Retail experts joined the judging panel for Hugh Baird College’s Degree Show_13 last week at Liverpool's Metropolitan Cathedral. Organised by students from Hugh Baird’s Foundation Degree and BA (Hons) courses in Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design, the annual event showcases their final course work with prizes awarded for the best.
Amongst this year’s judging panel was one lady who knew exactly how the students felt. Just a few years ago, Nikki Birchall was about to graduate from the same course at Hugh Baird College. This year, she returned as a representative from Harvey Nichols to help select the winning designs at a Private Viewing launching the exhibition.
Now Visual Merchandiser for the world’s leading international luxury fashion destination, Harvey Nichols, Nikki gained distinctions at Hugh Baird on the Foundation Degree in Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design. She landed the job at Harvey Nichols straight after finishing her course, having done some work experience for them already. Now, she spends most of her time at the Manchester store, with visits to Liverpool for their food ‘Pop Ups’. Nikki explained that the type of work she does at Harvey Nichols is exactly what she learned on the Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design course, following exactly the same processes from creating mood boards and concept designs to presenting them to head office. Whilst still studying at Hugh Baird, Nikki’s dream was to work at Harvey Nichols. Speaking at the Degree Show, she said: “I truly believe that this course gave me the confidence to apply to Harvey Nichols and helped me to get the job. The standard of the exhibits this year is very high and the projects are varied and all really good.”
There were three themes for this year’s design briefs. Year 1 was ‘Macy’s Pops Up’ – a direct response to the research collated on the students’ recent trip to New York. The Year 2 students had to identify a brand and expand its potential into a new retail direction for ‘Brands Branch Out’. The Year 3 theme was ‘Design Futures’ giving the students a chance to apply a creative design concept for the future of retail design practice.
Year 1 winner was Jane George with her Macy’s Pop Up who is finding her course very challenging, enjoyable, fun and creative. Second Year winner was Leona Nichols, who’s design ‘Storm in a Tea Cup’ focussed on the Vivienne Westwood brand. Winner from the Third Year was Kristy Ford. Kristy’s entry was based around ASDA, Fashion and Food.
The free of charge public viewing of the exhibition took place on 6th and 7th June at The Crypt at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. If you would like to find out more about the Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design courses at Hugh Baird College, why not come along and speak to the tutors and students at the College’s Open Day on Wednesday, 26th June at Hugh Baird College. Alternatively, follow the College on Twitter or Facebook to see photos from the exhibition.