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Students well-suited for tailoring success

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Published on 28 March 2023

Golden Shears finalists
Golden Shears finalists

Five fashion students from the University of Sunderland have reached the final of ‘The Oscars of the tailoring world’.

The Golden Shears celebrates the next generation of tailors in the UK. From over a hundred entries 22 finalists were selected, five of those from the University - a huge achievement for the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries.

Hosted every other year, The Golden Shears is a prestigious event which brings together fashion students and apprentices from around the country to showcase and celebrate the next generation of tailors.

Jayne Smith, Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer of Fashion Design, said, “The students here at the University go the extra mile with their work in terms of creativity, technical cutting and construction, which is the reason they got to the finals of Golden Shears.”

The University of Sunderland finalists were Lauren Crossman, Katie Victoria Jeffries, Isabella Tierney, Mairidh Niccormaic and Isabella Mac Giolla Ri.

Lauren Crossman, Golden Shears 2023 Finalist

Lauren, a BA (Hons) Fashion Design And Promotion student, said: “It was mixed emotions of absolute excitement with a lot of disbelief, I couldn't actually believe that I was one of the lucky few out of almost 300 applicants.

“I had a lot of doubt thinking 'Are they sure they've sent me the correct email?' But once the news had sunk in, I was over the moon and very excited about the fact that my skills were of high enough quality, and that I was as good as some individuals who were already trainees within the industry.”

On her experience of studying fashion at the University, Lauren adds: “The one-to-one support has been second to none. Because of the smaller class sizes there was no point where I was struggling as I always had someone on hand to help or direct me within the whole process. The tutors within fashion have always been supportive of my ideas and plans for my projects and garments and have helped and advised me wherever I needed it. Including helping me make invaluable contacts within the industry.”

Lauren hopes to gain a placement or trainee role on Saville Row upon completion of her degree, where she could build and refine her skills within a world-class company such as Huntsman Tailors or Henry Poole & Co.

Katie Victoria Jeffries, Golden Shears 2023 Finalist

Katie described the inspiration behind her design: “I knew from the get-go that I wanted to create a timeless and traditional design. I started looking into the royals and the history of the royals. Then when the Queen passed away, I wanted to dedicate my design to her. I started looking more into her garments and I noticed that the Queen’s tailored sets were almost always skirts. I decided to do a tailored jacket and skirt in a tartan as the Queen has her own tartan.”
Isabella Mac Giolla Ri, Golden Shears 2023 Finalist

​​​​​​​​​​​Isabella said: “I’m super chuffed with myself. My design is based on sustainability. I went with an oversized jacket on a woman to represent the weight of the responsibility we hold for our planet. And then I chose to do low waisted, below the knee shorts to bring back that feminine look into my design.

“I’ve never had an opportunity to go to an event in the industry before, so I was super excited.”

 Mairidh Niccormaic, Golden Shears 2023 Finalist


​​​​​​​Mairidh, studying Fashion Design and Promotion, discussed her ideas: “For my design I got a lot of inspiration from paint drips, but I started off with the colour. Colour has always been a big part of my wardrobe. My mum used to tell me stories of how I would come down in the morning dressed in these absurd colour combinations and she would be like ‘that’s just Mairi’! Colour has always been a big part of my life, so I chose mad kind of colours.

“I didn’t want to stray too far from the standard tailored jacket and trousers combo but I wanted to make it a little bit quirky so decided on drips at the bottom, which was inspired by how paint runs.”

After graduation Mairidh plans to run her business, Sew it Seams, full time. 

Isabella Tierney, Golden Shears 2023 Finalist

Isabella explained her creative process: “I took inspiration from the fantastic era of the 1920s. I used two TV series as inspiration; Downton Abbey and Peaky Blinders and focused on the female characters and outfits of this decade. I wanted to focus on the incredible flapper girls dress of this era and create a more modern power suit for a woman’s figure.”

The Golden Shears 2023 final took place at the Merchant Taylors' Hall on 20 March.

*All images by Geoff Pugh