationally and internationally, as a successful and inclusive regional university proud of its diversity, committed to new modes of learning which focus on students and enhance their employability, and renowned for our contribution to social, cultural and economic development, especially through our research and scholarship. We have a strong track-record in widening participation and working with industry.