Mayor's Challenge launches competition for students to design clothes of the future

‘Concept to Catwalk’ is an exciting challenge for London school children aged between 11 and 16 to design a collection of clothing that reflects 21st century lifestyles and technology-led innovation in fashion.

  • The ‘Concept to Catwalk’ challenge invites London school children to design a collection of clothing that reflects technology-led innovation in fashion.
  • The competition links fashion and technology, drawing on the rich textile heritage of east London.
  • A fashion show held at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will showcase shortlisted designs.
  • This is a partnership project between Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Victoria and Albert Museum, MA Material Futures, Central Saint Martins and MyKindaCrowd and forms part of the Mayor’s challenge programme.

The competition, which is free to enter, will encourage students to explore the textiles heritage of east London and the inherent links between fashion and technology.

All entries will be reviewed by an expert judging panel made up of fashion industry experts. In December a shortlist of eight teams will be chosen to be mentored by current students from MA Material Futures at Central Saint Martins to finalise and produce one of their fashion designs from their proposed collections. The completed outfits will be showcased at a catwalk show held at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in March 2015, where the overall winner will be announced.

The Challenge draws on London’s reputation as one of the greatest fashion hubs in the world. East London in particular has a rich tradition of textile manufacturing from silk weaving and imported textiles in the docks through to the emerging technology and creative businesses in this part of the Capital. The project aims for students to bring together stories of east London’s textile heritage with visions of its technology-led future, to explore how fashion moves forward through enterprise and innovation.

Throughout the Challenge students and teachers will be aided by online resources and events such as an ‘Inspiration Day’ held on 9 October 2014 at the Podium on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where pupils will learn more about the work of contemporary fashion designers and emerging technologies and how these can be applied to fashion. Schools can also book visits to the V&A’s fashion galleries and Clothworkers’ Centre at Blythe House in Olympia where students can draw inspiration from the extensive fashion and textiles collections ranging from samples of Spitalfields silk produced in the mid 1700s to contemporary garments created by methods of digital printing.

To enter the challenge schools need to register online at

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “We want Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to inspire London’s young people to reach their full potential. Concept to Catwalk is a fantastic opportunity for our students to get creative, drawing inspiration from east London’s past, present and future. With great prizes up for grabs I urge schools to sign up and get involved.”

Dennis Hone, Chief Executive, London Legacy Development Corporation said: “East London has always been a hotbed of creativity and Concept to Catwalk draws on this rich heritage.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a truly inspiring place– somewhere to create, design and make.

We want to inspire the next generation of designers to get creative and come up with innovative designs that bring the exciting worlds of fashion and new technology together. We look forward to going through the first submissions and seeing the eventual shortlisted designs being paraded on the catwalk!

Martin Roth, Director of the V&A said: “The V&A is thrilled to be part of this exciting initiative. We hope that young people will enjoy exploring the museum’s vast fashion and textiles collections and that it will inspire them to investigate the history of London’s textile production as well as think imaginatively about fashion of the future and how advances in technology may impact on the clothes we wear.”

William Akerman, Founder and MD of MyKindaCrowd, said: “We are delighted to be part of this inspirational initiative. Concept to Catwalk is a great challenge for London schools, teachers and students should get involved and be proud to be part of London’s future. We can’t wait to start receiving entries and celebrate the winners catwalk.”

Caroline Till, Course Leader of MA Material Futures said: “We are thrilled to be taking part in this great project. We strongly advocate the value in looking backward and learning form the past to inform future innovation, and this is a great opportunity for our students to hopefully inspire a new generation of creative thinkers and makers.”


Notes to Editors

The Challenge

To design a collection of clothing that reflects 21st century lifestyles and technology led innovation in fashion.
Designs should incorporate new technologies and draw inspiration from:
• The Victoria and Albert Museum’s fashion and textile collections.
• The textile heritage of east London.
• The spirit and energy of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Submissions should be in the format of a physical mood board or digital equivalent and include:
• Designs for a collection of at least three items of clothing
• One design worked up in detail, including images of, or actual fabric samples (depending on submission method), this design should also include pattern and production details.
• Evidence of the design process, from original inspiration through to finished concept.

