To celebrate the launch of the Tu Scholarship winner collections in Sainsburys, we caught up with one the 2018 scholarship winners, Molly Hopwood, whose menswear collection can be found in selected stores and online here. Below, Molly walks us through what her highlights have been from working at the Tu Headquarters in Coventry, things she’s learnt and her plans for the future. We also get a glimpse inside her sketchbooks to see how the denim-focused collection, inspired by her graduate collection, came to be.

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How would you describe your role and a typical day at Tu?

At Tu I am a design assistant for the menswear jersey and woven teams. My days are usually quite varied but my role often involves looking at trend, working on design packs and range building. It’s great as you’re involved in every part of the design process so I’ve learnt a lot while working with Tu.

What has been a highlight from your time on the Tu design team?

I think the highlight from the experience so far has been working with my mentor Oliver Spencer, I’ve learnt so much from him and he’s been really helpful throughout the whole process. I also got to help him with his AW19 show which I really enjoyed!

 What have been the biggest lessons you’ve learnt on the Tu design team?

I think the most important lesson I’ve learnt from this process is to not be afraid to push boundaries with design. While developing my collection at Tu, I have explored so many developments in the sustainability of dying, denim washing, production and fabrication that I never knew were possible. I think it’s so important to design consciously with the future in mind and Tu has helped me to explore my ideas while considering sustainability at every stage of the design process.

What were the opportunities and challenges involved with translating your graduate collection into a capsule for production?

There have been so many opportunities when translating my collection for production especially when it came to sustainability. We were able to turn my ideas of up-cycling and recycling into something feasible for mass production. It’s been amazing to find out the sustainable fabrics and processes that were available for us and to be able to use them for my collection.

The challenge I faced was how to make the collection appealing for mass market while still remaining ‘fashionable’ but I think we found a good balance and am happy with how the collections turned out.

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What has surprised you the most about the company?

I think what’s surprised me most about working for Tu is the freedom I’ve been given to explore my ideas and really make the collection mine.

I’ve been supported by a great team throughout the process but I’ve also been pushed creatively which I’ve really appreciated.

What are you most proud of having achieved at Tu?

I think I’m most proud of the boundaries we’ve pushed with sustainable fashion at Tu. For my collection we have explored fabrics and technologies that have never been used before at Tu and that’s really exciting.

What is your plan once your year at Tu finishes?

I am planning on staying with Tu for a while longer! I feel like I still have so much more to learn and want to gain a bit more experience with Tu.

See Molly’s collection campaign images, and more stories from past Tu Scholarship winners below!