A CCAD student has joined the glitterati of the fashion world after being named Clothes Show Young Designer of the Year.
Cleveland College of Art & Design fashion student Charlotte Wood triumphed over 50,000 other entries in the prestigious national competition to find the best emerging talent in the UK.
Charlotte, 18, was presented with her trophy, £1,000 prize money and one week’s work experience with a top fashion designer after showcasing her design on the catwalk in the final of the Clothes Show Live at the NEC Birmingham.
"I still can’t believe it," said Charlotte."I’m shocked and overwhelmed. It’s just amazing. I’m absolutely thrilled.
"I was at the Clothes Show last year and saw other designers entering the awards but I never imagined seeing my dress on one of the catwalks, let alone winning.
"And as I was the only non degree student amongst the final ten it makes it all the more incredible."
Charlotte’s full length gothic evening gown, made to fit the competition brief of producing an A-list celebrity red carpet dress, was inspired by the dark trends for autumn and winter, combined with religious architecture.
"I’ve always loved drawing and creating and even at primary school my teachers all said that I had an artistic flair," said Charlotte.
"I wanted the design of my dress to conjuror up images of light falling through church windows so I created a pattern cut, velvet fabric, which I had to cut, sew, steam and tailor to a model, all in nine days.
"As well as making my dress, I also produced a tailored white shirt. This was a challenge but made me aware of what would be expected of me when I work in the fashion industry.
"Seeing my design on the catwalk was absolutely incredible exactly what dreams are made of."
Judge and stylist to the stars Karl Willett, who presented Charlotte with her award, said: "I knew that Charlotte’s dress would be something special just from seeing her sketches.
"Her design was beautifully executed well made and sleek. It completely stood out and fitted the brief more so than any of the other finalists, being understated but edgy at the same time."
Charlotte must now wait until after Christmas to find out which couture design house she will be working in as part of her prize.
"I’m currently applying to Central St Martins to study a fashion degree while working part time in Topshop which has been great for getting to know the business side of the industry," said Charlotte.
"It’s always been important for me to pursue a creative career with realistic job opportunities in a fast paced and lucrative industry.
"Fashion is a way that I can release that creativity by designing wearable clothes and making people look and feel fabulous."
Course leader of the extended diploma in fashion and clothing Naomi Austin said: "The whole of the fashion team at CCAD are absolutely thrilled that Charlotte has won this competition.
"I have to admit that we all let out a rather large scream when her name was announced. She really deserves the recognition so much and has been an absolute pleasure to teach.
"Charlotte is very professional in everything she does and is also very unassuming; a quality which I think will see her go very far.
"For her to win this award is testament to the quality and standards that we expect on the course from tutors, who are still very much involved in the fashion industry, to the top class industry standard equipment and machinery that is available to the students.
"Charlotte has had the full support of the team and her classmates since day one and the world is definitely her oyster now."
Charlotte returned to her previous school, Teesside High School, to talk about her award during a school assembly.
She said: "I am delighted to visit my previous school. I loved studying design technology and art at school.
"Art allowed me to be as creative as I wanted and design technology gave me the technical knowledge I needed to develop my design skills. The time I spent studying those subjects, and the enjoyment I gained from them, made me realise that I could design clothes as a wearable form of art. It was for this reason that I then chose to continue my studies at Cleveland College of Art and Design."
Principal Martin Raby said: "Charlotte’s achievement is marvellous and the result of a lot of effort as well as design talent. As a further education student who has succeeded ahead of degree students from all over the country, she demonstrates the obvious benefits of attending the North East’s only specialist art and design institution. Our excellent facilities and highly experienced staff mean that our students make outstanding progress."