• Schools may submit several entries and the teacher can decide whether students submit individually or in small groups.
• Submissions can be worked up as part of subject class time, course work or out of school activity.

The Process
• There are eight competition categories: London – North, South, East and West, each of which is divided into Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 age groups.
• Eight winners will be short listed by our judging panel in December 2014.

The Prize
• The eight short listed winners will have their mood boards displayed online on the project website and will also work with recent graduates from Central Saint Martins in order to finalise and produce one of their designs.
• In March 2015 the eight finalist’s designs will be showcased at a fashion show held at
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where the overall winner will be announced.

For more information please go to:

About Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

London’s newest visitor destination, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, is a place unlike any other. Visitors to the Park are able to enjoy beautiful parklands and waterways, world-famous sporting venues, arts and events and spectacular views from the ArcelorMittal Orbit. As a new heart for east London, the Park will also provide new homes, jobs and a cultural and education quarter.

The London Legacy Development Corporation promotes and delivers physical, social, economic and environmental regeneration in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the surrounding area, in particular by maximising the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

For more information visit, follow us on Twitter @noordinarypark and like us on Facebook

About MyKindaCrowd

  • · MyKindaCrowd ( was established in 2011 to transform the way young people connect with the world of work. The social enterprise company works with 4,500 schools and over 161 universities in the UK, offering challenges for young people that connect them with exciting work experiences and initiatives.
  • · MyKindaCrowd sets up and runs challenges for entrepreneurs, government organisations, charities and some of the UK’s leading brands, including CapGemini, Cisco and Tesco.
  • · Challenges lead to thousands of industry work experiences for students with companies including Nestle, BT, Cisco, Lloyds, Accenture, KPMG, NAS, NCS and many more. It has won the UK's most prestigious Social Enterprise awards for connecting with diverse groups of young people.

V&A’s Clothworkers' Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fashion

The Clothworkers' Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fashion is located at Blythe House at Olympia. The centre houses over 104,000 objects ranging from small archaeological textile fragments from Egypt to enormous tapestries created for medieval European palaces; and from the latest creations by leading contemporary designers to hoop petticoats from the 1740s, the Clothworkers’ Centre offers the best possible access to the V&A’s reserve collections of textiles and fashion for the many researchers, students and enthusiasts who use them every year. The development of the centre was made possible thanks to a generous lead grant from The Clothworkers' Foundation and further support from many others. | | @V_and_A

V&A Learning Department

The Learning Department runs programmes, projects and activities that suit different levels of knowledge, different cultural and educational backgrounds, interests and learning styles in order to promote knowledge and unlock creativity. It delivers organised activities, programmes and projects for independent adults, families, young people, formal education groups including schools, colleges and universities, creative industry professionals, community groups and non-traditional museum visitors.

The department’s activities include gallery talks, lectures, conferences and symposia, study days, year courses, practical courses (including digital) for adults and young people, drop-in events (including digital) for families and adults, gallery plays, performances, demonstrations, concerts, displays in the Learning Centre, interpretation, museum (artist) residencies and online resources.  

Central Saint Martins

Central Saint Martins (CSM) is internationally renowned for the creative energy of its students, staff and graduates with an exceptional reputation for educating foundation, undergraduate, postgraduate and research students in arts, design and performance. CSM’s award-winning campus at Kings Cross offers opportunities for creative collaboration and has provided an outstanding social scene for students.

MA Material Futures, Central Saint Martins

MA Material Futures is a two year masters at Central Saint Martins, part of the University of Arts London. Dedicated to designing the future of materiality, Material Futures explores the intersection of craft, science and technology to design for a sustainable future.

For more information please contact the London Legacy Development Corporation press office: [email protected] or 020 3288 8851