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Concept to Catwalk

Mayors Challenge: Concept to Catwalk

The Challenge


Design a collection of clothing that reflects twenty-first century lifestyles and technology-led innovation in fashion. 

Challenge Details

Fashion and technology have always been inherently linked, from the Spinning Jenny of the Georgian era and the textile mills of the Victorian era to the 3D printing and dye colouring techniques of today.

Contemporary creative technologies continue to exert a huge influence on the changing face of fashion.  There is a real focus on technological innovation and the varied role that this often now plays in fashion designs and development. An example of this is fabric prototypes that are literally sprayed on to the body before they set into solid form. A rising awareness of the need for environmental sustainability is also encouraging the use of recycled and reused materials in increasingly creative ways.

London is one of the greatest fashion hubs in the world. East London specifically has a rich tradition of textile manufacture, from silk weaving and imported textiles in the docks, through to the present day contemporary fashion emerging from this part of the Capital. East London is a centre of creativity and enterprise with a growing technology sector.  This 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. 

  • To design a collection of clothing that reflects twenty-first century lifestyles and technology-led innovation in fashion
  • Designs should incorporate new technologies and draw inspiration from:
    • The Victoria and Albert Museum’s (V&A) fashion and textile collections held in South Kensington and at the Clothworkers’ Centre at Blythe House in Olympia
    • The textile heritage of East London
    • The spirit and energy of the new Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London

      Submissions should be in the format of a physical mood board or digital equivalent (see below under submissions) 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 include pattern and production details
  • Evidence of the design process, from original inspiration through to finished concept

The Process

  • To enter the challenge you will need to register online here.
  • 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.  Please see the registration page for details of which boroughs fall within each London sub region and select accordingly. Please specify region and key stage with your application
  • The deadline for submissions will be 5pm on Friday 28th November 2014
  •  Eight winners will be short listed by our judging panel and notified w/c 15th December 2014

The Prize

  • The eight short listed winners will have their mood boards displayed online on the project website and will be mentored by current students from MA Material Futures at Central Saint Martins in order to finalise and produce one of their designs
  • In March 2015 the eight finalist designs will be showcased at a fashion show held at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where the overall winner will be announced

Judging Criteria

Entries will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Meeting the challenge requirements, see above under ‘The Challenge Criteria’
  • Demonstrating a creative, innovative and imaginative response to the brief
  • Designing a final piece that can be realistically produced

Closing Date

Friday 28th November 2014 -  5pm

Free Events and Support

We are running a number of free events for schools to attend from an Inspiration Day at the Olympic Park to facilitated visits at the V&A.

Facilitated visits with the V&A Clothworkers’ Centre

Dates: 3rd - 7th November 2014
Time: 11:00 - 12:00 and 14:00 - 15:00
Location: Clothworkers Centre, Olympia

These facilitated sessions will provide up-close access to historical textiles and designs created in the East End of London and inspirational fashion designs. 2 sessions per day taking a maximum 15 students at a time. 

Facilitated visits with the V&A South Kensington

Dates: 10th - 14th November 2014
Time: 11:00 - 12:00 and 14:00 - 15:00
Location: The V&A Museum, South Kensington

One-hour bespoke group tours of the V&A’s fashion collections, introducing key figures and contextual information about the East End silk industry and its associated impact on dress and textiles as well as broader trends in fashion. 2 sessions per day takng a maximum 20 students at a time.

Teacher CPD Session

Date: 14th November 2014
Time: 17:45 – 20:00
Location: The V&A Museum, South Kensington

A specialist teacher CPD ‘Sanctuary’ session will be offered to provide inspiration for the project. This informal, practical session will offer an opportunity to view relevant works in the collection and, with the support of a professional designer, make your own creative response. It is an opportunity to collect ideas and approaches for working with your students.

Self-led visits to the V&A and the Olympic Park

Schools are welcome to undertake self-led visits to the V&A's fashion gallery and/or to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park at any time. Please note all self-guided visits to the V&A must be booked in advance. A teachers' resource will be available to support group visits to the V&A's fashion gallery. For those visiting the Olympic Park, there are also a range of free lesson plans across various subjects that can be downloaded here.

