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Fashion design student wins Cancer Research Wales competition

News | 21 June 2024

A fashion design student from Cardiff Metropolitan University has won a competition with Cancer Research Wales, with her winning garment now on display in the charity’s shop window in Cardiff.

Lou Wild
Lou Wild with her winning garment which is now on display in Cancer Research Wales charity shop window

‘Reimagined Fashion’ is run by the independent Welsh cancer charity, Cancer Research Wales, to help breathe new life into pre-loved garments. It is based on the theme, ‘Stripe a Pose’, inspired by the charity’s logo which includes striped DNA sequencing gels used by scientists to research cancer.

Lou Wild, 49, from Bristol, is in the final year of a BA (Hons) Fashion Design degree at Cardiff Met. Commenting on winning, Lou said:

“As soon as I saw the competition from Cancer Research Wales, I wanted to enter. Both my Mum and my partner have recently been given the all-clear from cancer. It has been a tough journey, and this disease has devastating effects on so many lives. Cancer affects all of us in some way. Life is precious, and so is the planet with live on. This competition brings awareness to both sustainability and the life-changing work that Cancer Research Wales does.

“I love upcycling and creating new looks from pre-loved thrifted garments and scrap waste fabrics. It is a real honour to be chosen as the winner for this competition, and I hope that I can inspire others to get creative with textiles already existing in their homes and to create magic from thrifted items.”

Despite noting that fashion has been an area she was passionate about since school, due to personal circumstances and health conditions over the years, Lou fell into working as a PA in London for over ten years, before relocating to Bristol 15 years ago where she set up a retail and events business. She says the pandemic was the turning point in her career and made her reflect and find the courage to finally take the leap into Higher Education and pursue her first love – fashion.

Lou continued: “Cardiff Met has offered countless choices for support and growth on my life-changing journey. From library skills to open-house workshops, extra-curricular and in curriculum, I chose and created my path through university. Upon reflection, when I previously said, ‘I’m not good enough for university’, I was telling myself the wrong things. Now I’m applying for a Masters and setting up my dream business.”

Lou, also owns her own shop in Bristol where she runs sustainable fashion workshops and creates modular garments which are designed to fit all bodies, has also been named as Cancer Research Wales’s Sustainable Fashion Ambassador.

Lorraine Boyd, Head of Retail at Cancer Research Wales said: “Well done to Lou on your fantastic design which we are very proud to have on display in our shop window in Whitchurch. Cancer Research Wales is the Welsh cancer research charity and we like to encourage and promote ethical and sustainable fashion through the sale of pre-loved clothing in our shops.

“Lou’s design is a powerful statement that we hope will encourage and inspire a new generation of fashion-conscious and aware consumers to buy pre-loved clothing.”

Nick Thomas, Lecturer in Fashion Design at Cardiff Met, said: As a course, our curriculum seeks to embed person-centred and future-thinking design philosophies, with a focus on social and sustainable engagement, so when Cancer Research Wales reached out to discuss possible collaborations, we jumped at the chance to work with such a wonderful cause. Given the global environmental and social impact that fashion design has, we believe in helping students become change-makers, and to challenge industry norms.

“We are delighted that Lou’s design has been recognised and will be showcased around Wales, not only inspiring the next generation of Welsh Fashion Designers, but showing that anything ‘old’ can become something ‘new’. Lou has worked incredibly hard throughout her degree, founding the Student Union Fashion Society, working with her peers to fundraise for Graduate Fashion Week in London and has thrown herself at every opportunity to engage in university life; she is a worthy winner!”

To see Lou’s winning outfit, visit Cancer Research Wales shop at 78A Tŷ’n-y-Pwll Road, Whitchurch in Cardiff.