Meet the Isle of Wight textiles students fashioning the future

Newport, Node Hill. Island Inovation 6th form college, Fashion Dept. Celebration Amber Gaile 19, with a coat that she has made

Forget Milan, Paris or London — the Island Innovation VI Form Campus in Newport is producing the next wave of top fashion designers.

This year, the college’s teenagers have attained places at the best fashion universities in the country — including Westminster, London College of Fashion, The Royal School of Needlework and Bath Spa — and to celebrate, the department hosted a traditional afternoon tea for current and prospective students.

“It’s safe to say that we are creating the next generation of designers here on the Isle of Wight and in the last two years our student’s work has gone through the roof. I feel the Island gets a bad press in so many ways and especially in terms of educational provision — we’re a niche department that has grown and grown,” said fashion and textiles curriculum leader Hannah Woodford.

In fact, since the BTEC Fashion and Textiles course’s inception six years ago, the diploma has been so successful that a brand new foundation course will be starting from September.

Georgia Sweatman, 18, is one of the students staying to complete the course. Taking a break from creating an embellished mesh tunic for her coursework, she said: “The course is a really good opportunity to learn more about designing and marketing, and develop my sewing skills — and hopefully make a good portfolio. Personally, I want to be a teacher, but I’d love to teach arts or fashion.”

Newport, Node Hill. Island Inovation 6th form college, Fashion Dept. Celebration Georgia Sweatman 18, with her work.

Though the course won’t be starting until September, Amber Gaile, 19, has been trialling the foundation. Amber, from Downlands Cresent, Ventnor, said: “You can generate your own ideas, Mrs Woodford lets you do what you want, so you end up with a lot of weird and wonderful things — I made a men’s vest made out of train tickets and I made a woman’s top out of crisp packets.”

Now, she has just firmed her offer to study menswear at the London College of Fashion. Previous graduates of London College of Fashion include multi-award winning designer J.W.Anderson, who Amber says collaborating with would be the ‘dream’. “It’s one of the top universities — it just made the whole extra year worth it,” she added.

Another student celebrating was Freddie Lloyd, 18, who will be one of a handful of students studying fashion design, from next September, at Bath Spa.

Any fashionistas looking for more information can contact course director Hannah Woodford on or 522886.