To make bookings for all sessions except self-guided visits to the Olympic Park, please email and quote ‘Concept to Catwalk’ at: Please state your school name and group size at the time of booking.

Cancellations Policy

Sessions at the V&A - If you need to cancel please ensure you do so 3 weeks prior to the event date. Sessions cancelled within 3 weeks of the event date will be liable to the full charge. For free sessions, there is a £60 charge per group if cancelled within 3 weeks.

Sessions at the Olympic Park - It is advisable to provide at least 3 weeks notice if you cannot make a visit.This is to ensure your place can be offered to schools on the waiting list.

Resource Packs 

A range of free resource packs are available to download for the challenge. Please see the teaching resources tab above. We have also provided links to other useful web content and videos and our very own Pinterest mood board. 


Notes to image:

Vega Zaishi Wang’s “Alpha Lyrae” collection. The eight-piece lineup harnesses electroluminescent technology to evoke the haunting beauty of the cosmos. The garments made their official debut in September 2012 at The Creators Project event in Beijing, where Wang teamed up with UFO Media Lab, electronic musician Zhang Shou Wang, and the lighting wizards at Top Right Optoelectronics to create an immersive, three-dimensional environment for her otherworldly designs.

Vega Wang is fashion designer based in Beijing with a BA in Fashion Design from Central Saint Martins. Upon graduation in 2008 she began her fashion line, Vega Zaishi Wang, which is known for purity of tone, exceptional handicraft, and a quiet charm.

How to Enter


Entries will only be accepted by schools and individuals who register. You can register for the challenge here.

Timeline of Key dates

30th June 2014 → 14th November 2014
Registration open - please register here
9th October 2014
Optional Inspiration Day at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - bookings on a first come first serve basis. Please book here.
November 2014
Optional school visits offered to the V&A Clothworkers' Centre, teachers' Sanctuary and self-led visits - bookings on a first come first serve basis. Please book here.
14th November 2014
Closing date for registration
28th November 2014
Closing date for all entries - 5pm 
December 2014
8 finalists shortlisted and contacted for display of work online
January 2015 → February 2015
8 finalists meet mentors from MA Material Futures, Central St. Martins to create showcase peices. Approximately 10 weeks of mentoring.
March 2015
Final fashion show at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - Date TBC 


  • Schools may submit several entries and the teacher can decide whether students submit individually or in small groups (1-8 group members maximum per mood board)
  • Submissions can be worked up as part of subject class time, course work or out of school activity
  • Entries to the challenge can be submitted as either a physical A2 mood board or its digital equivalent via PDF, Powerpoint, Word or Pinterest.  Each submission must meet the challenge criteria
  • Please note, hard copy submissions must be delivered to the V&A at South Kensington between 10am-5pm on Friday 28th November, with the deadline for digital submissions being 5pm on the same date
  • Hard copy submissions cannot be returned by post, but you are free to collect work from the V&A between 10-5pm on Friday 16th January 2015
  • Digital submissions can be made by uploading the relevant file to in PDF, Powerpoint or Word format. Please note you will need to sign up to MyKindaCrowd to upload your submission. Please click on the 'Enter Challenge' button above to upload a digital submission.
  • If you would like to submit your mood board via Pinterest please create a profile at and share the URL with Please note any pins added to your mood board after the closing date will disqualify your entry

Terms and Conditions

  • The schools challenge is open to young people between the ages of 11-16 (targeting key stages 3 & 4) across London
  • Entries will be accepted by schools who register to participate on the website here.
  • All submissions must be the work of the submitting individuals/ team only
  • We kindly ask that you see out the full length of the challenge once registered. If you sign up to the challenge you are committing to submitting an entry. We advise you check the timeline of key dates to see exactly what you are committing to prior to registering your interest and taking part
  • The London Legacy Development Corporation, Victoria & Albert Museum, MA Material Futures, Central Saint Martins and MyKindaCrowd have the rights to use all submissions that are received as part of this challenge. Schools will need to secure the necessary parental consent if students feature prominently in elements of the submission

Any questions?

If you have any questions or would like more information please call Ayesha on 0207 627 1944 or email