De Montfort University (DMU) student Poppy Spinks could soon see her designs being sold with major high street retailers such as John Lewis, ASOS and House of Fraser, after winning a competition with renowned lingerie brand Lepel.

The company organised a project for students in their second year of DMU’s world-renowned Contour Fashion course to design a collection that would complement the brand’s future swimwear.

Winner with designs

The degree, which specialises in lingerie, underwear, bodywear, swimwear, loungewear, nightwear, sportswear and corsetry, has existed for 67 years and is widely regarded by industry experts as one of the best in the world.

Twenty students from the course submitted designs before Poppy was chosen as the winner.


The 19-year-old, from Caldecotte, Milton Keynes, will now work with the team at Lepel to put her designs into production. Her prize also includes an internship with the company and £500.

Second and third places were awarded to Alice Neves and Alison Hunt who were also awarded valuable work experience.

Steve Hazelhurst, Head of Marketing at Lepel, said: “We wanted to run a project that could truly have an impact on our brand. We wanted students to create designs that would become part of Lepel’s swimwear collection and be seen in stores in the coming seasons.

“From start to finish all the students impressed with their enthusiasm for the project and their passion to understand the brand and offer new insight. The standard was exceptional and their professionalism is a credit to themselves and the course.

“Poppy really impressed us with the direction she had taken with her collection. Her concept was very simple and incredibly clever which made it all the more unique because it offered mass appeal with the use of colour blocking. Equally impressive was how Poppy had taken a direction different to all of her peers – it showed a great strength of character.”

Winning designs

Poppy said: “I still can’t believe I’ve been given this incredible opportunity by Lepel. Working on this project has really helped me to develop confidence in my work and I am now thinking about a career focused on swimwear. This year has been fantastic, as well as working with Lepel I will also be interning at designer swimwear brand Biondi Couture – I’m so excited for the future.”

Graduates of Contour Fashion have great success in the field and go on to work for some of the biggest names in the world. Earlier this year pop princess Beyoncé performed at the Grammys wearing a design by former student Nichole de Carle and last year’s graduates are now working for companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch, H&M and leading lingerie manufacturer Clover Group International Limited – supplier to some of the biggest names in the industry, including Victoria’s Secret.

The course is led by Gillian Proctor who was awarded a Lifetime Achievement at last year’s UK Lingerie Awards for her impressive career in the industry and dedication to inspiring the next generation of lingerie designers.

Final year students from DMU’s Contour Fashion and Fashion Design courses will be showcasing their designs at this year’s Graduate Fashion Week| at London’s Old Truman Brewery, in Brick Lane.

Contour Fashion’s catwalk show is on Sunday 1 June at 6:30pm and Fashion Design’s is Monday 2 June at 5pm. For more information or tickets visit