Lucy Nolan, graduate of Northumbria University, won the Boux Avenue Swimwear Award at the 27th Graduate Fashion Week this summer! We caught up with the emerging swimwear designer to hear more about how the technicians at Northumbria expanded her skill set, aiding her creative development, and why marketing goes hand in hand with design. 

Find out why the best projects are self-driven, how to impress the industry at the event and how sushi inspired her designs below. 

Firstly, a huge congratulation on winning at Graduate Fashion Week 2018! What award did you win?

I won the Boux Avenue Swimwear Award at Graduate Fashion Week 2018.


How did it feel when your name was read out?

When my name was called out to collect my award, I couldn’t believe I had won – I was shaking with excitement and nerves. I could hear all of my friends in the crowd screaming and cheering, and I knew my family were watching back at home on the live stream. 

I am still feeling very overwhelmed after winning the award, as I know how hard the competition was. It was a lovely end to my time at GFW, and the support I have received from everyone has been amazing – that’s what makes winning the award even better.



Which university did you attend, and how do you think they prepared you for graduation?

I studied Fashion Design and Marketing at Northumbria University because of its amazing reputation within the fashion industry. My lecturers have been extremely supportive through the degree putting in a lot of hours into our final year if studies. The university have an amazing tech team who helped me gain knowledge in pattern cutting and sewing enabling me to produce my final swimwear collection. The year in placement that my course offered allowed me to gain a clear understanding of how the industry works my studies. Therefore, I feel confident to venture into the fashion Industry.


Describe the inspiration and concept behind your work. 

My initial research behind the collection came from Japanese culture, the colourful packaging around their food, especially sushi. All of my designs are sushi inspired. They are hand screen printed using up to four layers of print and colour to add depth to the garments. Making them unique one-off stand-alone pieces. The whole collection is about combining unique prints with bright playful colours, so the customer can feel unique when travelling. 


What one thing would you recommend our readers do whilst at the event?

Advice for future students who are attending GFW; don't be afraid to speak to industry professionals. Make as many contacts as possible and follow these up after the event.        Possibly prepare a few sentences to explain your collection / concept. Mainly have fun at the event, be proud of all the hard work produced. 

Images by Will Barker


What do you plan to pursue now, and where do you hope to be in five years’ time?

I hope to be in a career in the fashion industry, hopefully in swimwear design or print. 


If you could give one piece of advice to yourself in first year, what would it be?

A piece of advice I would give to myself in first year- be confident in the decisions you're making. Try to adapt every brief into something enjoyable for myself. As these are the best projects when they are self-driven.