Colchester students to present work to top fashion designer Sir Paul Smith

The three finalists for the Nicole Abbott award 2018, University Centre Colchester students Darcie O

The three finalists for the Nicole Abbott award 2018, University Centre Colchester students Darcie Olley, Emily Sexton and Hayley Chapman, with Suzanne Abbott and representatives from Paul Smith . Picture: WILL HUNT/COLCHESTER INSTITUTE - Credit: Will Hunt

Three University Centre Colchester students have been shortlisted to present their textile collection to renowned fashion designer Sir Paul Smith at his studio in London.

Darcie Olley has been shortlisted for the Nicole Abbott Award. Picture: WILL HUNT/COLCHESTER INSTITU

Darcie Olley has been shortlisted for the Nicole Abbott Award. Picture: WILL HUNT/COLCHESTER INSTITUTE - Credit: Will Hunt

The finalists will go head to head and one lucky designer will receive the Nicole Abbott Award for 2018, which includes a placement at Sir Paul Smith’s studio in April. The award was set up in 2015 in memory of former student Nicole.

Val Jacobs, UCC lecturer in fashion and textiles, approached Sir Paul to set up the award in Nicole’s memory.

Val said: “Nicole was a very talented student who won many awards for her work whilst studying for her degree. It is a huge honour to be able to arrange this award in her memory, giving our current students such a fantastic opportunity.”

The fashion students, Darcie Olley, Emily Sexton and Hayley Chapman, were chosen by Roz Morrison and Clare White from Paul Smith as well as Nicole’s mother, Suzanne Abbott, for their textile collections exhibited at the Hay Gallery on campus.

Emilly Sexton with her work shortlisted for the Nicole Abbott Award. Picture: WILL HUNT/COLCHESTER I

Emilly Sexton with her work shortlisted for the Nicole Abbott Award. Picture: WILL HUNT/COLCHESTER INSTITUTE - Credit: Will Hunt


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The three finalists were delighted to be shortlisted. Emily said: “I am so excited! It will be a great insight into the industry and to also get his feedback on my work will be priceless.”

Hayley added: “I am really looking forward to having an opportunity to tour Sir Paul Smith’s studio and present my work to him along with two very talented students.”

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Darcie said: “Being chosen to present my textile designs to him is a real honour and a truly exciting opportunity.”

The award is now in its fourth year, and Suzanne Abbott is pleased with how it has progressed.

Hayley Chapman, who has been shortlisted for the Nicole Abbott award. Picture: WILL HUNT/COLCHESTER

Hayley Chapman, who has been shortlisted for the Nicole Abbott award. Picture: WILL HUNT/COLCHESTER INSTITUTE - Credit: Will Hunt

She said: “What this award has given us goes far beyond our expectations. Nicole would have been over the moon to think that students from her old college are working towards an award in her name.”

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