TWO FOR TU: Sainsbury’s Tu, a fashion range from the British supermarket chain, has partnered with Graduate Fashion Week’s award winners on two collections — including its first line of men’s wear — that will launch on May 29.
Tu Womenswear Scholarship winner Laura Gillings has created a 16-piece collection that features tailored trousers and coordinating jackets, shirts, dresses, skirts and T-shirts in monochrome shades as well as orange, dark green and lilac. The Bath Spa University student said she took her cue from Sixties tailoring and the Rolling Stones. There will be another 16-piece drop later this year.
“Working with the team has been the best part of this experience,” said Gillings. “I’ve realized that I want to make my career designing for the high street. I want my designs to be accessible to everyone.”
London-based designer Henry Holland was her mentor for the project. “I think Laura adds lots of femininity to the androgynous. She has a really strong sense of color and print and an amazing level of design. Her approach to print is quite graphic, and she’s got an instinctive way of designing within a brief and a very strong signature, which I think is really good for Tu.”
Nottingham Trent University Amy Vanderwal was named the first winner of the Tu Men’s Wear Scholarship.
Vanderwal’s lineup was inspired by photographer Iain McKell’s images of anarchistic punk and hippie culture of the Eighties, and Colin O’Brien’s ones of children. The 12-piece line includes distressed denim, check flannel shirts, shorts, striped and slogan T-shirts and short-sleeved shirts in a palette of gray, black and red. There will be a 17-piece drop that will be released later this year.
“I‘ve really come to appreciate what an exciting and fast-paced industry this is,” he said. “From the collection I put on the runway, to the one that you will see in stores, I’ve learned so much and really evolved as a designer.” She was mentored by men’s wear designer Oliver Spencer.
Gillings and Vanderwal have been awarded a year’s paid employment with Tu, working with its in-house design team. Prices range from 9 pounds for a men’s T-shirt to 32 pounds for a women’s jacket. The collections will be available for purchase on Tu.co.uk.
As reported, the Tu collection of clothing will continue to exist following a proposed megamerger between Sainsbury’s and Asda, revealed earlier this week. Asda’s George will remain intact, too, following the deal that is set to create a retail giant with revenues of more than 50 billion pounds.
A spokeswoman for Sainsbury’s said the merger will enable the Sainsbury’s and Asda brands to “sharpen their distinctive customer propositions and attract new customers.”
According to the organization Global Data, Sainsbury’s and Asda have significant stakes in the U.K. clothing market, with forecast value share for 2018 at 2.1 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively.
This is the second edition of the initiative that kicked off last year with Genevieve Devine Northumbria University Fashion Design graduate and the 25th Anniversary Tu Scholarship Award recipient.