Students get a taste for fashion thanks to partnership with Sunderland shopping centre

Sunderland students are gaining valuable experience in the fashion world thanks to a partnership with shopping centre.

Style pod designed by students
Style pod designed by students

Fashion Journalism students from the University of Sunderland are gaining an insight to styling and visual merchandising as they partner up with The Bridges Shopping centre to create their own signature looks.

The Bridges teamed up with Sunderland BID earlier this year to launch the Style Pod – a large glass case with mannequins showcasing the upcoming trends and offerings from fashion retailers in the centre.

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Some of the latest displays from the fashion students include an autumn look for the whole family and Christmas party wear. The students are tasked with coming up with new styles and working with retailers to source clothing and accessories.

While the project counts towards their academic coursework, it also gives the group hands-on experience and transferrable skills for future employment.

Samantha Czwordon-Auld, Marketing and Communications Manager at the Bridges, believes it’s a fantastic opportunity for students.

She said: “The Style Pod is a great way for customers to see a full outfit put together, rather than just on a hanger, and the Fashion North team have done a brilliant job so far.

“Not only does the styling challenge help them progress on their course but we hope it also gives them some unique experience working within a real retail environment, with skills they can carry beyond their studies.”

Liz Lamb, deputy programme leader of the Fashion Journalism programme and a former fashion editor, is pleased the students have stepped up to the challenge.

She said: “The fashion journalism programme at the university has always had really strong links with industry and the styling challenge at the Bridges is a great example of this.

"Not only do our students get to experience styling for a retail market alongside developing their skills but they are also able to make contacts with they key marketing staff too.

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“We are really looking forward to continuing our arrangement with the Bridges, and our second year students will be taking on the Style Pod challenge next year too.”

Each pod display takes the students around half a day to complete. The next style pod is planned for February.

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